The eggplant, which belongs to the nightshade family of vegetables, is a fruit with a purple color and a shape resembling an egg. It comes in a range of colors, including white, black, and orange. While every variety is rich in nutrients, the purple ones are believed to contain more health benefits because of their anthocyanin content.
Eggplants are popular for their ability to promote digestive health, regulate blood sugar levels, prevent cancer, aid in weight loss, remove excess iron, lower high blood pressure, boost eye health, support the nervous system, and reduce cholesterol level.
Although eggplants are mostly consumed raw, after the application of heat, more compounds can be released. They can actually be prepared and eaten in a variety of ways.
Health Benefits of Eggplant
Now, let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of eggplant.
Aids in Weight Loss
Eggplants are great for weight loss as the fiber in the fruit suppresses appetite. It does this by slowing the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Since fiber holds water, it gives the impression that a meal is bigger than it actually is. Eggplants lower blood sugar levels which are a major contributor to food cravings and weight gain.
Boosts the Immune System
Eggplants possess high allergic effects which help to reduce the body’s response to allergens. This is said to be due to the presence of the compound chlorogenic acid and its ability to boost the immune system.
Although almost all fruits and vegetables help in some way to prevent cancer, eggplants function by a slightly unique mechanism. They do not just rely on anti-oxidants but make use of nasunin, which does more than inhibit oxidation to cells.
Nasunin is an antioxidant that helps cells to utilize nutrients, boost absorption, and help to flush waste out of cells. Waste should be eliminated as quickly as possible since their retention only causes diseases. This speedy removal of waste from cells is believed to prevent the development of cancer.
Improves Bone Health
Eggplants are very beneficial for people who are prone to bone degradation and osteoporosis. In fact, phenolic compounds are the reason for the distinct coloration of eggplants and several other fruits. These compounds have also been connected with the lowered risk of osteoporosis, increased bone mineral density, and stronger bones.
Eggplants also have appreciable amounts of calcium and iron, which are essential to bone health and overall strength. In addition, the amount of potassium in eggplants helps in the absorption of calcium, making the fruit a whole and highly beneficial boost for osteoporosis and bone health.
Removes Excess Iron
Iron is vital for overall health, but just not an excess of it. This is because excessive iron can have very negative effects on a person’s health, which range from increased oxidation of cells, to cancer, and heart ailments. This is why removing it is a great idea. Luckily, eggplants have the ability to bind iron and remove it from the body.
Lowers High Blood Pressure
People who suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure may find eggplant the needed boost for their heart. The anthocyanins present in eggplant have been found to have a huge effect on lowering blood pressure and maintaining blood vessel health. When blood vessels are not flexible, blood pressure levels are adversely affected as they do not relax when blood volume increases. This puts the walls under extremely high pressure. A stable blood pressure also means a reduced risk of developing stroke and heart attack.
Promotes Digestive Health
An improved digestive system is vital for making sure that the body is able to absorb the nutrients it needs and ease bowel movements. However, there are people who struggle with digestive health just because they consume a diet that consists mainly of processed food. This is because processed foods contain very low fiber.
Thankfully, eggplant is a great source of fiber, helping the body meet its daily requirements as well as naturally containing a high amount of water. Fiber and water are undoubtedly the most important two factors for promoting digestive health. Eggplants can be consumed at least once a week as part of a balanced diet plan.
Iron deficiency can be very harmful to a person’s overall health, and it can manifest in anemia. Anemia symptoms include fatigue, cognitive malfunction, depression, headaches, migraines, and tiredness. Therefore, consuming foods rich in iron can fight anemia, and eggplants have a significant amount of iron in them.
Apart from iron, eggplants are also very high in copper, another important component of red blood cells (RBCs). If these two minerals are not present, the red blood cell count in the body will continue to reduce, especially as they are consistently being used up. However, with healthier red blood cells circulating through the veins, there would be a significant boost in energy and strength, which will remove feelings of stress or fatigue.
Keeps the Nervous System Healthy
Manganese is an essential micro mineral that helps maintain optimal nerve function. A deficiency in manganese can lead to neuro-muscular disorders, so it is important to always increase the intake of this nutrient with eggplants.
Good for the Eyes
The carotenoid compounds in eggplants are popular for their effects on supporting eye health. However, anthocyanins present in eggplant also exhibit very high potential. In fact, regular consumption of eggplant is connected to lowered pressure in the eyes, and provide some protection against the development of cataract.
Reduces Cholesterol Levels
Traditionally, in some parts of the world, eggplant is soaked in water and then drank to lower cholesterol levels. The fruit is believed to help remove cholesterol circulating in the blood and attached to blood vessel walls. Cholesterol deposits on the walls of blood vessels reduce the vessel diameter, increasing the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Strengthens Micro Vessels
Apart from the veins and arteries, there are tiny vessels known as capillaries. Veins and arteries are much larger and find it hard supplying blood to the microstructures in organs. Luckily, the consumption of eggplant prevents excessive bleeding from capillaries, but help to improve their structural strength.
Side Effects of Eggplant
Although they are commonly referred to as fruits, eggplants are a part of the nightshade family of vegetables which are known to result in severe allergic reactions.
When cooking eggplants, there are people who make the mistake of frying them. While this may be a tasty way to cook eggplants, it isn’t very healthy and can result in weight gain and certain heart conditions. When eggplants are fried, they absorb a significant amount of fat, but baking eggplants retain many of the nutrients without any side effect like excess fat.
However, eggplants are not as popular in terms of being allergens like bell peepers and tomatoes, which are also considered a part of the nightshade family.
As with any new addition to your diet, it is advisable to check with your doctor before consuming eggplants in large quantities. You should also pay attention and look out for any side effect after eating them.