The eggplant, known mostly for its stunning violet colour (though it also comes in different colours like white and green), has a number of health benefits – it is, in fact, a great source of nutrients needed by the body, and it offers so much more.
The eggplants has it all: calories, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, dietary fiber, vitamins, you name it. One cup of raw eggplant embeds the following:
- Calories: 20 units
- Protein: 0.8 grams
- Carbohydrate: 4.82 grams
- Fat: 0.15 grams
- Dietary fiber: 2.5 grams
It also contains potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, iron and magnesium.
Additionally, eggplants are a good source of anthocyanins. These are water-soluble pigments which are responsible for the colour they confer onto plants. It has been suggested that anthocyanins are dietary antioxidants. They have also been associated with anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
The skin of the eggplants are rich in nutrients and fiber. The skin is full of potassium, magnesium and antioxidants. Furthermore, it consists of phenol groups which makes of it a good free radical scavenger.
Its make-up makes it perfect to fight certain diseases and ailments, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity.
The eggplant promoting the health of the heart
Its high nutrient content makes it ideal for the good health of the heart. Consumption of eggplant has been associated with decreased risk of dying from heart disease. Its anthocyanin stock is extremely beneficial to counteract cardiovascular disease. It greatly decreases the risk of heart disease. Anthocyanins have also been associated with normalised blood pressure.
Cholesterol content in blood
Weight and blood cholesterol concentration have been shown to decrease with the consumption of eggplant. The eggplant contains great amounts of chlorogenic acid which is known for its effect on the bad cholesterol level (low density lipids (LDL).
Polyphenols, anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid found in eggplants have anti-cancer effects: they are known to promote the destruction of cancer cells. The last two act as anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory substances, thereby getting rid of free radicals, and in turn, preventing the growths of tumours.
Brain cells have been shown to be protected by anthocyanins which are found in eggplant skin. The cells are safeguarded from the action of free radicals. Anthocyanins also prevent neuroinflammation and ease the flow of blood in the brain, all of which improves memory and the overall health of the brain.
Dietary fibers are very efficient for weight management programs. They increase satiety, such that one feels satiated with foods full of dietary fiber. The latter is not digested, but rather egested by the food, such that, eating plenty of it satisfies hunger, without causing weight gain. By feeling fuller by consuming dietary fiber, one does not take in too many calories.
Health risks of eggplant (Yea!)
Eggplants contain nasunin, a component which binds with iron thereby removing it from cells. While this is beneficial in cases of excess iron, those people who have iron deficiencies should not eat too much of foods containing nasunin, like eggplants. Another component in eggplants which could be dangerous is the group oxalate, which has been linked with kidney stone formation. Those who are vulnerable to developing kidney stones and those who already suffer from it should refrain from consuming eggplant.
Too much of anything is bad…
And, of course, as they say, too much of anything is bad, however good and beneficial it might be. Eggplants do constitute great health benefits, but, meals should not be composed of only eggplants and the likes. Rather, one should strike a balance among the food items to be consumed for a healthy lifestyle.