Also known as aubergine, its unusual tear shape and rich purplish black color makes eggplant a prized vegetable. Its meaty texture makes it a favorite among vegetarians as well.
What once was considered a vegetable with no benefits, eggplants are now starting to receive well deserved recognition for its high nutritional powers.
Below, you will find 6 reasons why eggplants should be a staple in your grocery list:
Good for the brain
The skin of eggplant contains a compound called nasunin which is a powerful anthocyanin that kills free radicals and protects the lipids present in the cell wall of our brain cells from damage. The harm caused by free radicals can cause neural degeneration and increase our likelihood of getting dementia and Alzheimer’s. The phytonutrients in them also increases the blood flow to the brain, which in turn stimulates healthy cognitive activities.
Shields you from cancer
The phenolic compound present in eggplants have chlorogenic acid- which is a plant compound known to contain some of the strongest form of free radical scavengers. Research shows that this compound not only prevents cancer but also lowers LDL (bad cholesterol). It contains antimutagenic properties which gives it the capability to prevent the cells from mutating into cancerous cells. A study also showed that the peel of the eggplant contains a flavonoid pigment called delphinidin that suppressed the invasion of tumor cells.
Boosts your cardiovascular system
In a study, where the rabbits were given egg plant juice for 4 weeks saw their LDL, plasma cholesterol, aortic cholesterol, and triglyceride levels decrease significantly. The compounds in eggplants can relax the walls of our blood vessels which in turn improves blood flow. Plus, the compound called Nasunin present in eggplant is not only a powerful free radical neutralizer, but it’s also an iron chelator. Although iron is very good for you to keep your body oxygenated and your immune system healthy, too much of it can stimulate the production of free radicals. Nasunin lowers the production of free radicals through chelating iron, and protects our blood cholesterol as well.
Since eggplants are high in fiber but contains low amount of soluble carbohydrates, they are good for those suffering from type 2 diabetes. Research shows that the phenolic compounds in eggplants suppresses the activity of alpha glucosidase, and angiotensin 1- converting enzyme. Eggplants are highly recommended for those with Type 2 diabetes.
Since eggplants are a good source of soluble fiber, they keep our GI tract healthy, and prevents us from getting hungry too often. It reduces the rapid fluctuations of sugar levels as well. They are also very low in calories which is great since it can really fill you up without you having to feel guilty about overeating.
Contains numerous Vitamins and minerals
Eggplants have a decent amount of Vitamins and minerals, some of which include iron, zinc, potassium, thiamine, pyridoxine, niacin and folate. These play an important role in several major functions of our body, one of which includes metabolism regulation. Along with that, they keep our nervous system and skin healthy as well.
Eggplants are incredibly versatile
Eggplants are used in dishes across all continents. The texture and firmness makes it versatile enough to be boiled, broiled, grilled, cooked, baked and even pickled. Vegetarians can substitute it for meat and use it in lasagna, stews, sandwiches etc.
It has a unique capability of seamlessly absorbing the flavor of all the ingredients. Hence, when cooked correctly, it can be very delicious.
While picking the eggplants, choose ones that are firm and heavy. Avoid ones that are bruised or have brown patches. They should be intensely purple and have a glossy surface. To remove some of the bitterness out of it, cut it into small pieces and sprinkle salt on it. Leave it for about 30 minutes. The salt will suck the moisture out, and the eggplant will be left soft and less bitter. Rise it thoroughly to get rid of the salt.
As mentioned before, eggplants contains nasunin, which promotes the elimination of iron from our cells. While for most people this is beneficial as this removes the problems associated with excess iron, it is not good for anemic or those with low iron levels.
Those suffering from kidney problems should avoid eating eggplants, since they contain oxalates. They can stimulate the formation of kidney stones.
In the comments below, please tell us: What is your favorite eggplant dish?