When most people think of eggplant, this is the image of aubergines that comes to mind. However, eggplants actually come in a variety of shapes and colors from small and oblong to long and skinny, from shades of purple to white and green.
No matter the name, shape, or color, all eggplants contain many beneficial nutrients and phytochemical compounds that benefit human health. This article will focus on the nutritional benefits of the traditional purple eggplant.
Health Benefits Of Aubergines
Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like the eggplant decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality, diabetes, heart disease and promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy and overall lower weight.
The fiber,potassium,vitamin C,vitamin B-6, and phytonutrient content in aubergines, all support heart health. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating foods containing flavonoids is affiliated with a lower risk of mortality from heart disease. Consuming even small quantities of flavonoid-rich foods may benefit human health.
Polyphenols in eggplant have been found to exhibit anti-cancer effects. Anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid function as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
They protect body cells from damage caused by free radicals and in turn prevent tumor growth and invasion and spread of cancer cells.
They also stimulate detoxifying enzymes within cells and promote cancer cell death.
Dietary fibers are commonly recognized as important factors in weight management and loss by functioning as “bulking agents” in the digestive system. These compounds increase satiety and reduce appetite, making you feel fuller for longer and thereby lowering your overall calorie intake. Since eggplant is already low in calories,it makes a great part of a healthy, low-calorie diet.
Nutritional Breakdown Of Aubergines
One cup of raw eggplant contains:
- 20 calories
- 0.8 grams of protein
- 4.82 grams of carbohydrate
- 0.15 grams of fat
- 2.5 grams of dietary fiber
A one-cup serving meets 10% of daily fiber needs, 5% potassium, 3% vitamin C, 5% vitamin B-6, 1% iron and 2% magnesium.
How To Choose And Storage Them
When buying eggplants choose ones that are firm and somewhat heavy for their size. Avoid eggplants that appear withered, bruised, or discolored. The skin should smooth and glossy with an intense purple hue. Eggplants should be stored in the refrigerator until ready for consumption, and the skin should be left intact when storing in order to prevent them from perishing too quickly. Use a stainless steel knife instead of carbon steel in order to prevent the material from reacting with the phytochemicals in the vegetable, which would cause the eggplant to turn black.
In order to draw out some of the compounds contributing to the eggplant’s bitter taste and to make the flesh more tender, you can “sweat” the eggplant by cutting it into pieces and then sprinkling them with salt. Let the salted pieces sit for about 30 minutes, moisture will be drawn out and will leave the eggplant tenderer, less bitter and overall more palatable. It will also make the pieces less prone to absorbing oil used when cooking. Then, simply rinse the eggplant after the process is complete in order to remove most of the salt.
Potential Health Risks
Eggplants also contain oxalates, which can contribute to kidney stone formation. Kidney stones can lead to acute oxalate nephropathy or even kidney death. Consuming foods containing oxalates, such as eggplant, is not recommended for those prone to kidney stone formation, and it is suggested that those suffering from kidney stones limit their intake of oxalate-containing foods.
Meat can be a bit heavy in the heat so if you fancy something lighter, try these Mediterranean aubergines, which are filled with a tangy tomato and olive mixture. The in-season vegetable has a thick, meaty texture so will keep you full.
Aubergines baked with a tomato and mozzarella cheese topping. Ideal for as a meat-free family meal or a dinner party main course.
Serves 4 ,prep time 20 min, cooking 45 min and easy to make
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 2 good-sized aubergines
- 60g (2oz) stoned olives, drained and chopped
- 60g (2oz) ready-grated vegetarian mozzarella
- About 10 basil leaves
- Shallow ovenproof dish
- Fry onion for a few min in 1tbsp of the oil, add the garlic and cook for 5 min.
- Stir in the tomatoes and ketchup and simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 min until thickened. Season.
- Cut each aubergine into 8 thin slices
- Pick out the largest 12 slices
- Brush these on both sides with oil, and griddle or grill in batches until browned
- Set aside on a baking sheet
- Griddle or grill the rest, then chop them and put in a bowl.
- Add 4 tbsp tomato sauce and the olives to the chopped aubergine and mix well. Spoon just over half of the rest of the tomato sauce into dish.
- Set the oven to 200°C or gas mark 6.
- Lay aubergine slices out on a board and divide the filling between them.
- Sprinkle with half of the cheese and half of the basil leaves, shredded. Roll each slice up. Pack them in the dish, seam-side down.
- Spoon rest of sauce over and sprinkle on the cheese. Bake for 20 min.
- Sprinkle with chopped basil leaves.