Commonly known as aubergine in England and brinjalin India, eggplant is a glossy, teardrop-shaped vegetable belonging to the nightshade botanical family. It is the same purple variety found across the globe but is referred to as an eggplant mostly in the United States. The eggplant is native to a number of countries stretching from India to Burma and extending to China.
While the eggplant is assumed to be a vegetable, it is actually a fruit that is cooked as a vegetable or a savoury dish. Thus biologically, it can be termed as a fruit and in terms of cooking it is used a vegetable. With a slightly bitter and acidic taste which may not be preferred by many, it is essential to consider the impressive health benefits that eggplant offers.
It is packed with vitamins like vitamin C, K and B6 and an ample amount of potassium, manganese and fiber. Even the leaves and roots of the plant are widely used for treating various infections and to heal wounds. Bangalore-based Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood suggests several benefits that come along with eggplants that no one told you yet.
1. Heart friendly: A pigment present in eggplant known as anthocyanins helps strengthen the functioning of the heart. It also help to bring down the “bad” cholesterol and acts as a powerful antioxidant.
2. Acts as a natural laxative: Rich in fiber, eggplants improve the functions of the digestive system by acting as a natural laxative. It provides fiber, in addition to water and antioxidants which can prevent the risk of inflammation in the digestive system and also helps in relieving constipation.
3. Weight loss: Saponin in the eggplant prevents fat accumulation and absorption in the body and thus, aids the process of losing weight. While its nutrient content is extremely high, eggplant low on carbohydrates and calories and can easily fit into your weight loss diet.
4. Rich in antioxidants: Anthocyanins that impart the deep purple colour to eggplants help in fighting free radicals in the body preventing the growth of cancer cells as well as other disease causing bacteria.
5. Helps prevent anemia: A rich source of iron, eggplants increase the production of red blood cells in the body and thus help fight anemia or iron deficiency which is common in females.
Now that you know all the health benefits of eating eggplants regularly, don’t shy away from this wonderful vegetable. There are several ways in which they can be made appealing and easier to consume for those who detest eating them. For instance, adding it to a simple sandwich or a whole grain burger does wonders. You can toss them with pasta or bake with cheese and other vegetables. Smokey, roasted eggplants are lovely with some light sauce. These are just few options to get you going.