Eggplant or aubergines were not very popular in most households for a very long time. Part of this is because eggplant cooked wrong can be squishy and tasteless. However, when it;s baked or added to pasta, aubergines are incredibly flavorsome. While many other vegetables have been labelled ‘superfoods’ because of their nutritional superpowers, aubergine was for long ignored. However, this bright purple vegetable is actually a smorgasbord of minerals and vitamins. Studies have shown that a serving of eggplant can help lower your risk of cancer and heart disease. Here is how this humble veggie can help you live much healthier.
1. Keeps The Heart Healthy
Eggplants are rich in fibre, vitamin B6, vitamin C and potassium. These are known protectors of the heart. Phytonutrients improve blood circulation, especially to the brain, which is important in preventing strokes. The bioflavonoids keep your blood pressure normal, preventing heart attacks. These flavonoids also strengthen the capillaries and relieve stress. Vitamin K prevents blood clots. However, if you cook the vegetable wrong, all these nutrients can get depleted. Frying it in hot oil destroys nutrients in eggplants, so if you’re eating it this way, you’re not going to get any health benefits. The best way to cook eggplant is to bake it with the skin on at 400 degrees since the skin contains most of the vital nutrients.
2. Lowers Cholesterol
Eggplant juice can reduce your cholesterol by 20 points in just a month. Chlorogenic acid in the aubergine fights and neutralizes free radicals. This causes a lowering in the LDL cholesterol levels. As a direct result of the lowered LDL levels, the walls of the blood vessels relax and blood flow improves. Drinking eggplant water is the easiest way to lower your cholesterol. To prepare it, buy a firm and fresh eggplant. Cut off the stem then make ½ inch circular slices. Soak this in a gallon of water along with slices of lemon. Refrigerate this and drink 3 glasses everyday. At first, you might find it a bit bitter, but you will soon develop a taste for it.
3. Prevents Obesity
Excess weight brings along with it certain health issues like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The only way to lose it is through proper exercise and good nutrition. Eggplant is a great obesity fighter because its high water content makes it filling and low in calories. It also has a high fiber content while having a low soluble carbohydrate content. In fact, a cup of diced eggplant has only 35 calories but the high fiber content keeps you feeling full longer. This fiber also protects your digestive tract reducing risks of colon cancer.
4. Reduces Risk Of Cancer
The rich dark purple color of the eggplant is a great indicator of its health benefits. In the plant world, the more colorful a plant is, the more antioxidants it contains. Antioxidants are the body’s best defense against cancer. Eggplant is a great source of these antioxidants. Nasunin and chlorogenic acid are known to prevent mutation of DNA and anthocyanins are anti-cancer agents, inhibiting tumor causing cells. Vitamin C in eggplant promotes the formation of WBC which strengthens our immune system that in turn, can detect and destroy cancer cells.
5. Improves Cognitive Function Of The Brain
Eggplant is a brain food since it contains phytochemicals that improve blood flow to the brain. Better blood flow means more oxygen to the brain, improving the cognitive powers. This boosts memory as well as analytic capabilities because it stimulates the development of neural pathways in the brain. Nasunin, a phytonutrient has been found to inhibit the neural degeneration that leads to Alzheimer’s and dementia in older folks. While this is as yet based on clinical studies on lab rats, it still holds out hope for patients with such cognitive disorders.