The eggplant, or we can also call it an: aubergine, garden egg, guinea squash, melongene or brinjal, is usually known by its signature egg-like shape and vibrant purple colour.

However, they come in a variety of shapes and colours from small and oblong to long and skinny, from shades of purple to white and green.

Eggplants belong to the nightshade family of vegetables, which also includes tomatoes and potatoes. They grow hanging from the vines of a plant (such as tomatoes) that might grow several feet in height.

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This vegetable is low in calories – just 20 calories per cup, mostly from carbohydrates, a potent source of energy.

All eggplants, no matter the size, colour or shape, contain many beneficial nutrients and phytochemical compounds that benefit human health.

They come loaded with vitamins and minerals, but their health benefits extend beyond just adding vital nutrients to a meal. Eggplant contains other compounds that help to prevent cancer and lowering cholesterol.

Nutritional breakdown

100g Raw Eggplant

Energy: 25kcal Vitamins (% of RDA) Minerals
Protein: 0.98g B1 (Thiamine) 3% Calcium 9mg
Carbohydrate: 5.88g B2 (Riboflavin) 3% Iron 0.23mg
Fat: 0.18g B3 (Niacin) 4% Magnesium 14mg
Fibre: 3g B5 (Pantothenic acid) 6% Manganese 0.232mg
B6 (Pyridoxine) 6% Phosphorus 24mg
B9 (Folate) 6% Potassium 229mg
Vitamin C 3% Zinc 0.16mg
Vitamin E 2% Copper 0.15mg
Vitamin K 3%

Also contains anti-oxidants such as anthocyanins, chlorogenic acid and polyphenols,

Health benefits

The aubergine has many health benefits and as we can see above contains lots of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants.

It helps to prevent heart disease and the above mentioned cancer, also helps to maintain healthy cognitive function as it protects the cell membranes of the brain, and reduces blood cholesterol levels.

Many of the nutritional benefits gained from consuming eggplants are obtained from the skin of the vegetable so do not throw it away. The skin is full of potassium, magnesium, fiber and antioxidants.

Prevent heart disease

The fiber, potassium, vitamin C and K, vitamin B6, bioflavonoids and phytonutrient content in eggplants all support heart health.

are eggplants healthy_3Studies show that consumption of anthocyanins (a type of flavonoids) lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and also found that increased intake of anthocyanins was associated with significantly lower blood pressure.

The heart-healthy benefits of eggplant do not end here. Regular consumption of aubergine helps prevent blood clots, thanks to Vitamin K and bioflavonoids, which strengthen the capillaries.

Cancer prevention

Its phenolic content makes it such a potent free radical scavenger and these polyphenols have anti-cancer effects.

Anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid protect body cells from damage caused by free radicals and, in turn, prevent tumor growth and spread of cancer cells.

They also stimulate detoxifying enzymes within cells and promote cancer cell death. These two antioxidants are also anti-inflammatory compounds.

The eggplant is within the top 10 vegetables in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity.

Lower blood cholesterol levels

Animal studies show that eggplant juice consumption significantly decreased cholesterol level and helped losing bodyweight in rabbits with high cholesterol level.

are eggplants healthy_4The above mentioned chlorogenic acid has been shown to decrease LDL levels, and also serves as an antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-carcinogenic agent.

Protects brain cell membranes

Aubergine skin also contains nasunin, a powerful antioxidant, that protects brain cells from free radical damage. This anti-radical agent also helps facilitate the transport of nutrients into the cell and wastes out.

Research has also shown that anthocyanins inhibit neuroinflammation and facilitate blood flow to the brain. This helps prevent age-related mental disorders and also improves memory.

Concerns

The oxalates

Oxalates are naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings and the eggplant contains measurable amounts of them.

It only can cause problem if you have existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems because when oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystalize.

For this reason you may want to avoid eating eggplant.

Studies have shown that oxalates may also interfere with absorption of calcium from the body but the ability of oxalates to lower calcium absorption is relatively small and definitely does not outweigh the ability of oxalate-containing foods to contribute calcium to the meal plan.

If your digestive tract is healthy, and you do a good job of chewing and relaxing while you enjoy your meals, you will get significant benefits -including absorption of calcium – from calcium-rich foods plant foods that also contain oxalic acid.

Conclusion

More or less everybody should eat eggplant because it is very healthy and nutritious. It supports and protects the body’s central control system – the brain.

Least but not last helps our body to fight against the free radicals and cancer which is very important in these days when pollution is everywhere. Even cell phones – wireless systems can harm us on a daily basis or 24/7 and I’ve not even mentioned the household chemicals.

Eating only eggplant cannot replace a healthy diet but if you already eat healthy, simply boost it up with aubergine to get more benefit.

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