by Claude Butler
Eggplant, also known as aubergine or brinjal, is botanically named Solanum melongena and is a member of the nightshade, or Solanaceae family, which also includes tomatoes, sweet peppers and potatoes. Depending on the cultivator type, Eggplants come in a variety of shapes and colors. Generally, these veggies fall into two broad categories, either oval shaped, or thin and elongated. Eggplant has glossy skin, while its flesh is spongy and cream-colored with numerous centrally arranged small, soft seeds.
The ancient ancestors of eggplant grew wild in India and were first cultivated in China in the 5th century B.C. Eggplant was introduced to Africa before the Middle Ages and then into Italy, the country with which it has long been associated, in the 14th century. It subsequently spread throughout Europe and the Middle East and, centuries later, was brought to the Western Hemisphere by European explorers. Today, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, China and Japan are the leading growers of eggplant.
Eggplant is a principal ingredient in international dishes such as Indian curry, Chinese Szechuan eggplant, Italian eggplant Parmesan, Middle Eastern eggplant dip and Moroccan eggplant salads.
TOP 22 HEALTH BENEFITS OF EGGPLANT:
- Type 2 Diabetes: The abundance of Fiber and Carbohydrates, in Eggplant, control the absorption of glucose and decrease the blood glucose levels, in Type II diabetes patients. Presence of Phenols and its low glycemic index, help to manage blood sugar levels, making it an ideal food for diabetics.
- Heart Health: Potassium hydrates the body, eliminating retention of fluids, which prevents coronary heart diseases. Phytonutrients help reduce cholesterol and improve blood flow. Other nutrients like folate, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B3 and B6, antioxidants, and beta carotene decrease the risk of stroke and heart attack. Eggplant is also naturally low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.
- Brain Health: Phytonutrients protect cell membranes from free radical and oxidative stress damage, facilitate neural activity, and keep memory functions sharp. B complex vitamins assist de-stressing functions.
- Iron Regulation: Iron, a nutrient essential for oxygen transport, in excess is harmful to the body. Iron build up is a common problem in post-menopausal men and women. Nasunin, in eggplant helps remove excess iron from the body.
- Weight Loss: Eggplant has high water content, is low in calories, and is very good source of Dietary Fiber that makes us feel fuller for longer, manages sugar levels, and speeds toxic waste elimination. Also the metabolism spike burns calories at a higher rate, which all add up to enhance weight loss.
- Digestion Support: Soup made up of Eggplant and tomato increases the appetite and helps in digestion. The antioxidants and fiber regulate bowel movements, flush the bowel, prevent constipation and colon cancer, and provide relief from hemorrhoids, colitis, gastritis, and stomach inflammations. A soup of mashed Eggplant, topped with asafetida and garlic, helps get rid of flatulence.
- Anti Bacterial: Abundance of vitamin C makes eggplant an effective anti-viral and anti- bacterial source.
- Flawless Skin: Eggplants are rich in minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber. The high water content keeps the skin hydrated treating dry, flaky, wrinkled skin. The antioxidants, anthocyanins, act as anti-ageing agents. Applied topically, eggplants are quite effective in fading freckles, treatment of warts, for oily skin and lightening spots.
- Strenghten Hair: Minerals, vitamins and the high water content of eggplants provide deep nourishment to your scalp, prevents split ends, and keep hair healthy and strong. Enzymes help stimulate the follicles of your hair, and provide a shiny texture to your hair.
- Expectorant: Eating Eggplants, directly roasted on fire, and garnished with salt, have traditionally been used to cures excessive phlegm, and balance wind humor of the body.
- Spleen Care: People suffering from a bout of malaria, are advised baked Eggplant with raw sugar, on empty stomach in the morning, to alleviate the enlarged spleen.
- Fights Insomnia: In case you are unable to fall asleep easily, eat a baked Eggplant in the evening. If taken regularly, it has proved to cure insomnia.
- Cures Piles: The Eggplant head (green top) has long been used in ancient traditional medicine for the treatment of piles and hemorrhoids (veins of the rectum).
- Relieves Swelling and Pain: Halved Eggplant slices, heated on a frying pan for few seconds with a sprinkling of turmeric powder, are used as a poultice for quick relief from joint pains, swelling and trauma from injuries.
- Prevents Body Odor: Apply eggplant juice on palms and soles. It controls perspiration and inhibits body odors.
- Antidote: Eggplant has been used as an antidote in cases of mushroom poisoning.
- Heals Chapped Skin: Cracked heels and chapped fingers can be soothed by applying a concoction of yellow ripe Eggplant and petroleum jelly ointment.
- Prevents Colon Cancer: Fiber in Eggplant decreases the risk of colon cancer by absorbing toxins and chemicals. Antioxidant compounds, Chlorogenic Acid, fights free radicals in the body as well as protects cells to transform into cancer cells, and Nasunin has anti-angiogenic abilities, preventing growth of blood vessels growth that feed cancer cells.
- Helps Quit Smoking: Eggplants contain small amounts of nicotine which helps smokers curb their cigarette cravings while trying to quit smoking.
- Low in Sodium: Eggplants are almost sodium free which prevents high blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.
- Vitamins and Minerals Store: Eggplant contains decent amounts of protein, vitamin C and iron. It is also a good source of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, folic acid as well as beta carotene.
- Multi Curative: Studies have proved Eggplant’s curative abilities in eliminating stones in its initial stage, curing asthma and tooth problems, and preventing atherosclerosis (thickening of arteries).
Possible Side Effects:
- Eggplant contains a very small amount of nicotine than any other edible plant with a concentration of 0.01mg/100g. However, the amount of nicotine from eggplant or any other food is negligible and therefore, shall not warrant against its usage.
- When you do use eggplant to replace protein-rich foods, you should add other protein into your diet, such as lentils or cheese.
- Eggplant contains oxalates, an organic acid that alleviates kidney or gallbladder stones problems.