The eggplant is an ingenious plant food. There are many benefits of eggplants. In fact, there are more benefits of eating eggplant than you may think. In addition, the eggplant is perfect for you if you are a vegetarian or vegan. This is because you can prepare it in so many ways - from barbecuing, frying or simply putting it in the oven.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about the benefits of eating eggplant. This includes the nutritional value of the eggplant, health benefits of eating eggplant, as well as healthy eggplant recipes. As a bonus, we will also include vegan eggplant recipes. Now, let’s get right into it! But first, let’s get a bit of general information on the eggplant!
What is an eggplant?
The eggplant is an egg-like vegetable with a unique shape and color. Many compare the shape to an egg, hence the name! The color is mostly a vibrant and darker purple color. One may confuse the eggplant at times as it has many names. The eggplant is also known as a garden egg, aubergine, melongene, guinea squash or brinjal! These terms can be used interchangeably and vary depending on which country you are in.
However, the eggplant also varies in shape and color around the world. As mentioned above, they are mostly purple and egg-shaped. Depending on the type of eggplant you have in your own country, you will find them either thinner or thicker. You may also find them to be smaller or bigger. In addition, the color may also vary from solely being purple. You will also find them in several shades of green and white.
Generally speaking, there are two types of eggplants, though. The first is the Asian eggplant. They are round, long and thin. They are also those which have the wider color range from purple, green and white. The western eggplant, however, is plumper and is dark purple. Some may even say they are almost black! They are available any time throughout the year. However, their peak season is usually during summer times!
The eggplant is great as it is very rich in fiber. In addition, it is also very low on calories. This is why it is a great option for those on a diet! It also provides us with a high amount of different nutrients. You will often find them in a Mediterranean diet, such as Greek food!
Now, let's have a look at the nutritional value of eggplants, shall we?
Benefits of eggplants: Nutritional value of eggplants
There are many health benefits of eggplants. This is because they have such a high nutritional value. In addition, they taste fantastic as well! A single cup of raw eggplant only contains 21 calories. In addition, the same cup also only contains 4.8 grams of carbohydrates. The best part about the low carb amount? Over half of them come from fiber. To be exact, 2.9 grams of the 4.8 grams!
Below you will find a detailed overview of the nutritional value of eggplants based on a 2000 calorie diet! After that, we will begin talking about the health benefits of eggplants!
Overview of the nutritional value of eggplants
Serving size: 1 cup of raw eggplant cubes of approximately 82g
Calories from fat: 1
Total fat: 0.1g
Saturated fat 0g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1g
Monounsaturated fat: 0g
Dietary fiber: 2.9g
Vitamin A: 0%
Vitamin C: 3%
Healthy benefits of eggplants - general overview
As you can see above, eggplants are of very high nutritional value. There are so many benefits of eggplants! They contain high amounts of fiber, minerals, vitamins, anthocyanin, and phytonutrients.
It is advised to eat 25-38g of fiber on a daily basis. A single cup of cubed eggplants already provides around 12% of your daily fiber intake. Fiber is highly important for your health. This is because it is the indigestible part of the carbohydrate.
Studies in the past have proven that diets which include high amounts of fiber have great health benefits. One of the benefits which has the most scientific evidence is that it reduced the rate of diabetes. In addition, they have also shown to reduce the rate of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, these studies have shown that those living on a fiber-rich diet have healthier weights.
Eggplants also have more benefits! They are a great source of Vitamin K. For those who are unaware: Vitamin K is extremely important to reduce clotting of blood. This is very important for those who are currently taking Coumadin. For more information on this, we recommend talking to your health consultant. Whether that be general practitioner or dietitian is up to you!
The list goes on! Eggplants contain fair amounts of manganese. They are a very important component of antioxidant enzymes. They play a significant role when it comes to the breaking down of protein and glucose in your body.
Another of the health benefits of eggplants is that they contain quite high amounts of phytonutrients. This is especially the case for chlorogenic acid and nasunin. They aid in protecting your cells from being damaged. In addition, they also lower the risk of heart disease by a significant margin.
Finally, the skin of the eggplant also comes with its very own advantages! The skin of the purple vegetable contains anthocyanins. This is in fact why they have this unique color! Anthocyanins have proven to have antioxidant benefits. They help in fighting oxidative stress, especially over a longer period of time. Further research has also shown that a diet containing them will boost your immune system. In turn, you will be more fit to defend yourself against diseases. In general terms: eating eggplant will help you maintain your health.
Don’t forget that maintaining your health is much better than healing. The maintenance makes sure that you will not get sick. Whereas healing requires you already to be sick in the first place! This is why the benefits of eggplants are so great!
5 best health benefits of eggplants
After we have given you a general overview above, we thought it would be great to list the top 5 healthy benefits of eggplants as well!
1. Your heart
This is the first of many benefits of eggplants! Near to everything you can find within an eggplant is great for your heart. The vitamin C, potassium and fibers are just a start! In addition, the vitamin B6 and phytonutrients are just as helpful! As mentioned above, the flavonoids (like anthocuanins) aid in lowering the risk of heart disease. This has been proven by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition back in 2008!
This is the second of the eggplant health benefits. Eggplants are great for your blood cholesterol. Research has proven that the consumption of eggplant juice has let to a significant decrease in blood cholesterol levels. In addition, they have also shown to help greatly decrease your weight! Isn’t that amazing?
Your cognitive function will also greatly benefit from consuming eggplants! The main reason for this is the nasunin. Studies have shown that the anthocyanin in the purple skin is a fantastic antioxidant. They protect the brain cell membranes from external free radicals!
In addition, it also aids in bringing the nutrients to where they belong in your body! The same applies to moving the waste out of your body as well.
Further research also suggests that they aid against neuroinflammation. They also make it easier for the blood to flow into the brain. In turn, this will help improve your memory and prevent mental disorders. Especially those which are related to your age!
Remember the dietary fibers we were talking about earlier? Yup, they have been found to be great contributors to weight management. This, of course, also includes weight loss! The reason for this is because they are comparable to “bulking agents” within your digestive system.
What essentially happens is that you will feel full after consuming them. In addition, they will also help in reducing your appetite. In turn, this means that eating an eggplant will reduce your calorie intake. This is because you will feel full for much longer after enjoying one or two!
Recent studies have shown that the antioxidant also bear great benefits for your liver. The eggplant turns out to be helping protect the liver from numerous toxins!
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Healthy eggplant recipes
Now, after you know all about the eggplant - let’s get to the good stuff! Below, you will find two healthy recipes. The first one is a vegetarian eggplant recipe and we will end with one of the great vegan eggplant recipes! Both are easy eggplant recipes - don’t worry!
Vegetarian Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna
This great recipe is credited to the Casserole Queens! We hope you will enjoy it! Especially those who love eggplant parmesan will love this recipe. Enjoy your meal!
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Total time needed: 1 hour and 20 minutes
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large egg
2 egg whites
1 c. panko breadcrumbs
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 medium eggplants
1 container low-fat small-curd cottage cheese
1 container part-skim ricotta
6 oz. part-skim mozzarella
1/2 c. grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
1 c. roughly chopped fresh basil
1/2 c. roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 1/2 c. jarred marinara sauce
How to prepare the dish
- Preheat your oven to 450 F. Put some oil on the baking sheets. Now beat the whole eggs in a bowl. Put the breadcrumbs and flour in other bowls separate from each other. Put 1 tablespoon of oil into the breadcrumbs. Be sure to mix that bowl properly.
- Cut the eggplants into sliced. At best, try to make them about half an inch thick. Dip the slices into the flour and afterward into the beaten eggs. In the end, also let them go through the breadcrumbs. Put these eggplants on to the baking sheets and the oven. Let them roast there for a quarter of an hour until they are golden brown. After this is done, reduce the temperature to 400 F.
- While the eggplant is in the oven, combine the mozzarella, ricotta, and cheese into a bowl. Don’t forget to add the Romano and pepper. Finally, add the basil and parsley.
- Put half a cup of marinara on the baking dish. Place the eggplants on top. Then once again add a half a cup of marinara and add some ricotta to it this time. Repeat this until the baking dish is full. Once you are done, sprinkle the mozzarella along with 2 tablespoons of Romano on the top layer.
- Put a cover on the dish. At best, put a bit of oil on the cover as well and bake for 20 minutes. You can remove the cover when the top layer is golden brown. Then, leave it in the oven once more for another 20 minutes. Make sure to let the dish stand for at least 10 minutes before serving!
Vegan eggplant recipes
Here is a great website which has numerous vegan eggplant recipes. We can personally recommend the sweet and sour eggplant. It truly is a great balance of flavors. Especially those who are lovers of Asian food will be happy! There are many easy eggplant recipes there and we hope that you will find the right one for you!