The amazing health benefits of eggplant or brinjal is primarily derived from its rich vitamin, mineral and nutrient content. Eggplants are enriched with dietary fibre, antioxidants, calcium and vitamins including vitamin B6, thiamin and niacin, vitamin C and vitamin K.
Eggplant, also known as brinjal, aubergine, guinea squash, garden egg and melongene, usually is egg-shaped (hence the name) and comes in a dark purple colour.
Eggplants or aubergines are low-fat, low-calorie, low-sodium, low-cholesterol and high folic acid foods. They are packed with essential minerals such as magnesium, copper, phosphorus and potassium. Eggplants have many health benefits and are a staple food in the Mediterranean diet.
Although glossy purple eggplants are commonly found, eggplants also come in a range of sizes, shapes and colours – from slim and elongated to small and oblong and from varying shades of purple, green, white and bicoloured.
Eggplant (Solanum melongena), belongs to the nightshade family of vegetables. It’s actually a fruit and not a vegetable as is commonly perceived.
Health Benefits of Eggplant:
Eating eggplant boosts your overall health and wellbeing. The skin of eggplant is rich in fiber, antioxidants, potassium and magnesium. Eggplants also contain flavonoids like anthocyanins, which are water-soluble pigments with many health benefits. Anthocyanins also give the eggplant its well-known, dark purple colour.
Let’s focus on what are the health benefits of eggplants:
1. Eggplant protects heart health:
Eggplant contains anthocyanins which protect your heart against free radicals. Eating foods that contain certain flavonoids, including anthocyanins, are associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
2. Eggplant lowers blood pressure and cholesterol:
An increased intake of anthocyanin-containing foods, such as eggplant, is linked to significantly lower blood pressure.
Phenolic compounds present in eggplants can actively bring down blood pressure levels, lower cholesterol and help prevent blood clots from forming.
Eggplants contain potassium, an essential mineral that helps maintain electrolyte balance by neutralizing the hypertension effects of sodium.
Chlorogenic acid in eggplant is known to decrease LDL levels.
3. Eggplant improves cognitive function:
Nasunin, a powerful antioxidant found in eggplant skin, protects the lipids in brain cell membranes from chemical damage caused by free radicals. Neutralizing free-radicals gives eggplants anti-ageing properties.
Nasunin also helps prevent iron accumulation and has anti-cancer properties as it prevents new blood vessels from developing, reduces inflammation, and blocks enzymes that cause cancer cells to spread.
Nasunin, an anthocyanin, also helps in transporting nutrients into the cell and eliminating waste.
Anthocyanins help facilitate proper blood flow to the brain, which helps improve memory and protect against degenerative mental disorders such as dementia.
4. Fiber rich eggplants help in digestion:
Eggplants are rich in dietary fiber and antioxidants. Fiber is important for gastrointestinal health, regular bowel movements and secretion of gastric juices.
Fiber is known to help reduce heart disease by eliminating LDL (bad) cholesterol that can block arteries and veins, leading to atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke. Eating foods rich in fibre also reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, cancer and obesity.
5. Eggplants help manages type 2 diabetes:
Chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant in eggplants, slowly releases glucose into your bloodstream after you have your meal. Regularly consuming eggplant is a natural way to manage type 2 diabetes.
Eggplants are low in fat and high in fibre and therefore recommended for management of type 2 diabetes. Phenolic-enriched eggplant extracts are beneficial for type 2 diabetes management because they help control glucose absorption and reduce associated hypertension or high blood pressure.
Aubergines are one of the low glycemic index vegetables.
6. Eggplants aid in weight loss:
Eggplant aids in weight loss. Dietary fiber, which acts as a “bulking agent” in your digestive system, is an important factor in managing weight. It enhances satiety and reduces appetite. Fibre takes some time to move through your digestive system and so it helps reduce calorie intake by making you feel fuller for longer.
Eggplant is low in calories and is the ideal food to take if you’re counting calories. Besides, eggplants have high fibre content which makes you feel full, greatly reducing the chances of overeating.
7. Eggplants have cancer-killing properties:
Eggplant contains polyphenols that display anti-cancer effects. Anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid safeguard cells from damage by free radicals and, thereby inhibit tumour growth and the spread of cancer cells.
According to research, eggplant extracts have proven to be very effective in treating non-melanoma skin cancers.
8. Eggplant is good for the liver:
Antioxidants in eggplant help protect your liver from certain toxins.
9. Eggplant is Nutrient Rich:
Eggplant is a good source of essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, potassium, copper and manganese, all of which are required for optimum health.
It contains good amounts of Vitamin C, which protects against cardiovascular disease, immune system deficiencies, eye problems, prenatal health problems and even skin wrinkling.
Aubergines are packed with Vitamin K, which plays a key role in blood clotting.
Aubergines contain several essential B vitamins, including Thiamin (Vitamin B1), Niacin (Vitamin B3), Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5), Folic Acid (Vitamin B9) and Vitamin B12. All the B Vitamins are vital for increasing the rate of metabolism, maintaining healthy skin/muscle tone, enhancing immune/nervous system function, promoting cell growth and division and reducing pancreatic cancer risk.
10. Eggplants improves bone health and reduces osteoporosis:
Phenolic compounds, which give eggplants their unique coloration, reduce osteoporosis risk, strengthen bones, and increase bone mineral density. Iron and calcium in eggplants are essential for bone health.
11. Eggplants reduce risk of anaemia:
Foods high in iron help combat anaemia, and eggplants are an excellent source of iron. Iron-rich foods also help in haemoglobin formation, carry oxygen to cells in the body and improve muscle and brain function.
In addition, eggplants also contain copper, another key component of red blood cells like iron.
12. Eat eggplant for healthy hair, skin and nails:
Eggplants have high water content, besides being packed with vitamins, minerals and healthy fats, all of which are required for healthy hair, nails and skin. Intake of foods high in water helps flush toxins from the body, keeping your skin hydrated and giving it a nice, healthy glow.
13. Eggplants prevent birth defects:
Eggplants are packed with the essential nutrient folic acid, which is especially beneficial for pregnant women. Folic acid protects infants from the birth defects; it also plays a vital role in the baby’s growth and development.
14. Eggplant juice helps treat various disorders:
Juice made from eggplant leaves and roots is effective in treating asthma, rheumatism, toothache, skin problems and throat and stomach disorders. To reap the wonderful health benefits of eggplant you should add it to your grocery list.
15. Eggplant has anti-aging properties:
Nasunin present in eggplants reduces cell damage and thus counteracts the effects of aging. Besides, eggplants contain Vitamin E, which works as an anti-aging agent by improving moisture and skin elasticity.
The amazing health benefits of eggplant cannot be emphasized enough. So adding eggplants to your diet is a good idea as it has a lot to offer nutritionally.