Eggplants are not the most discussed vegetable out there but are certainly ones to keep an eye on. Known for their specific shape and color, eggplants are spongy in texture and beneficial for the health.
Eggplants are widely used in cooking, enriching dishes and salads with a specific taste and a solid nutritional value.
Related to tomatoes and potatoes, eggplants are part of the nightshade family. Raw, eggplants are not the most favorite food to eat. However, when and if cooked properly, eggplants provide a creamy texture and absorb other nutrients with ease.
Eggplants offer a variety of health benefits when cooked, and are particularly healthy when consumed with their skin on. This majestic vegetable is rich in antioxidants and can aid the body in preventing many other health conditions.
Below, let’s discuss the importance of eggplants in your nutrition, their beneficial value, and possible consumption side-effects.
What is the Nutritional Value of Eggplants?
Eggplants are high in many valuable nutrients and health-boosting compounds. Low in calories and packed in antioxidants, eggplants are also low on the glycemic index chart. Below, let’s look the full nutritional value of eggplants:
- One whole eggplants contains low levels of sodium or around 7 mg per vegetable.
- Eggplants are composed of 90% water content, a content which remains even after the veggies is cooked.
- Again, low in calories, 100 g of cooked eggplant contains around 35 calories.
- Also ideal for dieting, a cup of cooked eggplant offers 8.6 g carb content.
- An excellent source of fiber, a 100-gram of steamed, roasted or grilled eggplant provides around 2.5 grams of fiber.
- Eggplants are not high in protein, offering a gram of protein per 100 g cooked eggplant.
- The vitamin content in eggplants is high, providing doses of vitamins A, C, E, and K. Together with this, eggplants offer plenty of B-group vitamins. As for vitamin K, eggplants contain 3 mcg of the vitamin per a 100-gram portion.
- The mineral content in eggplants is also satisfactory. Mostly, the vegetable contains relevant and health-boosting minerals, including potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and copper.
- Another amazing addition to eggplants are antioxidants. Nasunin, one of the most beneficial eggplant antioxidants is especially beneficial for fighting oxidative stress in the body.
Eggplant and Cooking
As per studies, eggplant offers the most qualities when cooked. As raw eggplant does not provide any significant value, it is best to grill, bake or steam it. For instance, if you grill eggplants you increase the content of antioxidants or nasunin.
However, by grilling it, you miss out on quality vitamin content, as these get lost in the process. As per many, the best way to cook an eggplant is steam it, thus preserving all its important nutrients.
What are the Health Benefits of Eggplants?
Of course, eggplants are considered highly healthy to the body and overall wellbeing. Below, read some of its most important benefits, as follow:
- Enhancing the cardiovascular health.
- Reducing cholesterol levels in the body, especially the harmful, LDL cholesterol.
- Diminish the risks of a heart disease.
- Providing benefits to diabetics, due to their high-fiber content< and favorable glycemic index.
- Reducing blood sugar levels in the body.
- Promoting great digestion, again, due to its favorable fiber content.
- Controlling the bowel movements and loosening hard stools.
- Enabling a prompt weight loss, which makes eggplants ideal for dieting, especially because of their low-calorie content.
- Offering a great source of natural nutrients, perfect for vegans and vegetarians.
- Boosting the liver function and performance.
- Providing a great deal of antioxidants, which work amazingly against cancerous cells.
- Eggplants are rich in solasodine, a compound which helps prevent special types of cancer, like lung cancer and tumors.
Still, know that although eggplants have been labeled beneficial against cancer, the findings were based on animal studies only.
How to Cook Eggplant to Use Its Benefits?
Most experts suggest that you chop up or slice the eggplant before cooking it. Season eggplants with Himalayan or sea salt, and leave the chops or slices to rest for 20-30 minutes.
The salt is an important aspect in cooking eggplants right, as it eliminates the bitter taste of the vegetable. At the same time, as eggplants are watery, salt keeps them whole, reducing the redundant water content in the plant.
As for techniques, it is recommended that eggplants are baked, grilled, sautéed and or roasted. Regardless of the method, keep in mind that when cooking eggplants, it is recommended you leave the skin on. Packed on phytochemicals, the eggplant skin and its seeds are both edible and safe for consumption.
Studies in the field explain that if you want to prevent the loss of minerals and vitamins, it is best to steam your eggplants. By steaming the vegetable, you also get to preserve key antioxidants found in eggplants.
What are the Possible Side-effects of Eating Eggplants?
Eggplants are not harmful to the health, but in case of an overconsumption, can cause several side-effects. Such include:
- Stimulating menstrual cycle flow – eggplants encourage the blood vessels, which is why they can enhance the flow of menstruation. With that, pregnant women are not advised to consume the plant at all.
- Possible risks of an abortion -- for the same reasons listed above, pregnant women should steer clear of eggplants, thus reducing the risks of an unwanted abortion or complications.
- In some cases, eggplants are known to have caused acidic problems.
- Some people may be sensitive to eggplants, and even experience an allergic reaction as a result of the consumption.
- Some eggplants contain nicotine, or rather a nicotinic acid which shows the same molecular consistency of the harmful toxin.
- Potassium and fiver overconsumption, both found in eggplants.
- An interference with certain antidepressant drugs.
- Eggplants may sometimes show a false positive on cancer and tumor tests. Because of this, it is best you avoid eating eggplants up to 72 hours prior to getting tested.
Safety always come first, just like your health. Knowledge is power, and ultimately, loving eggplants is easy!