About Eggplant - Add Some Drama to Your Diet
Eggplant, Aubergine, Brinjal, Guinea Squash or Melongene- You may call it whatever you like, but for simplicity’s sake we will use the name ‘eggplant’ in this article. The name ‘eggplant’ doesn’t paint a very appealing picture. In fact it sounds quite boring and ordinary!
The truth, however, is that the eggplant is anything but commonplace. Enveloped in a royal purple skin with a splendid glossy finish, the eggplant can add that whisper of drama to any dish. This Indian delight is a member of the nightshade family, and is thus closely related to the potato and tomato. Eggplants have a unique flavor- a well-balanced amalgamation of bitter and sweet. If you haven’t tried this vegetable yet, trust us when we say that it must be tried at least once!
If anyone ever claims that eggplants are poisonous, or cause leprosy, insanity and cancer, don’t panic. That was a popular rumor invalidated a long ago! Eggplants, in fact, have a weighty list of nutritional and health benefits that people have been taking advantage of for decades. It is time for you to find out why eggplant eaters wax lyrical about this vegetable!
Eggplant Nutritional Information
Color, taste and a spectacular inventory of nutrients- eggplants have a lot going for them! 1 cup of raw eggplant (about 82 grams) contains 11% dietary fiber, 10% managanese, 5.3% potassium and 4.5% folate. All of these substances, upon ingestion, help to keep the body strong and healthy.
Eggplants are also home to a multitude of essential vitamins including Vitamin K (3.5%), Vitamin B6 (3.5%), Vitamin C (3%) and Vitamin B3 (2.6%) Want to drop those extra pounds, the natural way? It’s time to invest in a few eggplants! 1 cup of the vegetable (about 82 grams) only contains 19 calories.
Health Benefits Of Eggplant
Eggplants are a treasure trove of matchless health benefits.
Excellent for your cardiovascular system!
Eggplants contain compounds called nasunins and phytonutrients. These substances work in harmony to nullify the harmful effects of free-radicals within the body. They, in effect, protect the body from high levels of blood cholesterol, and cellular damage which can lead to cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. Conversely, these substances improve the blood circulation around the body.
Protect yourself from cancer!
Research has found that eggplants contain a rich store of phenolic compounds which function as powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants not only protect the body from cancer causing free radicals, but also act as anti-viral and anti-bacterial agents. To add another benefit to this list, phenolic compounds also prevent bad cholesterol from accumulating within the body!
An eggplant a day keeps the neurologist away!
Nasunin, an anthocyanin phytonutrient, has been found to preserve brain cells and their delicate membranes. Nasunin prevents free radicals from damaging the lipids (essential fats) in the brain cell membranes. These cell membranes perform functions that are crucial to the health and survival of the human body. These functions include absorbing indispensable nutrients and following instructions from messenger cells.
How to Enjoy The Eggplant
When you purchase an eggplant, make sure that the vegetable is firm to touch and has considerable weight. The skin should be glossy and smooth, and free of any bruises and blotches. If the color of the eggplant looks a bit drab, don’t buy it!
Use a stainless steel knife to slice the eggplant. Eggplants can usually be consumed with their skin, but some eggplants are white in color and have a tough skin. The skin can be peeled off before consumption. To reduce the bitterness of the vegetable, the eggplant needs to be salted. This process is known as ‘sweating’. After you have sliced and cut the eggplant and sprinkled salt on the slices, let it ‘sweat’ for half an hour.
Roasted eggplant, steamed eggplant or grilled eggplant? You can make all three! This versatile vegetable can even be baked! Slice the eggplant thinly and use it as a unique sandwich filling, or toss it into a bowl of fresh, crunchy green salad. Why not make stuffed eggplants for dinner? It’s quick, easy and tastes delicious! Stuff the eggplants with a combination of cheese, roasted peppers and pine nuts, and savor this flavorsome dish.
Those individuals who have kidney or gall bladder problems should refrain from having eggplants. Eggplants contain oxalates that can solidify to form kidney or gall bladder stones.