Egg Plant (Brinjal)
The eggplant is one of the most good looking vegetables around. The shiny purple skin makes it really visually appealing while the fluffy and spongy flesh makes it tastier. However, did you know that the phenolic content in eggplants, makes it such a strong free radical scavenger that the eggplant is ranked among the top 10 vegetables in terms of oxygen radical absorbency. There are numerous health benefits of eggplants such as lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, keeping a healthy mind and hair. Go ahead, read the entire article to know all about the health benefits of eggplants.
The eggplant is known by different names all across the world. While you may not know as Eggplant, the typical British and French call it the Aubergine. In Aisa and Africa, the same vegetable is known as Brinjal. The presence of different names across different regions of the world clearly indicates their known use all across the globe.
The eggplant or Aubergine is the fruit of a plant of the nightshade family. Other plants in the nightshade family are tomatoes and potatoes. The eggplant can come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.
The eggplant is a vegetable that has always been prized its beautify looks and the shiny texture of the skin. The unique taste of the pulp of eggplants has fascinated cooks for a long time. The vegetable can be grilled, roasted, cut and fried or be made a part of a curry. In all its forms, the eggplant is able to give a perfect flavor and taste.
In North America, the most popular and common type of Eggplant is the one that looks like a pear or egg. In Asia, the most common variety is the one the looks completely round. No matter what the variety of the eggplant, one thing common across all of them is a glossy and shiny skin. The flesh of the eggplant is cream/ white in color and spongy in nature which have very small seeds in the middle.
In addition to the above mentioned varieties, the eggplant is also found in different colors such as lavender, orange, white (cream) and light green.
The different varieties of eggplants do vary in their taste and texture but very slightly. Generally each of them have a spongy and fluffy flesh and a pleasant taste. In many recipes, the eggplant is used as an ingredient which can balance the flavors of other more pronounced ingredients.
Health Benefits of Eggplants
The eggplant, although used all across the globe has seldom been considered for the health benefits that it brings to the table. Studies have shown that the health benefits of eggplants include lowering of blood cholesterol, blood pressure, anti-cancer properties and weight management.
Majority (if not all) the nutritional value and health benefits of eggplants is gained from consuming are obtained from the skin of the vegetable. Unfortunately, majority of the recipes that we eat do not include using skin of this beautiful vegetable. The eggplant skin is full of fiber, potassium and magnesium and antioxidants. You may not know that the phenolic content in eggplants, makes it such a strong free radical scavenger that the eggplant is ranked among the top 10 vegetables in terms of oxygen radical absorbency.
Learn all about the Health Benefits of Eggplants in our complete article. Please make sure you refer to the Health Benefits Tab.
Here are some more sources on health benefits of eggplants and how you can eat them.
Eggplants have popularly known in South-Asian region, feature mainly in many kinds of Indian cuisines. It can be stew fried, roasted, baked or ground in the preparation of variety of recipes.
Storage: Eggplants can be kept in cool place for use in a day or two but ideally should be stored inside the refrigerator set at high relative humidity, where they keep fresh for few days.
Cleaning & Cutting: Wash eggplant thoroughly in cold water before use. Trim the stalk end using a sharp knife.
How to Buy: Buy healthy looking firm, shiny, bright-colored fruits that feel heavy and solid. Take a close look at the stalk; if it is stout, firm, and green; that means the fruit is fresh. Avoid those shriveled which are soft in hand and with wrinkles, surface cuts or bruise. Always avoid over-mature, old-stock, and sunken eggplants as they taste bitter and, therefore, unappetizing.
Special Steps: You can peel the eggplant. Wash the eggplant. Rinse the eggplant in cool running water, then dry it with clean paper towels. Though you will be removing the skin, but still you should take the time to clean the dirt from it. Bacteria and grime from the skin of the eggplant can get on your hands as you handle it during the peeling process. That bacteria can transfer from your hands to the flesh of the eggplant post-peeling. By cleaning the vegetable before you peel it, you minimize this risk. For the same end, you should also make sure that your hands are clean before you handle the eggplant. Wash your hands well with soap and water, then dry them off.
TIP: Sprinkle a pinch of cooking salt or soak pieces in salt water to remove the bitter compounds. Whole fruit is edible.
Eggplant is a very good source of dietary fiber, potassium,manganese, copper and thiamin (vitamin B1). It is also a good source ofvitamin B6, folate, magnesium and niacin. Eggplant also containsphytonutrients such as nasunin and chlorogenic acid.
Mineral Content: It is very also good source of minerals like manganese, folate, fiber, copper, iron and potassium.
Vitamin & Compounds: Thai eggplants contain alkaloids, phenolics. flavanoids, sterol, sterol, saponins and glycosides. It contains good amounts of many essential B-complex groups of vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and thiamin (vitamin B1), niacin (B3).
Water Content: Round Eggplant is 88.8 gm water by weight.
Carbohydrate Content: Round Eggplant provide only 24 calories per 100 g
The peel or skin of aubergine has significant amounts of phenolic flavonoid phyto-chemicals called anthocyanins. Scientific studies have shown that these anti-oxidants have potential health effects against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.
Helps keeping diabetes in control: The eggplants are a very rich source of fiber and low soluble carbohydrates. Thus they are highly beneficial for regulation of blood sugar levels and also to control the absorption of glucose. This makes them the best option for people suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Heart Health and Cholesterol: The cholesterol levels are brought down to a great extent by the eggplant. It also helps stabilize the level of blood pressure. All this in turn lowers the risk of heart diseases. The body is also kept well hydrated thanks to the potassium content present in this vegetable. This ensures that there is no retention of fluids which prevents coronary heart diseases.
Brain Health: Eggplant contains phytonutrients which keep the cell membranes protected from any kind of damage and facilitates the message transfer from one part to another, thus preserving the memory function.
Helps in iron production: We all require iron for proper functioning in our day to day life. However, too much of iron in the body is not a good sign. The content of nasunin that is present in eggplant helps remove excess iron from the body. This brings down the risk of getting heart attacks as it damages the existence of the free radicals in one’s system.
Facilitates weight loss: Eggplant is considered to be high in water content yet low in calorie count. This feature makes it very ideal as a healthy diet for people who want to reduce weight. The spongy texture of the vegetable is what facilitates these characteristics, hence one must consume in its natural form as much as possible.
Helps in digestion: The digestive system is kept healthy and safe because of the good content of fibre in brinjals. This prevents constipation as well. The risk of colon cancer is also eliminated.
Keeps chronic diseases at bay: Eggplant reduces the chance of cardiovascular diseases and strokes.
Helps quit smoking: Eggplant has small amount of nicotine which helps those who want to gradually quit smoking.
Anti bacterial properties: The eggplant has good amounts of vitamin C which make it an effective anti-viral and anti- bacterial source.
Flawless skin: Eggplants are very rich in minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber. This helps keep the system clean from within which reflects in the form of a flawless skin outside.
Anti-aging: The skin of eggplants have a lot of anthocyanins. These antioxidants act as anti-aging agents.
Prevents skin cancer: A particular antioxidant found in eggplant helps prevent skin cancer.
Hair growth: Eggplants come with enzymes which help stimulate the follicles of your hair. This generates good hair growth and makes your hair healthier.
Cancer: Polyphenols in eggplant have been found to exhibit anti-cancer effects. Anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid function as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. They protect body cells from damage caused by free radicals and in turn prevent tumor growth and invasion and spread of cancer cells. They also stimulate detoxifying enzymes within cells and promote cancer cell death.
Keeping the Mind Healthy: Eggplants large amount of nutrients has the capacity to safeguard brain cell membranes from free radical cells from destroying them. The high quantity of B complex vitamins in eggplant also offers the capability to keep us imagining clearly and stop stress. The anti-oxidants within eggplant have even the capability to avoid brain tumors and also cancer from forming by attacking the free radicals which cause tumors cancers.
Constipation: The fiber within brinjals helps you to manage bowel motions in addition to eliminates the bowel as well as keeps it thoroughly clean from harmful toxins. People struggling with long-term bowel problems will get comfort by consuming brinjal within their daily diet.
Insomnia: Using soft as well as baked brinjal along with honey before going to sleep helps with having a sound sleep. By using this treatment for some day heals sleeplessness. Additionally B complex vitamins assist to get rest from both mental and physical stress which will helps you to get better night’s sleep.
Eggplant protects against lipid peroxidation: Eggplant includes a powerful anti-oxidant known as nasunin, an anthocyanin, which could safeguard you from lipid peroxidation. Cell membranes are completely comprised of lipids. The lipids safeguard the cell against free-radicals. Yet, quite often, the free radicals grab the essential electrons from lipids and damage cells. This damaging action is known as lipid peroxidation. Ingesting eggplants can eliminate those free-radicals and therefore prevent this action.
Bone Health: Eggplant consists of lots of the minerals required to sustain powerful, healthy bones: manganese, potassium, magnesium and copper.
Allergies: Eggplant can cause allergic reactions. Severe reactions can include throat swelling and nausea, although more common reactions include itchiness and rash. Parents should monitor their children when serving eggplant. Common antihistamines can treat most eggplant allergies.
Raw Eggplants: Some people may be very sensitive to solanine (which is there in eggplant) and they will have stomach upset after the intake of raw eggplants.
Here are some simple, yet delicious recipes of Eggplants.
1) Grilled Round Eggplant: A healthy and delicious recipe for Eggplants.
2) Fried Eggplant Balls: A creative and elegant way to eat eggplants. You children are surely going to love this one.
3) Eggplant Appetizer.
4) Grilled Eggplant, Tomato and Goat Cheese: A no fuss appetizer