Eggplant, aubergine or brinjal, is a fruit endowed with many health benefits. It is used in relieving constipation, improving cardiovascular health, promoting digestive health, and preventing cancer. It helps prevent neural tube defects and improve overall brain function. Also, it is a perfect food for those who want to lose weight.
Botanical name: Solanum melongena
Others names: Brinjal, Guinea squash, Aubergine.
Eggplant is the fruit of Solanum melongena plant, an annual herbaceous plant of the botanical family Solanaceae. Eggplants varie from purple, yellow, green, red, to white in color. In shape, they come as oval, round or elongated like banana, or as small as an egg. Despite all these variations in shape and color, they still possess a common characteristic, that is, the whitish color of their flesh and seeds.
Eggplant is endowed with quality amount of nutrients. Its flesh contains little amounts of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It has some significant content of dietary fiber. In terms of vitamins, it contains reasonable amounts of vitamin C and B-group vitamins. Minerals are also not left out, as potassium, sulfur, manganese and iron are present in eggplant in significant amounts.
Eggplant is used mainly in culinary preparations. Raw fruits have a somewhat bitter taste, while cooked ones become somewhat tender and flavorful. All of eggplant is edible, including its seeds and thin skin. The texture and bulkiness of this fruit makes it to be a perfect substitute for meat in the vegans and vegetarians cuisines.
Eggplant is an integral part of the cuisines of almost all people and cultures around the world. In India, it is used in preparation of dishes such as sambar, dalma, and achaar. In Bangladesh, it is used to prepare a popular dish known as begun-pora. In France, it is often stewed to make ratatouille. The Italians use it to prepare parmigiana di melanzane, while the Turks use it to prepare Karnıyarık. In Spain, it is part of a popular dish called escalivada.
9 Impressive benefits and medicinal uses of eggplants
- Prevents cancer
- Aids weight loss
- Promotes digestion
- Relieves constipation
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Prevents neural tube defects
- Controls diabetes
- Boosts cognitive function
- Fights anemia.
Investigations conducted recently have shown that fruits from the botanical family Solanaceae such as eggplant, contains rich amounts of phytochemicals which help protect against the formation of cancer.
A research carried out recently (2017), evaluated the effect of eggplant skin on the apoptosis or death of cancer cells. The results found eggplant skin extracts to positively enhance the process of cancer-cell apoptosis. The study went further to suggest how extracts from the skin of this wonderful fruit can be used in the production of stomach cancer drugs.
Most scientific studies have attributed the anti-cancer potential of eggplant to its rich content of antioxidants. Antioxidants such as vitamin C helps boost the immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells, and fighting foreign invaders.
Another important antioxidant found in eggplants is nasunin, which also helps fight cancer and aging. Nasunin does this by limiting the activity of free radicals in our body. This free radicals which are the by-products of cellular metabolism, are responsible for most cancerous growths.
Eggplant should be among your weight loss plans if you are looking to get a list of wonderful foods that can help. One – It provides little amount of calories. Two – It contains very small, if not negligible amount of fats or cholesterol. Three – It contains significant amount of fiber. Four- That’s enough! I’m stopping here.
Eggplant is just perfect for a person looking to shed off some weight. Little amount of calories plus lack of fat is a great advantage. Also, the fiber content keeps one going, as it provides a feeling of satiety. This reduces your chances of eating too much food, as you eat less, and feel entirely full.
Eggplants are rich in fiber, which is necessary for the proper digestion of food materials and movement of bowel. It adds some bulk to our stool, so that it can pass through the intestinal tract more easily, through stimulating peristaltic action – the contraction of disgestive tract muscles that push stool out of the body. During digestion, fiber stimulate the production of digestive juices which improves breakdown and assimilation of foods.
Also, eggplant helps promote biliary function, as well as the production of pancreatic juice. This is why many people recommend it in cases where there is a need for an effective biliary action, such as those suffering from biliary dyspepsia or slow digestion.
In general, this wonderful fruit is considered as a great digestive tonic. Its consumption can help eliminate your digestion problems, while improving your entire health.
Eggplant as an effective laxative, helps stop constipation. This is due to its high vegetable fiber content which helps stimulate the flow of feces down the colon. In addition to fiber, eggplant contains water in about 92% of its weight. So, if you are looking to stop that hard-to-pass stool that can complicate further to cause hemorrhoids or pile, then eggplant might be that savior you have been looking for.
Eggplants are a great food for cardiovascular health. Their consumption can help improve the overall functioning of your heart. This has been validated by scientific studies. A research carried out by Das S and his colleagues, evaluated the cardioprotective properties of raw and cooked eggplants in animals.
Interestingly, their results showed consumption of raw eggplant to improve heart function by increasing left ventricular function, and reducing myocardial infarct size and cardiomyocyte apoptosis. However, raw eggplants demonstration a better cardioproctective property than the grilled ones.
Also, eggplant consumption is considered beneficial for those suffering from hypertension. This is due to its diuretic effect. It can help your kidney get rid of extra salt and water from the body through increased urine output. This makes your blood pressure to decrease significantly because of the reduced water and salt content in your blood vessels.
Apart from hypertension, the diuretic effect of this wonderful fruit makes its consumption appropriate in cases of edema or fluid retention.
Neural tube defects
Eggplants are a rich source of folic acid or folates, which have been associated with neural tube defects. Lack of this vitamin in a prospective mother can predispose her child to neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly.
If you want your child to be free from this dangerous disorders, then having some folates in your body prior to conception is very important. This is because neural tube defects happen in the first month of pregnancy, even before knowing you are pregnant in most cases. And one way to get those folates is through eggplant consumption.
Including this wonderful fruit in your diet may help control your blood glucose level. This primarily, might be due to its richness in fiber, which helps keep blood sugar level in check through slowing down the release of glucose into the bloodstream. This slow release, helps prevent spikes in blood sugar level.
There are many scientific studies that have proved the effect of fiber in reducing blood glucose, while also suggesting it to the diabetics. Here’s a research that is a wonderful addition to the piling evidences for use of fiber against diabetes. You might want to have a look here.
Many other scientific studies have also associated polyphenols (eggplants are rich in polyphenols) with increased insulin secretion and reduced sugar absorption, both of which can help the diabetics.
Many scientific studies have revealed the nasunin content of eggplant to protect the brain cells from free radical damage – due to its antioxidant effect. Nasunin, which is an anthocyanin, prevents neuroinflammation, and also increases blood flow to the most complex organ in the body, the brain (1).
Also, eggplants contain significant amounts of potassium, a mineral which boosts brain function. It achieves this by increasing the amount of oxygen that gets to your brain. Also, you shouldn’t forget that potassium is a great vasodilator. One of the signs of low potassium in the body is a sluggishness in thinking or lack of concentration – a “brain fog”. This shows how important potassium is to the healthy functioning of your brain. And eggplant contains it in significant amounts. Foods such as bananas, avocados, peas, and sweet potatoes are richer sources of this mineral than eggplant.
Eggplants are considered a great food for the anemics. This is because they contain significant amounts of both iron and copper. This two minerals are equally very important in the production of red blood cells. When they are deficient, a condition known as iron-deficiency anemia might arise. Without these two minerals, the red blood cells in a person’s body will keep decreasing since they are constantly being used up. On the average, red blood cells live for about 120 days.
As an anemic, or one who’s willing to prevent anemia, adding eggplant to your diet might do wonders. Although these minerals (iron and copper) are not present in extraordinary amounts, the little to reasonable quantity present might do away with some of this disease symptoms such as fatigue and stress, while increasing your red blood cell count.