There are many benefits of eggplants. In fact, there are more benefits of eating eggplant than you may think. If you are vegan or vegetarian it is the perfect ingrediant, as you can prepare it in many ways - from barbecuing and frying to roasted eggplant.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about the benefits of eating eggplant. This includes the nutritional value, health benefits, as well as healthy eggplant recipes. As a bonus, we will also include some eggplant recipes.
What is an eggplant?
The eggplant is an egg-like vegetable with a unique shape and color. However, one may confuse the eggplant at times as it has many names such as- garden egg, aubergine, melongene, guinea squash or brinjal. These terms can vary depending on which country you are in.
The eggplant also varies in shape and color around the world. Depending on the type of eggplant you have in your own country. 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. The first is the Asian eggplant - for example the Japanese eggplant. These are round, long and thin and come in a variation of colours from purple, white and green.
How to cook green eggplant is not any different than purple eggplant, however, the taste of a green eggplant can be different than what you are used to. Green eggplants tend to have a milder, less acidic, and less bitter taste.
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 and very low in calories. This is why it is a great option for those on a diet.
Eggplant nutrition: Benefits of eggplants
There are many health benefits of eggplants, this is because they have such a high nutritional value. 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.
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 meaning that there are also many benefits of including eggplants into your diet. 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. Meaning that eggplant is a high fiber food. Fiber is highly important for your health 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, and that those living on a fiber-rich diet have healthier weights.
2. Vitamin K
Eggplants also have more benefits - as they are a great source of Vitamin K. For those who are unaware: Vitamin K is extremely important to reduce clotting of blood.
Eggplants also contain fair amounts of manganese which 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. 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 - which is what causes eggplants to get that color. Anthocyanins have proven to have antioxidant benefits, as they help in fighting oxidative stress, especially over a longer period of time. Further research has also shown that a diet containing antioxidant foods will boost your immune system. In turn, you will be more fit to defend yourself against diseases and maintain your health.
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 provides great benefits for your heart - vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, fibers, and phytonutrients. 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 as 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.
Your cognitive function will also greatly benefit from consuming eggplants. The main reason for this is the nasunin, since there have been studies that have shown that the anthocyanin in the purple skin is a fantastic antioxidant. They protect the brain cell membranes from external free radicals.
Further research also suggests that they aid against neuroinflammation and 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 age.
The dietary fibers mentioned before 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 turn, this means that eating an eggplant will reduce your calorie intake.
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
If you are not sure how to cook eggplants - below, you will find two easy healthy recipes. The first one is a eggplant curry recipe, and the secound one is a easy vegan recipe.
This great eggplant curry recipe is credited to Sarah Bond from Live Eat Learn! We hope you will enjoy it!
Total time needed: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Eggplant: 1 Italian/3-4 Indian or Thai eggplants
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
3 Garlic cloves
2 tsp. Garam Masala
1 tsp. of each of the following: Coriander, Cumin, Smoked paprika, Salt
1 3/4 of a cup of Coconut Milk
1 3/4 of a cup of Diced tomatoes
How to prepare the dish
- Cook the rice
- Prep the eggplant: cut the eggplant into bite-sized cubes. Heat the oil in a large pot or pan and add the eggplant. Cook until it begins to brown and become soft, which should take about 5 minutes.
- Cook the shallot & garlic: add the shallot and garlic to the pan, continuing to cook until the shallot is soft and frangrant. It should take another 2 minutes.
- Stir in the seasonings: stir in the garam masala, cumin, coriander, paprika, and salt to evenly coat the eggplant.
- Add the milk & tomatoes: add the can of coconut milk and the undrained diced tomatoes. Bring it all to a gentle simmer, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes.
- Serve with rice & cilantro: serve warm over rice, topped with fresh cilantro.
Vegan lasagna recipes
If you are vegan or vegitarian this next vegan lasagna from Caitlin Shoemaker could be a great recipe for you to try at home.
Total time needed: 1 hour and 20 minutes
For Lentil filling:
1/2 yellow onion
1 cup carrot
14oz crushed tomatoes
1/4th cup tomato paste
1 cup dry green lentils
2 cups vegetable borth
1/2 cup parsley
1/4 cup basil
For the lasagna:
lentil filling (above)
1 batch of vegan ricotta
3 large eggplants
1 1/2 cup of marinara sauce (own choice)
How to prepare the dish
- Prepare the Eggplant: Preheat the oven to 375F while you prepare all of the ingredients. Line 2-3 Baking Trays with parchment paper and fill each tray with the Eggplant “coins”, so none are overlapping. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove from the oven.
- Make the Lentil Filling: In the meantime, add the diced Onion to a large pot with a splash of Water or Oil; sauté over Medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until translucent. Then, add the Carrot, Crushed Tomatoes, and Tomato Paste to the pot, stirring well. Once everything is well incorporated, add the Lentils, Vegetable Broth, Parsley, and Basil. Bring everything to a boil, then cover and simmer over low for 30 minutes.
- Layer the Lasagna: Spread 1/2 cup of Marinara Sauce over the base of a large casserole dish, then cover it well with 1/3 of the Eggplant – try to overlap it as tightly as possible!
- Bake and Serve: bake the Lasagna at 375F for 35 minutes. Let the Lasagna sit for 10 minutes, then cut and serve as desired.