Eggplant (USA, Autralia, New Zealand, anglophone Canada), aubergine (UK, Ireland, Quebec) or brinjal (South Asia, South Africa) is a plant species in the nightshade family Solanaceae. Solanum melongena is grown worldwide for its edible fruit.
Eggplant is a non-starchy, or low-carb vegetable. A one cup portion, about the size of a baseball, contains just 5 grams of carb, and just 2.5 grams net carb. In addition to supporting digestive health and bowel regularity, eggplant fibers helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, and supports weight loss by boosting fullness. It also makes a great filler when cutting back on other higher carb foods.
Eggplants are member of the nightshade family, which also includes tomatoes, bell peppers, and potatoes. Tom Brady famously avoids this group, due to compounds they contain called alkaloids, which are linked to inflammation . If you have an existing inflammatory condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, avoiding nightshades may help to not exacerbate your symptoms. But there is no solid research to show that nightshade cause inflammatory condition to develop.
It’s also important to know that steaming, boiling, and baking all help reduce the alkaloid content of nightshades by about 40% to 50%. In addition, you lose out on the anti-inflammatory antioxidants and other nutrients nightshade provide when you avoid the entire group. If you have chronic inflammation consider trying an experiment. Without making any other changes to your diet, cut out nightshades for two to four four weeks and monitor your symptoms. If you notice a difference, and symptom return after adding them back to your diet, minimizing or avoiding them may be for you.
RICH IN MANY NUTRUENTS
Eggplants are a nutrient-dense food, meaning they contain a good amount of vitamins, minerals and fiber in few calories.
One cup (82 grams) of raw eggplant contains the following nutrient:
●Carbs: 5 grams
●Fiber: 3 grams
●Protein: 1 gram
●Manganese: 10% of the RDI
●Folate: 5% of the RDI
●Potassium: 5% of the RDI
●Vitamin K: 4% of the RDI
●Vitamin C: 3% of the RDI
Eggplants also contain small amounts of other nutrients, including niacin, magnesium, and copper.
HIGH IN ANTIOXIDANTS
In addition to containing a variety of vitamins and minerals, eggplants boast a high number of antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that help protect the body from damage caused by harmful substances known as free radicals.
Studies have shown that antioxidants could help prevent many types of chronic disease, such as heart disease and cancer.
Eggplants are especially rich in anthocyanins, a type of pigment with antioxidant properties that’s responsible for their vibrant color. In particular, an anthocyanins in eggplants called nasunin is especially beneficial.
In fact, multiple test-tube studies have confirmed that it’s effective at protecting cells against damage from harmful free radicals.
MAY REDUCE THE RISK OF HEART DISEASE
To their antioxidant content, some studies suggest that eggplant may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
In one study, rabbits with high cholesterol were given 0.3 ounces (10 ml) of eggplant juice daily for two weeks. At the end of the study, they had lower levels of both LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, two blood markers that can lead to an increased risk of heart disease when elevated.
Other studies have demonstrated that eggplants may have a protective effect on the heart.
In one study, animals were fed raw or grilled eggplant for 30 days. Both types improved heart function and reduced heart attact severity.
While these results are promising, it’s important to note that current research is limited to animal and test-tube studies. Further research is needed to evaluate how eggplants may affect heart health in humans.
MAY PROMOTE BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL
Adding eggplants to your diet may help keep your blood sugar in check. This is primarily because eggplants are higher in fiber, which passes through the digestive system intact.
Fiber can lower blood sugar by slowing the rate of digestion and absorption of sugar in the body. Slower absorption keeps blood sugar levels steady and prevents spikes and crashes.
Other research suggest that polyphenol, or natural plant compounds, found in cook like eggplant may reduce sugar absorption and increase insulin secretion, both of which can help lower blood sugar.
One test-tube study looked at polyphenol-enriched extracts of eggplant. It showed that they could reduce levels of specific enzymes that influence sugar absorption, helping reduce blood sugar.
Eggplants fit well into current dietary recommendations for controlling diabetes, which include a high-fiber diet rich in whole grains and vegetables
COULD HELP WITH WEIGHT LOSS
Eggplants are high in fiber and low in calories, making them an excellent addition to any weight loss regimen. Fiber moves through the digestive tract slowly and can promote fullness and satiety, reducing calorie intake.
Each cup (82 grams) of raw eggplant contains 3 gram of fiber and just 20 calories.
Additionally, eggplants are often used as a high-fiber, low-calorie replacement for higher -calorie ingredients in recipes.
MAY HAVE CANCER-FIGHTING BENEFITS
Eggplant contains several substances that show potential in fighting cancer cells.
For instance, solasodine rhamnosyl glycosides (SRGs) are a type of compound found in some nightshade plants, including eggplant. Some animal studies have shown that SRGs could cause the death of cancer cells and may also help reduce the recurrence of certain types of cancer.
Though research on the topic is limited, SRGs have been shown to be especially effective against skin cancer when applied directly to the skin.
Furthermore, several studies have found that eating more fruit and vegetables, such as eggplant, may protect against certain types of cancer.
One review looking at approximately 200 studies found that eating fruits and vegetables was associated with protection against pancreatic, stomach, colorectal, bladder, cervical and breast cancer.
Eggplant contains fiber, and this may benefit cholesterol levels. A cup of cooked eggplant cubes, weighing 96 grams (g), contains around 2.4 g of fiber.
Results of a 2014 study in rodents indicated that chlorogenic acid, a primary antioxidant in eggplants, may decrease levels of low density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol and reduce the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Dietary fiber can help people manage their weight. A person who follows a high-fiver diet is less likely to overeat, as fiber can help a person feel fuller for longer. Eggplants contain fiber and are low in calories – they can contribute to a healthful, low-calorie diet.
However, eggplant can absorb a lot of oil during frying. Anyone looking to lose weight should prepare it a different way, such as by grilling or air-frying it.
The fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and antioxidants in eggplants all support heart health. A review published in 2019 suggested that eating fooda containing certain flavonoids, including anthocyanins, helps reduce inflammatory markers that increase the risk of heart disease.
In another investigation, researchers concluded that women with a high intake of anthocyanins appeared to have significantly lower blood pressure and less stiffening of the arteries than those who ate fewer of these compounds.
The polyphenols in eggplant may help protect the body from cancer. Anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. In the long term, this may help prevent tumor growth and the spread of cancer cells.
Anthocyanins may help achieve this by preventing new blood vessels from forming in the tumor, reducing inflammation, and blocking the enzymes that help cancer cells spread.
Findings of animal studies suggest that nasunin, an anthocyanins in eggplant skin, may help protect brain cell membranes from damage caused by free radicals. Nasunin also helps transport nutrients into cells and move waste out.
Anthocyanins also help prevent neuroinflammation and facilitate blood flow to the brain. This could help prevent memory loss and other aspects of age-related mental decline. Lab experiments have indicated that nasunin may reduce the breakdown of fats in the brain, a process that can cause cell damage.
Eggplant also contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.
Lutein appears to play a role in eye health, and it may help prevent age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to vision loss in older people.
References: healthline.com / medicalnewstoday.com