Eggplants, also known as aubergine, have been grown and eaten around the world for thousands of years. They were originally cultivated throughout China and around the Mediterranean around 500 CE. Europe adopted the plant in the Middle Ages and moved to North America with the early colonies.
Eggplants grow similarly to a tomato. The eggplant bush grows several feet in height, flowers, and then bares fruit. Eggplants are a member of the nightshade family. Because of this, they aren’t tolerated well by everyone, but if you can handle these bitter veggies then you’re looking to experience many health benefits.
There are a number of allergen proteins in the plant. While they don’t affect everyone, they can cause upset stomachs, headaches, skin irritations, and other allergic symptoms. Be mindful if you are trying eggplant for the first time. While it has many health benefits, you may be allergic.
Eggplants are mostly water, with a few carbs, most of which are fibre. Eggplant nutrition includes a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper. It is also a great source of dietary fibre, folate, potassium and manganese.
Eggplants offer a good variety of B vitamins. These are crucial as they are needed to help your body absorb nutrients, and break down fat and carbs for energy.
Eggplants are a great source of a rare antioxidant called nasunin. It has been shown to have a significant improvement on oxidant stress in rats and is believed to have similar effects on humans. The nasunin is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound. It can protect DNA and cells from oxidative stress and damage. This can lower your risk of everything from cancer to dementia, to heart disease.
Eggplant has an evener richer nutritional profile once cooked. While the nutrient levels are shown to be higher in cooked eggplant, studies haven’t shown increased cardio health benefits from eating cooked eggplant compared to raw. Either way, it provides your body with many nutrients and fights inflammation.
One study found that eggplants can reduce oxidative stress in the heart and bloodstream. While this study was conducted on rats, there is a good evidence to suggest that eggplant nutrition could result in healthier arteries, cholesterol, and overall cardiovascular health in humans.
While the vitamin and mineral levels in eggplants are low, they are important. This wide selection and micronutrients and antioxidants provide many health benefits. If you’re not allergic to eggplant then this may be a great whole food to add to your diet.