Often considered a vegetable, eggplants are actually a type of fruit. They are included in the nightshade family along with potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes. Used for thousands of years, the eggplant is widely known as both a delicious and health enhancing food. Read on to learn more about its high nutritional value as well as its uses.
Health Benefits of Eggplant
Eggplants offer numerous health benefits due to their high content of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. Because they are a rich source of nutrition, they offer a delicious way to improve overall health. Below are some of the ways in which we can benefit from consuming eggplants.
Eggplants contain a particular anthocyanin, nasunin, that functions as a powerful antioxidant. Nasunin is scientifically proven to protect the fats in the membranes of brain cells. By protecting these lipids, membranes are more capable of defending against free radicals and performing the way they should. Eggplants also boost blood flow to the brain and help prevent degeneration of the brain.
The high dietary fiber content of eggplants assists the digestive system in functioning properly by helping food move along smoothly. Fiber also contributes to feeling full and satisfied.
With a host of potent antioxidants, including Vitamin C, nasunin, chlorogenic acid, and manganese, eggplant boosts the bodie’s defense against diseases such as cancer by fighting free radicals.
For those at high risk of osteoporosis, eggplants can be an immensely useful addition to their diet. It can provide powerful protection due to its phenolic compounds. These compounds, which give it its rich, bold color, are responsible for a reduction in bone degradation as well an increase in bone strength and density. Additionally, eggplants contain iron and calcium, important minerals for bone health. The potassium contained in eggplants also helps the body absorb calcium.
With an impressive dose of fiber, eggplants are proven to reduce the risk of heart disease. Fiber assists the body in blocking artery clogging cholesterol. In addition, eggplants contain bioflavonoids that help reduce blood pressure and thereby reduce strain on the heart.
Because they are so rich in fiber, and they have impressive vitamin levels, and minimal fat content, eggplants are a powerful addition to any weight loss regimen. Fiber helps satisfy hunger and prevent food cravings. And the vitamins will ensure you will be getting your necessary dose of nutrients.
A deficiency in iron can potentially lead to anemia, a condition marked by headaches, weakness, fatigue, depression, and reduced mental capacity. Eggplants contain iron and copper, two crucial minerals necessary for the proper function of red blood cells.
Because eggplant is low in carbohydrates and helps stabilize blood sugar levels, it is an excellent dietary choice for managing diabetes.
Eggplant Nutritional Value
Eggplant, a nutritional powerhouse, boasts an extensive profile of essential vitamins and beneficial compounds. As a bonus, eggplant is high in fiber but low in fat and cholesterol. Some of the key nutrients and vitamins in eggplants include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B6
- Folic acid
In addition to its obvious use as a part of a healthy diet, eggplant also has some less known, and often unusual, applications. In ancient times, Chinese women used eggplant as a stain and polish for their teeth. Currently, it is sometimes used as a natural dye for wool.
Easy Eggplant Recipes
A variety of enticing recipes utilize eggplant as one of the main ingredients. One of the most well-known eggplant recipes is eggplant parmesan where the eggplant is baked underneath a layer of herbs, spices, spaghetti sauce, mozarella cheese, bread crumbs, and eggs. Following are additional, easy eggplant recipes to try:
Simply replace traditional lasagna noodles with sliced eggplant for a unique, more nutritious twist on lasagna
- Saute eggplants, mushrooms, tomatoes, and herbs.
- Add to cooked pasta
- Sprinkle with feta and parmesan cheese
Grilled Eggplant Provolone
- Slice eggplants and grill. top with a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, and melted provolone
- Top with a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, and melted provolone
Arrange thin slices of eggplant topped with tomato on a baking dish and sprinkle with herbs and parmesan cheese prior to baking approximately 30 minutes
Stuff a pita with fried eggplant, boiled eggs, hummus, cucumber, tomatoes, feta cheese, and tahini
Baba ganoush is almost exactly the same as hummus but uses eggplants instead of chickpeas as the main ingredient. Roast eggplants, drain, and combine with olive oil, tahini, garlic, and lemon juice
*An important note when consuming eggplants is to avoid eating them raw. Raw eggplant, which contains the compound solanine, can lead to symptoms such as nausea, headache, stomach cramping, and dizziness when consumed in large quantities. Solanine is neutralized during the cooking process.
All in all, eggplants offer an easy, delicious way to increase overall health. By incorporating eggplant into your diet, many of the bodies systems will be boosted and improved. What are some of your favorite ways to use eggplant?