Unique and unusual are two words that describe the eggplant due to its range of benefits in terms of health. It even includes the prevention of osteoporosis and the ability to build bones that are strong enough for the body. Eating eggplant reduces the symptoms of anemia, improve cardiovascular health, increase the cognitive function, protect the infants from defects in birth, manage diabetes, protect the digestive system, prevent cancer, and reduce stress. The list could go on.
Though, native to the indian subcontinent, eggplants are can also be found throughout the world in the several different countries of cultural cuisines. The vegetable has been called a lot of names from brinjal, guinea squash, melongene, and also aubergine in England.
The glossy purple black vegetable can grow to more than a foot long in wild varieties. Even though they are considered to have smaller sizes in normal agriculture.
It was in the 14th century that it made an appearance in Europe and by the 16th century, it was being referenced in England but have reached in the Mediterranean region and the middle east by approximately 800 years ago. By the 18th century, Thomas Jefferson introduced them to America where the leading eggplant producers are Florida, California, and Georgia.
There are several varieties available around the world. They are used in different cuisines depending on the manner that it can be used and added to a dish. It is known to be the king of vegetables in India. This is due to the versatility of the vegetable and its functional food in it. Some other variety look small and white like an egg, some are yellow orange with green stripes, while others are long and skinny. All these varieties hang and suspended from tall plants that reach several feet high.
Eggplant has taken the consistency of a tomato, in terms of density and texture. The vegetable is perfect as an addition to sauces, soups, and stews. It is not only a good additive to the taste of other dishes but can also stand alone in different dishes. It does not end there, not only is eggplant a better addition to any food it is delicious as it is flavorful, and can be a very healthy when consumed in meals enough to give you a happier and healthier life.
Studies on Eggplants
Some studies about eggplants have found that they have antiproliferative activities against human colon and cancer cells in the liver. Another study have found that eggplant extracts have an inhibitory effect on human fibrosarcoma invasion in cells.
The Nutritional Value
The benefits that we can get from eggplant are primarily being derived from the minerals, vitamins, and its nutrient content. The overwhelming pack of nutrients can be found in eggplants. The said vegetable is rich and packed with vitamin K, Vitamin C, magnesium, thiamin, vitamin B6, niacin, folic acid, copper, dietary fiber, phosphorous, manganese, and potassium. We could go on. There is almost no saturated fat and cholesterol to eggplants.
Even the leaves and the roots of eggplants are being baked and boiled to make a tonic for stomach, throat troubles, rheumatism, asthma, inflammation, foot pain, toothache, coughs, diseases in the skin, hemorrhage in the intestines, anorexia, and even used as a general stimulant.
Scientists to day have found out that the black magic variety of eggplant contains almost thrice the amount of antioxidant phenolics than other eggplant types. These attributes give eggplant a slight bitter taste.
Fiber is important for gastrointestinal health. It promotes the regular movement of the bowels and is also an important element in a balanced diet. Most vegetables like the eggplants are great sources for dietary fiber. They bulk up the movements of your bowel so they pass more easily through the digestive tract while stimulating the contraction of the smooth muscle that move food through the body called peristaltic motion.
Fiber is essential in stimulating the secretion of gastric juices that will help in facilitating the absorption of nutrients and the processing of foods taken in.
Fiber has not only improve digestion but has also been associated in reducing the risk of having a heart disease like a possible heart attack, cardiovascular accident or stroke, and atherosclerosis by eliminating some of the bad cholesterol that might clog the veins and the arteries.
Why is eggplant a very healthy food for people trying to lose weight or battle the problems in obesity? Simple. Eggplants contains almost no fat or cholesterol.
The fiber contained in the vegetable is very filling that it inhibits the release of ghrelin. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells our minds that we are hungry again. The chances of eating too much than we can is greatly reduced due to the eggplant’s ability to fill us up and reduce our appetite. Thus, consuming eggplant regularly could make attempts in losing weight more successful.
Prevention of Cancer
The benefits that come from fiber are not the only thing that this vegetable can offer. It is also a good source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are one of the body’s best line of defense against a wide variety of diseases and different conditions.
Eggplants contain vitamin C. This vitamin plays a major part in boosting the immune system. It stimulates the production and the activity of white blood cells.
Eggplants also contain manganese that is a natural antioxidant and an essential.mineral. imagine the multitudes of vitamins and minerals found in eggplants like nasunin and chlorogenic acid. These are two organic antioxidants that are somewhat unique but still exhibits activities that are inhibitory against free radicals along with its antibacterial and antiviral activities.
Free radicals are the by-products of cellular metabolism that can attack the healthy cells. When they do, they deconstruct the DNA into cells that are potentially carcinogenic.
Having high levels of antioxidants in the body will help ensure that the different organ systems in the body are protected from the harmful diseases and infections like heart diseases and cancer.
Free radicals are partially responsible for neural degeneration and appearance of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Nasunin, an anthocyanin, has been specifically linked to the inhibiting damaging behavior in the brain. Many studies have focused mainly on the effects of nasunin on animals.
The antioxidant properties have the potential to fight against nasunin which in turn give an encouraging news to those people suffering from cognitive disorders.
Among the benefits the eggplant can offer is the improvement of bone health. Eggplants are very good for people that are at high risk for osteoporosis and degradation of the bone.
The unique colors of fruits and vegetables brought on by phenolic compounds. They are also associated to the increased bone mineral density, stronger bones, and the reduced signs of osteoporosis.
The vegetable also have significant amounts of calcium and iron, both of which are important for strength and bone health. The amount of potassium found in eggplants help in the uptake of calcium. This is the why the eggplants are comprehensive and very useful booster for bone health.
Anemia is a condition in which a person has fewer than normal red blood cells. It is characterized by depression, fatigue, migraines, headaches, and cognitive malfunction. Further, it is a deficiency in iron that can be very dangerous to health, in general.
Therefore, the intake of foods that is high in iron is important in order to battle against this condition. This is where eggplants become useful again because it contains a decent amount of iron. It is also very packed with copper that is an essential component in red blood cells just like iron. The red blood cell count will continue to decrease without these two minerals because they are being used perpetually. When the healthier red blood cells course through your veins, you will see an observable boost in energy and strength and would even eliminate the feeling of stress and fatigue.
Phytonutrients have been known to be boosters for the general mental health and cognitive activity. Phytonutrients can be found in eggplants. They don’t only defend against free radical activities keep you safe from toxins and diseases, they are also responsible for increasing the blood flow to the brain. When there is more oxygen- rich blood delivered to the brain, it will stimulate the development of neural pathways and boost the powers of analytical thinking and memory.
The potassium that can be found in eggplants is acting not only as brain booster but also as a vasodilator. This is why this vegetable should definitely be dubbed as a ‘brain food’.
There have been a lot of benefits mentioned above brought on by eggplant including the mention of fiber earlier. remember that fiber have been known to to reduce the presence of bad cholesterol in the body. This will then stimulate the uptake of the good cholesterol.
The food that we eat is the reason why the balance of cholesterol is always fluctuating in our body but the more HDL we have means a good thing. Reducing the LDL cholesterol is wise in order to prevent strokes, heart attacks, and atherosclerosis. High-density lipoprotein or HDL is the good guys kind of cholesterol and the kind you would want to have while Low-density lipoprotein or LDL is the villain kind of cholesterol and the kind you want to keep away from.
Eggplants also contain bioflavonoids that help in the reduction of the blood pressure. This will decrease the strain and the stress in the cardiovascular system and greatly improves health and the heart’s durability.
Thanks to its low amount of carbohydrates and high content of fiber, eggplant is a good source for managing diabetes. The qualities of the vegetable makes it useful in regulating insulin and glucose activity inside the body. The body is not experiencing spikes and drastic plunges in the blood sugar when insulin levels are stable. The potentially dangerous effects that is brought by diabetes can be avoided.
Prevention of Birth Defects
Folates and folic acid.
For childbearing women. Folic acid acid protects the infant from neural tube defects that manifests in several ways and is particularly beneficial, as are folates being essential parts of any diet.
Therefore, expecting mothers are advised to increase the intake of their folic acid to account for the other dependent mouth inside them. Eggplants make for a very delicious and nutritious snack, and are very rich in folic acid. It is also a very good dietary addition to pregnant mothers.
What you need to remember:
Eggplants are a part of the nightshade family of vegetables known to cause somewhat severe allergic reactions.
Eggplants are not as common when it comes to being an allergen like bell peppers or tomatoes. Both are also considered as nightshade vegetables.
Nightshade vegetables like eggplants are part of the Solanaceae plant family of 2,000 different species. Among the main members of the family that you could be familiar with are potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. The common thing about them may not be visible in the meal plate they share the presence of two substances: calcitriol and alkaloids. It is important that you are these variety because they could cause severe allergic reactions.
The few foods to be in your diet should first be consulted to your doctor before taking a large quantity and observe the reaction of the body with it.
People often make the mistake of cooking by frying the eggplants. This maybe a delicious way to cook them but it defeats the purpose of the benefits that it brings to the table.
Frying them can cause you to gain weight and have a negative impact in heart conditions. They absorb a large number of fat in method of frying than baking. Baking the eggplants will hold the nutrients in and a good way to prepare them. This will not add any unnecessary negative factors such as excess fats.
This vegetable is undeniably one of the best ways in keeping oneself live a healthy and nutritious life.