Eggplant (Solanum melongena) is a member of the nightshade family commonly known in British English as aubergine and also goes by the names brinjal, brinjal eggplant, melongene, garden egg, or guinea squash. The meaty fruit, known for its characteristic taste and texture is widely used in cooking, most notably as an important ingredient in dishes such as moussaka and ratatouille. It is related to both the tomato and potato, being a member of the genus Solanum.
Nutritional Content of Eggplant
Nutritionally, eggplant is low in fat, protein and carbohydrates. Eggplants are a good source of potassium, magnesium, manganese, calcium, copper, iron, phosphorous, zinc among other trace minerals. In addition, an eggplant contains B-complex vitamins, a number of phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamin C and healthy fats.
Health Benefits of Eggplant
1. Good for the Heart: Eating eggplant a few times a week in a meal can help relax blood vessels all over the body thereby improving circulation and keeping cholesterol at healthy levels. The phytonutrients in eggplant also help prevent heart disease, heart attacks and stroke.
2. Reduced risk of Cancer: Eggplant has been found to be especially useful in the treatment of colon cancer owing to the high amount of fiber present in it. Also, the antioxidant nasunin found in the skin of eggplants has the ability to prevent tumors from growing quickly because of its anti-angiogenic property.
3. Promotes healthy Digestion: The high amount of fiber in eggplants helps push waste, toxins, chemicals and pollutants out of the body. Eating eggplant regularly can help prevent and treat constipation too.
4. Good for Diabetics: Eggplants are a very rich source of fiber and low soluble carbohydrates, which help in the regulation of blood sugar levels and aiding in the absorption of glucose. Consuming eggplant regularly can be highly beneficial to a person suffering from type-2 diabetes.
5. Brain health: The phytonutrients present in eggplant keep cell membranes protected from scavenging free radicals and facilitate message transfer from one part of the brain to another, thus preserving memory function. The high amounts of B-vitamins in eggplants have the ability to keep us thinking clearly and avoid stress.
6. Nourished Hair, Skin and Nails: The high water content, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats all play a major part in keeping hair healthy and strong, skin soft and glowing and nails clear and non-brittle.
7. Helps in Weight Loss: Eggplant is high in water content and has a low calorific value. This feature makes it attractive and ideal as a mainstay in a weight-loss diet. Also, the high fiber content in eggplants helps keep one full for longer, making one feel satiated longer and therefore helpful in achieving weight loss.
8. Regular consumption of eggplant helps prevent blood clots owing to vitamin K and bioflavonoids present in eggplant, which strengthens capillaries.
9. Eggplant contains small amounts of nicotine which may help smokers curb their cigarette cravings while they are trying to quit smoking if they add eggplant to their diet.
10. The nasunin present in eggplants helps remove and normalize iron content in the body, an excess of which can increase the risk of heart attacks.
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