6 Amazing Benefits of Eggplant Nutrition

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

Eggplants, commonly known as aubergines or brinjals, are versatile fruits native to the Indian subcontinent and now integral to various global cuisines. Renowned for their unique flavor and texture, they are also highly nutritious, providing a wealth of health benefits. These benefits include aiding digestion and supporting weight loss. Eggplants are particularly valuable in diets for managing diabetes and improving heart health, thanks to their high content of essential nutrients and low-calorie count. Their incorporation into a balanced diet can contribute significantly to overall well-being and health maintenance.

What are Eggplants?

There are many varieties of eggplants that are used throughout the world, and they are included in different cuisines in many ways. Although they are technically fruits, eggplants are called the ‘king of vegetables’ in India. It is one of the most popular, versatile, and functional foods in Indian cuisine. In terms of texture and density, they have the consistency of tomato. They are perfect by themselves or added to stews and curries. So, eggplants are not just a delicious addition to any meal, they are also a healthy inclusion to any diet.

Click here to learn how to cook eggplant!

A close-up view of fresh eggplants placed on a wooden table

Fresh organic eggplants Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Eggplants Nutrition Facts

The wonderful health benefits of eggplants are primarily derived from their vitamin, mineral, and nutrient content. According to the USDA, eggplants have a high water content with almost no cholesterol or fat and are a source of vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, dietary fiber, folic acid, potassium, and manganese. [1]

Nutrition Facts

Eggplant, raw
Serving Size :
Water [g]92.3
Energy 25
Energy [kJ]104
Protein [g]0.98
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.18
Ash [g]0.66
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]5.88
Fiber, total dietary [g]3
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]3.53
Sucrose [g]0.26
Glucose (dextrose) [g]1.58
Fructose [g]1.54
Calcium, Ca [mg]9
Iron, Fe [mg]0.23
Magnesium, Mg [mg]14
Phosphorus, P [mg]24
Potassium, K [mg]229
Sodium, Na [mg]2
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.16
Copper, Cu [mg]0.08
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.23
Selenium, Se [µg]0.3
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]2.2
Thiamin [mg]0.04
Riboflavin [mg]0.04
Niacin [mg]0.65
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.28
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.08
Folate, total [µg]22
Folate, food [µg]22
Folate, DFE [µg]22
Choline, total [mg]6.9
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]1
Carotene, beta [µg]14
Vitamin A, IU [IU]23
Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]36
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.3
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]3.5
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.03
16:0 [g]0.03
18:0 [g]0.01
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.02
16:1 [g]0
18:1 [g]0.01
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.08
18:2 [g]0.06
18:3 [g]0.01
Phytosterols [mg]7
Tryptophan [g]0.01
Threonine [g]0.04
Isoleucine [g]0.05
Leucine [g]0.06
Lysine [g]0.05
Methionine [g]0.01
Cystine [g]0.01
Phenylalanine [g]0.04
Tyrosine [g]0.03
Valine [g]0.05
Arginine [g]0.06
Histidine [g]0.02
Alanine [g]0.05
Aspartic acid [g]0.16
Glutamic acid [g]0.19
Glycine [g]0.04
Proline [g]0.04
Serine [g]0.04
Sources include : USDA [2]

Ways to Eat Eggplant

  1. Bake – Slice the eggplant into strips and bake them, or cut them into a round shape, add a breadcrumb spiced coating, and then bake them for a crunchy taste.
  2. Mash into a dip – Scoop the cooked eggplant and easily mash it or puree it into a dip. It has a thick, creamy texture, with a smoky tinge which makes it a good accompaniment to pita bread. The classic baba ghanoush is made with roasted eggplants with tahini sauce, garlic, and virgin olive oil.
  3. Roast – This is one of the easiest and most delicious ways to cook eggplant. All that is required is a hot oven, a few drops of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to transform eggplant into a rich, soft, and creamy treat.
  4. In curries – The fleshy eggplants are a great addition to almost any curry, giving them a more-ish feel while adding to the overall deliciousness. You can just dice up the eggplants and add them to a chicken or fish curry. It’s ideal for a vegetable curry.
  5. With pasta – The Italians clearly love their eggplants. Although most of us think of grilled eggplants when it comes to Italian cuisine, Pasta alla Norma, a traditional Sicilian pasta dish is made with eggplants.

Health Benefits of Eggplants

The health benefits of eggplant include the following:

May Aid in Digestion

Eggplants, like many other vegetables, are good sources of dietary fiber, a necessary element in any balanced diet. Fiber can be essential for gastrointestinal health, as well as for regular bowel movements. It bulks up your stool so it passes more easily through the digestive tract, while also stimulating peristaltic motion, the contraction of the smooth muscles that help food pushed out of the body. Finally, fiber may also stimulate the secretion of gastric juices that facilitate the absorption of nutrients and the processing of foods. [3]

May Aid in Weight Loss

Eggplant may be a secret weapon for weight loss. A randomized clinical trial has reported the effects of eggplant flour (13 g, orally) on anti-oxidant status and body fat in 97 overweight women (a mean age of 47.5 years) for four months. This study has shown that eggplant increased the anti-oxidant capacity in plasma and reduced the body fat mass in volunteers. [4]

Might Reduce Stress

Research, published on the NCBI website, reveals eggplant’s potential in reducing blood pressure and stress. In a 12-week study involving 100 participants with normal to high blood pressure, those consuming eggplant powder showed significant improvements. By week 12, both systolic and diastolic blood pressures had decreased, particularly in individuals with higher initial levels. Additionally, eggplant intake positively impacted psychological states, reducing negative emotions. These benefits are attributed to Acetylcholine, a compound found in eggplant, marking a breakthrough in understanding its health effects. [5]However, more research is required to validate this claim.

Can Improve Heart Health

This delightful veggie can cut down bad LDL cholesterol while boosting the good HDL cholesterol. It’s essential to keep a balance between these cholesterols, indicated by the total cholesterol to HDL ratio, as a surge in HDL is beneficial for heart health. 

A past study showcased rabbits fed with 0.3 ounces of eggplant juice daily, which resulted in a significant dip in their LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels after two weeks. [6]

Moreover, a 2019 review highlighted that flavonoids like anthocyanins found in eggplants can help curb inflammatory markers that pose a risk to the heart health. [7]

However, while these findings show promise, most studies to date involve animals or are in vitro. More extensive human research is essential to validate eggplant’s potential heart health benefits.

May Help You Manage Diabetes

Recognized by the National Diabetes Education Program of NIH and the American Diabetes Association, eggplants are emerging as a dietary boon for type 2 diabetes management. Their high fiber and low soluble carbohydrate content make them excellent for regulating blood sugar levels, helping to maintain stable insulin activity. This stability is crucial in preventing the severe side effects associated with diabetes, such as neuropathy. [8]

Research, including studies on diabetic rats, has shown that eggplants can significantly lower blood glucose levels, thanks to their natural compounds that combat oxidative stress and improve overall health. [9]

May Prevent Birth Defects

Eggplants are a rich source of folic acid, which makes them ideal for pregnant women. Adequate amounts of folic acid are known to directly protect infants from neural tube defects, which can occur in a number of ways. Therefore, it is always recommended that expecting mothers keep track of their [10]folic acid intake.

Word of Caution: Eggplants are a part of the nightshade family – which also includes tomato and bell peppers  – and in some cases are known to cause severe allergic reactions. As with any new food in your diet, speak to your doctor before eating it in large quantities and pay attention to your body’s reactions.

Secondly, when cooking eggplants, many people make the mistake of frying them. Although this is a delicious way to cook vegetables like eggplants, it also counteracts a number of health benefits if using heavy oils for frying. When you fry eggplant, they absorb a large amount of fat, whereas baking an eggplant will hold many of the nutrients without any negative additions like excess fat.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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