Eggplants are known for its deeply purple, glossy color, as well as its unique taste and texture. They are available in the market throughout the year, but are at season from August through October.
When most people think of eggplant, purple color is the image that comes to their mind. But eggplants come in various shapes and colors, from small, oblong, long, skinny and from shades of white to purple and green.
No matter its shape or color, all eggplants contain many beneficial nutrients and phytochemical compounds. This health benefits below focus on the nutritional benefits of the purple eggplant.
Health Benefits of Eggplant:
1. Blood Cholesterol
Eggplant contains a significant amount of chlorogenic acid, which is known to be one of the most powerful free radical scavengers present in plants. Chlorogenic acid is known to decrease LDL levels and serves as an anti-viral, anti-carcinogenic and anti-microbial agent.
2. Brain Food
The eggplant skin contains nasunin, an anthocyanin. It is known to be a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the lipids comprising cell membranes in the brain cells from free radical damage.
Studies also shown that anthocyanins facilitate blood flow to the brain and inhibit neuro-inflammation. This helps in the prevention of age-related mental disorders and helps improve memory.
Eggplant contains polyphenols which have been found to exhibit anti-cancer effects. Chlorogenic acid and anthocyanins works as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidants compounds.
It protects body cells from damage caused by free radicals, which in turn prevent tumor growth and invasion of cancer cells. It also promotes cancer cell death and stimulate detoxifying enzymes within cells.
Eggplants have been used for managing and controlling diabetes. Researches support this role, due to its low soluble carbohydrate and high fiber content.
5. Heart Health
Eggplants contain potassium, fiber, vitamin B-6, vitamin C and phytonutrients which all support heart health. As per the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consumption of foods containing flavonoids is linked to a lower risk from heart disease.
Studies have show that consumption of the flavonoids known as anthocyanins played a major role in reducing risk of cardiovascular disease. One study stated that those who consumed more than 3 servings of vegetables and fruits per week, which contains anthocyanins had 34% less risk of heart disease, compared to those who consumed less.
Another clinical study, revealed that researchers found that an increased intake of anthocyanins were linked with significantly lower blood pressure.
6. Weight Management
Dietary fibers are important factors in weight loss and weight management by functioning as “bulking agents” in the digestive system. These compounds help reduce your appetite and increase satiety, making you feel fuller for much longer and thereby lowering your overall calorie intake. Eggplant is low in calories, which makes it a great part of a healthy and low-calorie diet.
How to Serve:
- As a dip for vegetables
- Add to your stir fry meal
- Mix baked and cubed eggplant with grilled lentils, peppers, garlic, onions and top with balsamic vinaigrette.
- Stuff eggplants with a mixture of pine nuts, cheese and roasted peppers.