Eggplants are fruits originally native to the Indianand now found throughout the world in different cuisines. While often considered a vegetable, this unique-looking produce is known as “aubergine” in England. It is also referred to as brinjal, melongene, and guinea squash. These purple or black glossy fruits can grow more than a foot in length in wild varieties, though they are considerably smaller generally.
Eggplants are known for having a unique range of health benefits, including an ability to help build strong bones, reduce the symptoms of anemia, and increase cognition. Eggplant is also good for weight loss, managing diabetes, improving health and as a boon to the digestive system.
What are Eggplants?
There are many varieties of eggplants that are used throughout the world, and they are included in cuisines in many different ways. Although they are technically fruits, eggplants are commonly called the “king of vegetables”, in India, as they are one of the most versatile and functional foods in the cultural gamut. In terms of texture and density, they have the consistency of tomato and are a perfect addition to soups, stews, and sauces. Some might say that the best part about these foods is, they are not only a flavorful and delicious addition to many meals but also an inclusion that can help you live a healthier life.
Eggplants Nutrition Facts
The wonderful health benefits of eggplants are primarily derived from their vitamin, mineral, and nutrient content. According to USDA National Nutrient Database, eggplants have a high water content with almost no or fat and are a source of vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, dietary fiber, folic acid, potassium, and manganese.
Health Benefits of Eggplants
Health benefits of eggplant include the following:
Aid in Digestion
Eggplants, like many other vegetables, are good sources of dietary fiber, a necessary element in any balanced diet. Fiber is essential for 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 also stimulates the secretion of gastric juices that facilitate the absorption of nutrients and the processing of foods.
Fiber has also been linked to the reduction in heart diseases as well, since it eliminates some of the bad LDL cholesterol that can clog arteries and veins, resulting in, heart attacks, and strokes.
A study in Nutrition Reviews confirmed what most of us already known, which is that dietary fiber intake–particularly in the United States–is lacking. At only 15 grams per day, the American Heart Association recommends 25–30 grams per day, many efforts are being made to increase dietary fiber intake. Consuming 25 grams of fiber daily or more may help to decrease the currently high national prevalence of obesity.”
Since eggplants contain a minimal amount of fat or cholesterol and high water content, they are very healthy food for people trying to lose weight or battling obesity. Fiber is also very filling, which means it inhibits the release of ghrelin, the hormone which tells our mind that we are hungry again. By filling us up, eggplant is one of the many sources of produce that help reduce our appetite. This diminishes the chances of overeating, so weight loss attempts are more successful.
Solasodine rhamnosyl glycosides, an extract found in eggplant peel, has shown potential as a topical treatment in killing skin cancer cells. According to a 2011 report in the International Journal of Clinical Medicine, two cases showed that this extract, when used topically in a cream formulation, was effective in the treatment of large non-melanoma skin cancers.
|Serving Size :|
|Total lipid (fat) [g]||0.18|
|Carbohydrate, by difference [g]||5.88|
|Fiber, total dietary [g]||3|
|Sugars, total [g]||3.53|
|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|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]||2.2|
|Vitamin B-6 [mg]||0.08|
|Folate, DFE [µg]||22|
|Vitamin B-12 [µg]||0|
|Vitamin A, RAE [µg]||1|
|Vitamin A, IU [IU]||23|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]||0.3|
|Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]||0|
|Vitamin D [IU]||0|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]||3.5|
|Fatty acids, total saturated [g]||0.03|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]||0.02|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]||0.08|
|Fatty acids, total trans [g]||0|
|Sources include : USDA|
Improve Bone Health
Eggplants are very good for people at a high risk of bone degradation and reduced signs of osteoporosis, stronger bones, and increased bone mineral density in certain populations. Eggplants also have significant amounts of iron and calcium, also integral to bone health and overall strength.. Why? They contain phenolic compounds, which are what give eggplants and many other fruits their unique coloration. These compounds have also been linked to
A deficiency in iron can be very dangerous to overall health, and it can manifest as a condition called anemia. Anemia is characterized by headaches (some at a migraine level), fatigue, weakness, depression, and even cognitive . Therefore, eating foods high in iron may help combat anemia, and eggplants are iron-containing food. Eggplants are also very rich in copper, another essential component of red blood cells (RBCs), just like iron. Without these two minerals, the red blood cells in the body cannot function normally. With healthier red blood cells coursing through your veins, you will see a noticeable boost in energy and strength, which will eliminate feelings of fatigue
Improve Brain Function
Eggplants are wonderful sources of , which have long been thought to assist in boosting cognitive activity and general mental health. They not only defend against the free radical activity but also increase blood flow to the brain. Phytonutrients and potassium–which acts as a vasodilator assisting in widening blood vessels–could be considered “brain boosters,” delivering more oxygen-rich blood to the brain.
Improve Heart Health
There are different ways through which eggplants benefit your heart health, one of which is the fiber content. They have been known to reduce the presence of bad LDL cholesterol in the body, and stimulate the uptake of good HDL cholesterol. The balance of cholesterol in the body is constantly fluctuating based on the foods we eat and conveyed using a ratio (total cholesterol to HDL ratio). The more HDL cholesterol we have, the better. Reducing LDL cholesterol levels can prevent heart attacks, strokes, and atherosclerosis. Finally, the bioflavonoids in eggplants are great for reducing , which reduces the strain and stress on the cardiovascular system, thereby improving the health of your heart.
The National Diabetes Education Program of NIH (Mayo Clinic) and American Diabetes Association recommend eggplant-based diet as a choice for the management of type 2 diabetes. Due to their high-fiber content and low amounts of soluble , eggplants are an ideal food for managing this disease. The qualities of eggplants make them useful as a regulator of glucose and insulin activity within the body. When insulin levels are stable, and the body isn’t experiencing drastic plunges and spikes in blood sugar, so the potentially dangerous side effects of diabetes can be avoided.
Prevent Birth Defect
Eggplants are a rich source of folic acid, which makes them a delicious and useful snack for pregnant women. Adequate amounts of folic acid directly protect infants from neural tube defects, which can occur in a number of ways. Therefore, it is always recommended that expecting mothers increase their intake of folic acid considering the dependent inside their womb!
Word of Caution: Eggplants are a part of the nightshade family – which also include 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 in without any negative additions like excess fat.
Other than that, this powerful and potent vegetable is one of the best ways to guarantee long-lasting health!