Eggplants, also known as aubergines are considered a vegetable though they are technically a fruit. They come in a variety of sizes and colours. The ones with dark purple skin are the most common but they also can also be red, green, or even black. They bring a unique texture and mild flavour to recipes and have a host of health benefits to boot.
Benefits of eggplants
High in antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances that help protect the body from damage caused by harmful substances known as free radicals. In this way, antioxidants prevent chronic diseases including heart disease and cancer.
Improve heart health
Eggplants improve heart health in a variety of ways. The antioxidants prevent heart disease. One study found that they lower LDL “bad” cholesterol and stimulate the uptake of HDL “good” cholesterol in the body. Reducing LDL “bad” cholesterol prevents heart attacks, strokes, and atherosclerosis.
Aid in diabetes management
The fibre in them slows down digestion and the absorption of sugar. This prevents sugar spikes and keeps sugar levels steady. The American Diabetic Association recommends it as a diet choice for the management of type 2 diabetes.
Aids in digestion
They are a good source of dietary fibre which works to bulk stool and encourage regular bowel movements. Fibre moves slowly through the digestive system which can promote the feeling of fullness and satiety. This reduces overeating and the need to snack between meals. This lowers caloric intake and can aid in weight loss.
Aid in anaemia management
Including eggplant in meals can be beneficial for people with anaemia. The iron and copper in it improve the health of red blood cells which assist in improving the health of red blood cells within the bloodstream.
Improve bone health
They have potassium and calcium which work together to enhance general bone health and strength. Potassium aids in the absorption of calcium which is essential for maintaining bone strength. Iron also plays a key role in bone health.
Improves brain function
Eggplants are a rich source of phytonutrients. These nutrients are believed to boost cognitive activity and general mental health. They protect the brain by defending against free radicals and increasing blood flow to the brain.
Promotes skin and hair health
Vitamin C in them helps promote healthy and youthful skin while preventing premature signs of ageing including wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, and saggy skin. The anti-inflammatory properties also minimize the symptoms of different skin conditions including eczema and dermatitis.
May prevent birth defects
They are a rich source of folic acid which makes them ideal for pregnant women. Adequate amounts of folic acid is known to protect infants from neural tube defects.
Ways to eat eggplant
Eggplants are versatile. You can roast, bake, steam, or sauté them. You are advised against frying them because while that may be a delicious way to consume them, it is incredibly unhealthy. When fried, they absorb large amounts of fat and counteract the health benefits you stand to gain. Baking is recommended instead because the eggplant retains many of the nutrients and is overall healthier.