The aubergine, also known as eggplant, is a vegetable belonging to the nightshade family of plants which also includes potato and tomato. It has its origin in India and Sri Lanka, and is commonly known as brinjal.
Though used as a vegetable, aubergine is technically a fruit, in fact a berry. Like tomatoes, aubergines hang from the vines of a plant that grows several feet in height. The fruit has a deep purple, smooth, glossy skin and a cream colored, sponge like inner flesh, dotted with small edible seeds. Aubergines are also available in other colors like lavender, jade green, orange and yellow as well as in a range of shapes and sizes. It is also called eggplant because the most common variety of aubergine resembles a large pear-shaped egg.
One cup or 82 grams of eggplant consists of 11% fiber, 10% manganese, 5.4% molybdenum, 5.3% potassium, 4.5% folate, 3.5% vitamin K, 3.5% copper, 63.5% vitamin B, 3.1% tryptophan, 3% vitamin C, and 2.8% magnesium.
It contains good amounts of many essential B-complex groups of vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and thiamin (vitamin B1), niacin (B3). These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish and required for fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism. It is an also good source of minerals like manganese, copper, iron and potassium. Manganese is used as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Potassium is an important intracellular electrolyte helps counter the hypertension effects of sodium.
Benefits of Eggplant
Aids in Weight Loss
The high content of fiber in aubergines makes them beneficial for those who want to lose weight. Fiber is a bulky food that occupies a lot of room in your stomach and takes a long time to move from the stomach to the digestive tract. Thus, by including eggplant in a salad or appetizer before a meal, you are likely to eat fewer calories and hence, lose weight. It also contains a lot of moisture and is low in calories, which again aids in weight loss.
Prevents Aging of Skin
As we age, our skin undergoes free radical damage which can cause the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines on our faces. The antioxidants and vitamins present in brinjal can prevent this from happening. Additionally, it is also high in water which flushes toxins from your body and gives your skin a nice and healthy glow.
The high amount of fiber in aubergine absorbs the toxins and chemicals from the body which are responsible for the development of colon cancer. Fiber is helpful in the treatment of colon cancer as it is a relatively porous nutrient which moves through the digestive tract. Moreover, the skin of the aubergine contains more fiber than the vegetable itself. Hence, to reap greater benefits you should consume the vegetable with its skin on.
Keeps your Brain Healthy
The high amount of phytonutrients present in aubergines is not only beneficial for your heart but also protects the brain cell membranes from damage by free radicals. Besides, the B vitamins in aubergines enable us to think clearly and prevent stress. The antioxidants prevent the formation of brain tumors and cancer by attacking the free radicals that cause tumors and cancer.
Aids in Diabetes Control
The rich fiber and low-soluble carbohydrate content is highly beneficial for regulation of blood sugar levels and also to control the absorption of glucose. This makes them the best option for people suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Keeps Heart Healthy
The cholesterol levels are brought down to a great extent by the eggplant. It also helps stabilize the level of blood pressure. All this in turn lowers the risk of heart diseases. The body is also kept well hydrated thanks to the potassium content present in this vegetable. This ensures that there is no retention of fluids which prevents coronary heart diseases. Regular consumption of eggplant helps prevent blood clots. Vitamin K and bioflavonoids help strengthen capillaries also.
Helps Manage Iron Content
We all require iron for proper functioning in our day to day life. However, too much of iron in the body is not a good sign. The content of nasunin that is present in eggplant helps remove excess iron from the body. This brings down the risk of getting heart attacks as it damages the existence of the free radicals.
Aids in Healthy Hair
The enzymes present in aubergines help to stimulate hair follicles, thus promoting hair growth and health. They also help in curing greasy build up in your hair. Besides consuming it, you can also apply a chunk of fresh aubergine and rub gently. It nourishes hair roots and make hair strong and make your hair glow.
Remedy for Warts
Applying fresh eggplants to warts is an old home remedy that takes two ingredients – a thin piece of fresh eggplant big enough to cover the size of the wart and a bandage. Each night before you go to bed, take the piece of eggplant, cover the wart, and secure the eggplant covering with a bandage. Eventually, you may see that the wart peels off quite easily. If you apply the piece of eggplant over the wart every night, taking care to use a fresh piece of eggplant each time, expect to see results within two weeks.
Is it safe to eat eggplant raw?
Eggplant can be eaten raw; however, the texture and taste of raw eggplant is not at all appetizing. It is much better when it is cooked. Another reason that you may not want to eat raw eggplant is because it does contain solanine, which is a toxin that can cause gastrointestinal problems. Cooking the eggplant is a better alternative.