Also known as aubergine, the eggplant belongs to the family of plants called nightshade. It is the same botanical family that entails tomatoes, potatoes, and bell peppers. This deep purple vegetable is well-known for its unique taste and glossy outer texture. You can see them growing similar to other vegetables of the family – having vines on their tall plants.
Eggplant is also available in other shades and colors such as orange, yellow, or lavender. However, the most commonly available type of eggplant is the deep purple one. It has got its name due to its shape, which resembles an egg – therefore, it is known as eggplant.
How Nutritious is Eggplant for You?
Eggplants are rich in nutrients essentially required by our bodies. They are low in fats and high in fiber. They are an important source of dietary fiber that helps improves the health of our stomach. Furthermore, eggplants are loaded with essential vitamins such as vitamin A, C, and K.
Also, consuming eggplant is a good source of getting folate into our bodies along with minerals such as manganese and potassium that your body cannot do without. Research shows that the deep purple skin of the eggplant is filled with antioxidants, such as nasunin. This antioxidant is essential for eradicating free radicals from our bodies. Free radicals damage our body cells and may lead to numerous chronic diseases.
Types of Eggplant
- Graffiti Eggplant
This type of eggplant has distinctive purple and white stripes on the skin. It is also often called the Sicilian eggplant.
- Italian eggplant
While it looks almost the same as the regular eggplant, the Italian eggplant is smaller and fatter than the standard one. It has more tender flesh and is used mostly in Italian dishes such as caponata.
- Japanese Eggplant
These eggplants have a narrow shape and are longer than the regular eggplant. They have the same deep purple color; however, they can be a lighter shade of purple sometimes. They do not have many seeds and have a creamier flesh.
- Fairy Tale Eggplant
This eggplant is very small – not bigger than the palm of our hand. They are very tender from the inside.
- White Eggplant
These eggplants are purely white. They have the same taste and flesh as the regular purple ones.
- Green Eggplant
These green eggplants are plump and round. They have pale-green skin. Their taste is mild and a lot creamy than the purple ones.
Benefits of Eggplant
1. Nasunin Protects The Cell Membranes of The Brain
One of the biggest proven benefits of consuming eggplant is the benefits you gain from its peel. This is the reason why you must have seen that eggplant is eaten along with its peel. The peel of this vegetable is rich in antioxidants, especially nasunin. Nasunin has been found to protect our brain cells by safeguarding the lipids in their membranes.
Our cell membranes are mainly composed of lipids, and they protect the cells from any damage. Also, cell membranes perform a crucial function of letting the nutrients in the cell while excreting unwanted substances out. Additionally, cell membranes are also crucial in balancing the amount of iron in our cells. Too much or too little iron can hinder normal cell functioning.
Therefore, nasunin protecting the lipids in our cell membrane is directly linked to the importance of consuming this antioxidant through eggplant.
2. Helpful in Lowering The Risk of Heart Diseases
The health of our heart is effectively maintained if we balance the intake of essential minerals such as potassium, vitamin C, and dietary fiber. All of these important components that improve the health of our heart are present in eggplants.
The antioxidant property of eggplants significantly helps in preventing the risk of developing heart problems. Several animal studies have concluded that consuming eggplants protects the health of the heart. The beneficial components in eggplants help lower the bad cholesterol in the blood along with triglycerides, which in turn plays a crucial part in protecting our heart.
3. Potentially Beneficial in Regulating Blood Sugar Levels
Another most convincing benefit of consuming eggplants is that the presence of dietary fiber in this vegetable significantly helps in boosting blood sugar control. The dietary fiber in the eggplants is highly beneficial for improved digestive processes in the body. Consuming fiber-rich foods help curb high blood sugar levels by slowing down the rate at which sugar is absorbed in the body.
This extremely crucial role played by dietary fiber consumed through eggplants helps prevent spikes in blood sugar levels. Moreover, it is found that eggplants are also a rich source of polyphenols – a type of natural plant compound that helps increase the secretion of insulin.
You can easily adopt eggplants in your diet by making a salad or mixing it with whole grains and vegetables rich in nutrients. This type of diet significantly enhances the regulation of blood sugar levels and helps curb type-2 diabetes.
4. Potential Bonus For Losing Weight
Since the eggplants indicate are very high in fiber and offer a very minimal amount of calories, they are ideal for including in a weight-loss diet plan. If you include eggplants in your diet, they fuel your body with healthy fiber. This fiber-rich vegetable boosts the health of your stomach and helps in slowingdown your digestive process.
This effect on the digestion helps you keep satiated for a long time and saves you from binge or overeating. The less you feel hungry, the more you can cut down on your intake of calories. If you have been looking for including a high-fiber and low-calorie ingredient in your weight-loss diet plan, then eggplants are perfect for you.
5. May Help Prevent Cancer
It is found that SolasodineRhamnosylGlycosides (SRGs) – important compounds found in various nightshade plants – are crucial in combating the production and proliferation of the cancer cells in our body. Animal studies have shown that SRGs promise a significant potential of killing the cancer cells in the body. Thus, they are termed as helpful in preventing cancer.
A review of about 200 studies on the same topic revealed that if we consume such vegetables and fruits daily, we can significantly lower the risk of developing various types of cancers.
6. Promotes Eye Health
Lutein and zeaxanthin are two compounds that are present in eggplants. These compounds are deemed significant in promoting and maintaining the health of our eyes. Specifically, it is found that lutein plays a critical role in protecting our eyes from age-related macular degeneration in old age.
Some Ingenious Ways to Add Eggplant in your Diet
If you are bored with the ordinary eggplant recipes that you have already tried, then fasten your seatbelts. Here we have some amazing ingenious ideas about how you can easily incorporate this high-fiber and low-calorie vegetable in your diet.
- Eggplant as a Pizza Crust
It is very easy now to replace your carb-laden traditional pizza crust with something extremely healthy. Slice the eggplants and spread them on the baking tray. Top with tomato sauce, toppings of your choice, some cheese, and you are good to go with your diet plan intact!
- Eggplant Chips
This recipe is the most favorite snack that is very healthy. Slice the eggplants into very thin slices and spread on the baking sheet. Sprinkle olive oil and salt and bake them or stir-fry them. Your healthy chips are ready.
- Eggplant Pasta
Cut thick slices of eggplant and put them in your pasta maker. Bake these strips or sauté them and voila! Your eggplant pasta is ready.
Some people might find the taste of eggplant slightly bitter. This can leave a bad impact on people, and they might not want to have it again. So, here is a little tip for removing any such taste from eggplants, and it is known as sweating.
When you cut the eggplant, leave it on the cutting board or in any flat utensil for about half an hour after sprinkling salt on them. This will cause the eggplant pieces or slices to sweat, which will eventually draw out any moisture in the vegetable and reduce the bitterness from the taste.
Eggplants are an excellent source of antioxidants and essential nutrients. They are the ideal vegetables for following a weight-loss diet plan. They are rich in dietary fiber and do not stuff you with calories. Eggplants are available in various types and vary in colors; however, the most common type is the one with distinctively deep purple skin color.
The benefits eggplants have for our bodies are crucial and hence ascertain the fact that we all should incorporate this vegetable in our diet.