Brinjal (Eggplant) – the Wonder Vegetable in different colors
Brinjal, is usually distinguishable by its signature egg-like shape and vibrant purple color. When most people think of eggplant, this is the image that comes to mind. No matter the name, shape, or color, all eggplants contain many beneficial nutrients and phytochemical compounds that benefit human health.
Eggplant and its amazing benefits on our health
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, increases energy levels and overall lowers weight.
1. Heart health
The fibre, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and phytonutrient content in eggplants 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 are known to benefit your health.
2. Blood cholesterol
Research on the effects of eggplant consumption in animal studies has shown that rabbits with high cholesterol that consumed eggplant juice displayed a significant decrease in weight and blood cholesterol levels.
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.
4. Cognitive function
Findings from animal studies suggest that nasunin, an anthocyanin within eggplant skin, is a powerful antioxidant that protects the lipids comprising cell membranes in brain cells from free radical damage.
Eggplant and its nutritional components
One cup of raw eggplant contains 20 calories, 0.8 grams of protein, 4.82 grams of carbohydrate, 0.15 grams of fat and 2.5 grams of dietary fibre. A one-cup serving meets 10% of daily fibre needs, 5% potassium, 3% vitamin C, 5% vitamin B-6, 1% iron and 2% magnesium.
Eggplants also contain anthocyanins, compounds that belong to a class of naturally occurring phytochemicals known as flavonoids. Flavonoids are present in many plant foods and in addition to providing health benefits – they also contribute to the distinguishable coloration of many fruits and vegetables. In this case, anthocyanins are water-soluble pigments that give the eggplant their well-known dark purple complexion and other colors too.
Tips to maximize the health benefits from Eggplant
- 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 be 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.
- Always 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.
Ways to make eggplant suit your taste buds
- 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.
Health risks of consuming eggplant
- Research suggests that the polyphenols found in eggplants contribute to their bitter flavor, which means that the eggplants with the highest levels of antioxidants are also the most bitter and unpleasant to eat.
- It has been discovered that nasunin, a phytochemical compound found in eggplants, essentially binds with iron and removes it from cells. Though this may be beneficial in cases of excess iron in the body, consuming large amounts of foods that contain nasunin, such as eggplant, is not recommended for those with low iron levels.
- Eggplants also contain oxalates, which can contribute to kidney stone formation. Kidney stones can lead to acute oxalate nephropathy or even kidney death. Now, you know the health benefits of eating Brinjal (Eggplant). You also know that you cannot have it any quantity and with anything.