The British like to call them “aubergines.” South Asians and South Africans refer to them as “brinjal.” And for the rest of the world, they are named after its long egg shape. Eggplants are chock full of nutrients and they deserve a place in your diet.
Nutritional Values Of Cooked Eggplant
Here’s what 100 g of cooked eggplant contains.1
|Total lipid (fat)||0.23 g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||8.73 g|
|Fiber, total dietary||2.5 g|
|Sugars, total||3.2 g|
Eggplants belong to the nightshade family, like tomatoes and bell peppers. They work with several flavors and cuisines. The following are reasons why you should be eating eggplant.
1. Improves Heart Function
For a happy heart, you need to have good cholesterol levels and healthy blood pressure. If not, you increase the risk of serious heart diseases. Eggplants are very heart-friendly. One study found out eggplants reduced inflammation and improved ventricular function. This is because they are loaded with cardioprotective compounds known as phytonutrients.2
Also, eggplants lower LDL “bad” cholesterol levels, which is vital to prevent any plaque build-up which eventually could lead to blocked arteries.3
2. Protects The Brain
Eggplants get their purple color because of an antioxidant known as nasunin, present in the skin. Nasunin has been found to protect lipids in the brain from damage. Lipids (fats), found in brain cell membranes, absorb nutrients and receive messages that dictate what the particular cell should do.
If you typically peel your eggplants before cooking, remember, the skin is important!
3. Controls Type 2 Diabetes
Eggplants are a powerhouse of nutrients. They are high in fiber and low in soluble carbohydrates. This makes them an excellent addition to your diet if you have type 2 diabetes.
In fact, one study claims following an eggplant-based diet is ideal for managing or preventing type 2 diabetes. This is because eggplants are high in alpha-glucosidase and angiotensin, compounds that control glucose absorption. Also, thanks to the phenols in eggplants, insulin breaks carbohydrates slowly and this helps control blood sugar levels.4
4. Reduces Weight
If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, eggplants are the way to go. They are high in fiber, making you feel full for long and they are low in calories—100 g of raw eggplant has only 24 calories.
Do not fry eggplants. They soak up fat at an alarming rate.
Lemon Roasted Eggplant Recipe
- 1 eggplant
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 lemons
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- Slightly grease a baking sheet
- Slice the eggplant and place them on the sheet with the skin facing down
- Drizzle olive oil on the eggplants
- Season with salt and pepper
- Pop them in the oven for 30 minutes
- Squeeze lemons on the golden brown eggplants and there you go!
5. Improves Skin Texture
Eggplants are rich in vitamins C and E. These antioxidants, especially together, provide greater protection from the sun’s harsh ultraviolet rays. This delays the appearance of wrinkles, dark spots, or other signs of aging.5
Also, nasunin acts as a free radical scavenger that keeps cell membranes from damage and inflammation, like in the case of acne or psoriasis. For healthy skin, you need to pile up on niacin, folate, and manganese. These repair damaged cells and protect the skin from free radicals, and are found in eggplants.6
6. Strengthens The Bones
One cup of eggplants meets 5% of your daily manganese requirement.
Eggplants are very bone-friendly veggies. If you have a risk for osteoporosis, you need to add them in your diet. They are full of phytonutrients, iron, manganese, and vitamin K – all vital to bone health. They utilize calcium efficiently and this eventually leads to stronger bones.789
7. Reduces Excess Iron
An interesting fact about the glossy purple vegetable is that they are an iron chelator. This means they remove excess iron in your system. Thanks to nasunin.10
Excess iron has been linked to heart attacks, cancer, and an increase in free radical production. Postmenopausal women, in particular, are prone to an iron buildup in the system. Owing to the antioxidant and free radical scavenger properties, nasunin pushes out excess iron from the body.
8. Reduces The Signs Of Depression
Studies claim that a deficiency in a compound known as serotonin can cause depression and anxiety. Serotonin uplifts your mood. Eggplants contain an ingredient known as scopoletin which regulates serotonin and this reduces depression.11
9. Improves Digestion
Their high water and high fiber content make eggplants an excellent addition to your diet for your digestive issues. The digestive system needs plenty of fiber and water to move things around smoothly.
Are Eggplants Safe During Pregnancy?
There has been a lot of speculation about eggplants during pregnancy. A few experts recommend avoiding the purple veggie throughout your pregnancy because it could make you acidic or even induce premature labor. The truth is eggplants are healthy and safe. They are rich in folates and vitamins (integral for your diet). But if you are really concerned, do check with your gynecologist before eating them.
Side Effects Of Eggplants
Eggplants could trigger allergic reactions in some people. If you are allergic to vegetables from the nightshade family like bell peppers, you might want to be careful with eggplants.
How To Pick, Store, And Cook Eggplants
- Pick the ones that are firm, slightly heavy, and without spots. Younger eggplants tend to be less bitter than the older ones
- Eggplants are easily perishable. You can keep them in the refrigerator for about 3 days. So, get them in your tummy after you buy them
- If you want to reduce the bitterness, you could salt them. Simply place the eggplant slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle salt on each slice. Let it rest for 20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. Your eggplants are ready to get cooked
- The healthy way of eating an eggplant is to roast, bake, or steam them
- Do not fry eggplants. Fried ones soak up a lot of fat
Eggplants are pretty versatile. So, find what you like, experiment a lot (the toppings can be endless), and enjoy your eggplant!
|↑1||Agricultural Research Service. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. USDA|
|↑2, ↑3||Das, S., U. Raychaudhuri, M. Falchi, A. Bertelli, P. C. Braga, and Dipak K. Das. “Cardioprotective properties of raw and cooked eggplant (Solanum melongena L).” Food & function 2, no. 7 (2011): 395-399|
|↑4||Kwon, Y-I., E. Apostolidis, and K. Shetty. “In vitro studies of eggplant (Solanum melongena) phenolics as inhibitors of key enzymes relevant for type 2 diabetes and hypertension.” Bioresource Technology 99, no. 8 (2008): 2981-2988|
|↑5||Darr, Douglas, STANLEY DUNSTON, HOLLY FAUST, and SHELDON PINNELL. “Effectiveness of Antioxidants (Vitamin C and E) With and.” Acta Derm Vcnereol (Stockh) 76 (1996): 264-268|
|↑6||Tannis, Allison. Feed Your Skin, Starve Your Wrinkles: Eat Your Way to Firmer, More Beautiful Skin with the 100 Best Anti-Aging Foods, 2009|
|↑7||Sacco, Sandra Maria, Marie‐Noëlle Horcajada, and Elizabeth Offord. “Phytonutrients for bone health during ageing.” British journal of clinical pharmacology 75, no. 3 (2013): 697-707|
|↑8||Weber, Peter. “Vitamin K and bone health.” Nutrition 17, no. 10 (2001): 880-887|
|↑9||Adams, Jamie, and Joseph Pepping. “Vitamin K in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis and arterial calcification.” American journal of health-system pharmacy 62, no. 15 (2005): 1574-1581|
|↑10||Noda, Yasuko, Takao Kaneyuki, Kiharu Igarashi, Akitane Mori, and Lester Packer. “Antioxidant activity of nasunin, an anthocyanin in eggplant.” Research communications in molecular pathology and pharmacology 102, no. 2 (1998): 175-187|
|↑11||Cowen, Philip J., and Michael Browning. “What has serotonin to do with depression?.” World Psychiatry 14, no. 2 (2015): 158-160|