Eggplants are a glossy, purple vegetable that can grow to a rather large size. Though they are technically a fruit, they do have seeds, and thus are used as a vegetable when cooking. These lovely veggies can come in other colors as well, from red to yellow to striped; however, the purple variety is the most popular in supermarkets.
Eggplants aren’t powerhouses of nutrition like some other fruits or vegetables. However, they are still very good for you and can be a great part of a balanced, healthy diet. They have a good amount of potassium, folate, magnesium, copper, manganese, niacin, fiber and several vitamins. In addition, the caloric content of eggplants is very low, making it an excellent choice for those who want to lose weight or follow a low-calorie diet.
Eggplant offers many benefits beyond being a great diet food. These are some of the great benefits when eating eggplant.
- Cancer Prevention. Studies have shown that the fiber in eggplant can help with your digestive system, which in turn can help prevent or treat colon cancer. This is because the eggplant has a tendency to absorb toxins as it moves through your body, thus leaving you healthier than you were before you ate it. Remember that the skin of the eggplant contains even more fiber than the eggplant itself, so leave the skin on.
- Weight Loss. The fiber in eggplant can help you feel full longer, and that can lead to eating less. Besides that, eggplant has very few calories, so it fills you up without making you feel deprived. These things combine to lead to weight loss, especially if you add eggplant to a diet that is already low in calories and fat. Just remember that fried eggplant, no matter how good it tastes, might have too much fat to help you lose weight!
- Skin Tone. The way you look goes back to the old adage, “you are what you eat.” When you eat eggplant, your skin is reaping the benefits of the water, nutrients and minerals in eggplant. As a result, your skin is clearer and smoother.
- Heart Protector. Eggplant nutrition plays a role in fighting cholesterol levels, relaxing the blood vessels and helping the heart pump more efficiently. Eggplant also contains phytonutrients that are helpful in preventing heart attack or stroke.
- Mind Health. In fact, those phytonutrients help more than the heart – they help the brain too. These nutrients combat free radicals, which can affect your body in all sorts of negative ways. This brain food helps you think clearly and might even reduce stress.
- Good Digestion. Eggplant is loaded with fiber and water, and that means your digestive system will be in better shape. Besides that, the numerous antioxidants in eggplant can help prevent certain cancers or digestive issues.
- Iron Level Balancer. Worried about your iron levels? If you have too much iron in your body, eggplant can help remove it. It does so through nasunin, a nutrient that has the ability to remove iron when it passes out of the body. On the other hand, if you have low iron, you might want to avoid eggplant until your iron levels come up.
- Healthy Hair and Nails. Remember that high water content, great amounts of fiber and all the nutrients and minerals in eggplant? This nutrition means that your hair and nails benefit just as much as your skin does. You can stay well-hydrated and nourished with eggplant as a part of your diet, and you get the bonus of a veggie that fights against the development of skin cancers.
- Help with Quitting Smoking. If you smoke, here’s good news: eggplant contains small amounts of nicotine, and so it can help cut the cravings as you cut back on the smokes. It isn’t enough nicotine to hurt you if you don’t smoke, however, so don’t let this little fact stop you from enjoying as much eggplant as you want!
Considerations of Eating Eggplants
Even a good thing like eggplant can have some problems. Here are a few things to consider when you are eating eggplant.
Eggplant can be prepared in a wide variety of ways, including steaming, grilling, frying, baking and sautéing. It also makes an excellent protein substitute in some of your favorite dishes. It can even stand in for the meat in a burger! But be warned that when you do use this to replace protein-rich foods, you should add other protein into your diet, such as lentils or cheese.
Eggplant might actually hurt you if you have kidney or gallbladder problems. That’s because eggplant contains oxalates, an organic acid. While most people are okay with this, those with kidney or gallbladder problems should avoid it, as well as beets and spinach.