Eggplant is a vegetable that can offer: a large number of antioxidants, special phytonutrients, including phenolic compounds and flavonoids such as nasunin, as well as numerous vitamins and minerals. You get all these benefits of eggplant consumption at a low calorie count – just 25 calories per 100 grams of raw eggplant and 35 calories per 100 grams in cooked eggplants. Such a low calorie eggplant is due to the high fiber and water content in these vegetables.
Eggplant, a member of the Solanaceae plant family, has a rich dark purple hue. Eggplant is considered a very valuable vegetable because of the many antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins, which provide the eggplant with such a deep dark color.
Researchers still continue to study the health benefits and effects of eggplant. However, for many thousands of years, people eat eggplant as part of a healthy, traditional Middle Eastern and Mediterranean diet. Today it is usually eaten in places such as France, Italy, Australia, Israel, Egypt, the United States.
Typically, eggplant is used in cooked (boiled, stewed, baked) form.
Fortunately, scientists have discovered that cooked eggplants strengthen and multiply the nutrients they contain.
Culinary processing of eggplant leads to the fact that antioxidants become more digestible, and the biological activity of other beneficial compounds increases precisely due to the thermal effect.
What is the uniqueness of eggplant and the difference from other vegetables
Eggplants are not the richest vegetables for healthy compounds, compared to superfoods such as berries or legumes. However, eggplant contains a very rare and extremely beneficial type of antioxidant known as nasunin. Nasunin is a type of anthocyanin antioxidant that is present in all varieties of eggplant.
Nasunin is one of the key factors that determine healthy eggplant properties. Nasunin, like other antioxidants, has the ability to deal with damage to the body caused by free radicals, which are often the cause of the development of the disease and aging of human organs. Most of the nasunin present in eggplant is contained in its purple shell, so it is important to eat eggplant with peel in order to get all the health benefits that eggplant can give.
According to studies, nasunin is a powerful anti-inflammatory drug and a cure for body oxidation, acting as an oxygen scavenger. It also helps to convert iron to a chelated form, which helps protect against lipid oxidation. The chelated form of iron is better able to be absorbed by the body, as well as bind molecules with toxic metal agents such as mercury, arsenic and lead, which can then be removed from the body, which leads to detoxification.
Nasunin has been proven to protect DNA and cell membranes from oxidative stress and damage due to its positive effect on cell walls ( 1 ). Nasunin has the ability to protect the fatty (or lipid) layer of the cell membrane, which preserves the integrity of its structure and prevents mutation or cell death.
Nasunin in eggplant helps cells get and use healthy nutrients from food, as well as remove harmful substances. Without enough antioxidants such as nasunin present in the body, toxins and waste accumulate and can lead to many diseases, including cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and more.
Nutrition Facts of Eggplant
100 grams of cooked eggplant contains:
Calorie content : 35 kcal
Fiber : 5 gr.
Sugar : 3 gr.
Protein : 1 gr.
Fat : 0 gr.
Carbohydrates : 8 gr.
Manganese : 6%
Vitamin K : 4%
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) : 4%
Vitamin B6 : 4%
Folate : 3%
Magnesium : 3%
Potassium : 3%
Copper : 3%
Eggplant Health Benefits
We highlight six scientifically proven health benefits of eggplant
1. Eggplant helps protect the body from cancer
It is believed that there are 13 types of protective phenolic acids present in significant quantities in eggplant. Different types of eggplant have different levels of antioxidants and phytonutrients, but they all have similar qualities in their ability to fight cancer.
Eggplant contains healthy nasunin in addition to many other phytonutrients, such as chlorogenic acid. Chlorogenic acid is found in the cell walls of some plants and is known to be very useful in the fight against free radicals, which also provoke the formation of cancer cells, which leads to tumor growth. It is believed that choleorgenic acid, in addition to its anti-mutagenic and antitumor effects, acts as an antimicrobial, anti-LDL (bad cholesterol), as well as an antiviral agent, which means that it protects against various levels of inflammation and the development of diseases.
2. Eggplant helps lower high cholesterol
Studies have shown that eggplant can be good for heart health because of its ability to fight inflammation and oxidative stress, leading to healthier arteries and more balanced cholesterol levels ( 2 ).
Eggplant use has been shown to support healthy blood cholesterol levels because of the ability of phytonutrients to improve blood circulation and reduce plaque buildup in major arteries, including the aorta. While your body needs a certain amount of cholesterol, eggplants establish the optimal balance that is held in the walls of blood vessels and improves blood flow. Studies have shown that eggplant contains strong cardioprotective compounds that enhance the function of the left ventricle (one of the main blood vessels of the heart) and reduce apoptosis ( 3 ).
3. Eggplant is good for digestion
Eggplants are mostly water, so they have so few calories. Consuming vegetables high in water, fiber, and nutrients helps flush out waste and toxins from the digestive tract. The digestive tract and colon must be well hydrated to push stools through the intestines and out of the body.
Eating large amounts of fresh whole foods in addition to consuming enough water is critical for the digestive system to displace toxins and excess water. Thanks to these well-known benefits, eggplant is included in many diets for diseases of the digestive system, neurological problems, inflammatory processes and autoimmune conditions.
Thanks to healthy dietary fiber and water, eggplant is also a very good product in the process of losing weight to lose weight. Eggplants provide many vital phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, and are low in calories – which is why they are a great addition to any low-calorie healthy diet. Fiber in eggplant helps to feel full, which helps not to consume excess foods during weight loss.
4. Eggplant contains a lot of manganese
Most likely, this is a previously unknown useful property of eggplant. The fact is that only 100 grams of cooked eggplant provide about 5% of your daily manganese needs. Manganese is a mineral that is naturally found in small amounts in the body, so the rest of the dose should be obtained from healthy foods. Manganese acts as an antioxidant, searches for free radicals and eliminates them from causing bodily harm and oxidative stress.
Manganese contributes to the formation of a healthy bone structure, as it directly affects the mineralization and metabolism of bones. This is necessary in order to properly metabolize and use calcium and create the necessary enzymes for the formation of strong bones.
In addition, manganese helps in the metabolic activity in our body, the formation of connective tissues and the regulation of hormone levels, which are crucial for reproductive health and the fight against infertility. It also plays a role in regulating healthy thyroid function, fighting depression, and helps control blood sugar.
5. Eggplant – a good source of energy, stimulating the production of B vitamins
Eggplant is a good source of vitamin B1 and vitamin B6, two vitamins that are involved in metabolism and stimulate the production of energy and the rest of the complex of vitamins of group B. Vitamins B are water-soluble, found in many vegetables and other foods and are necessary to maintain healthy energy levels, brain function, metabolism, heart health and concentration.
They are also needed by the body to absorb all the nutrients from the foods you eat, to convert fats and carbohydrates into usable “fuels” to support the body.
Vitamin B6 is needed to create amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Amino acids are used for numerous body functions and without a sufficient number of them problems can arise, including lack of energy, inflammation of the skin, anemia, depression, chronic fatigue and nutritional deficiencies.
Vitamin B6 is also involved in the formation of hemoglobin (which carries oxygen to the blood), neurotransmitters (which help control your mood), and also regulate blood glucose levels. Vitamin B1, another type found in eggplant, is used to maintain a healthy metabolism, blood and heart, brain function and so on.
6. Eggplant can help prevent skin cancer
Scientists extracted the extract from the peel of an eggplant and found out that this highly concentrated cream is able to fight skin cancer. This cream contains a 10% concentration of solasodine ramanosiliglycosides (solasodine rhamnosyl glycosides), which have been clinically proven as an effective treatment for several types of skin cancer: keratosis, basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas ( 4 ).
Eggplant is believed to have been used this way for thousands of years and is an effective treatment for malignant and benign skin diseases.
Digestion problems. Eggplant is one of the vegetables in the Solanaceae family. Other vegetables in this family include tomatoes , bell peppers and various types of potatoes. Solanaceae vegetables are known to cause digestive problems in some people.
Kidney stones and arthritis. The dark color of eggplant also means that these vegetables contain a lot of oxalic acid, which is associated with an increased risk of kidney stones and arthritis in some people. For this reason, if you have a predisposition to these diseases, it is best not to eat eggplants and other vegetables that contain a lot of oxalic acid in your diet.
Allergy. There are studies proving that eggplant can cause allergies in some people. As a rule, these are people who react negatively to all vegetables in the nightshade family ( 5 ).
So, in this article we examined the scientific facts about the benefits and harms of eggplant. Of course, the beneficial properties of eggplant in many ways surpass the possible harm from their use. However, if you have certain conditions, such as an allergy to nightshade or kidney disease, you are advised to refrain from consuming these vegetables. For everyone else – eggplant can be a great addition to a healthy diet!