Top 10 Health Benefits of Eggplants
The health benefits of eggplants are endless. Plus eggplants can be a delicious inclusion to any diet. They have a texture and density that makes them a great addition to soups and stews. They can also be consumed perfectly by themselves or be baked, mashed into a dip, roasted, grilled, or sautéed. Eggplants tend to have a slightly bitter and acidic taste that most people may not like, but they offer impressive health benefits beyond the taste.
They are high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that the body needs for proper health and function. Here are the top 10 health benefits of eggplants.
1. Eggplants are good for digestion
Whether you’re dealing with indigestion, constipation, flatulence, or want to maintain healthy digestive health, including eggplant in your diet may be the way to go. Eggplants not only soothe many kinds of digestive issues but can also increase the absorption of nutrients from other foods you eat alongside them. It’s also rich in prebiotics, a type of fiber that helps feed your good gut bacteria (probiotics) and boost their population.
Probiotics are essential for a healthy gut, healthy brain, and a strong immune system. The fiber in eggplants also plays an essential role in promoting regular bowel movements, preventing constipation, and stimulating the secretion of gastric juices that facilitate food processing and nutrient absorption.
2. May improve bone health
Eggplants are delicious, versatile and colorful additions to any meal. While they might not be the first vegetables that come to mind when you think of foods that promote bone health, they actually make an excellent addition to any healthy diet. Plus, they’re delicious! Eggplants are rich in potassium, calcium, and vitamin K, making them a great addition to the diet to promote bone health.
Potassium and calcium work together to enhance general bone health and strength. Potassium aids calcium absorption in the gut while calcium is needed to build and maintain strong bones.
Vitamin K, on the other hand, enhances bone cell production and the regulation of calcium, which increases bone density and strength.
Eggplants are also high in phenolic compounds that have been shown to strengthen bones, increase bone mineral density, and lower the signs of osteoporosis. It’s these phenolic compounds that give eggplants their various skin pigmentation.
In addition, eggplants contain a large amount of silica, which helps strengthen and maintain bone structure. Studies have shown that those who eat foods rich in silica—such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, and seeds—are less likely to suffer from osteoporosis. Silica can also help reduce inflammation within joints, thus helping relieve the symptoms of arthritis and other joint conditions.
3. Contains powerful antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that prevent cell damage when oxygen reacts with harmful substances in the body known as free radicals.
This cell damage may disrupt normal cell function and cause inflammation which can initiate different chronic conditions.
Consuming foods rich in antioxidants will help neutralize the free radicals, thus preventing oxidation and its effects.
Nasunin is the most abundant type of anthocyanin antioxidant contained in eggplants. It helps fight oxidative stress and inflammation, which is a foundation for most diseases. It also protects against cell mutations, cell death, and DNA and cell membrane damage caused by oxidation.
Read more about the research into the antioxidants in eggplants and their benefits here.
4. Prevents cancer
Eggplants are rich in various cancer-fighting compounds, including anthocyanin, solasodine rhamnosyl glycosides (SRGs), and chlorogenic acid that have been shown to offer cancer-protective benefits.
Chlorogenic acid, in particular, prevents free radicals from forming cancerous cells and inhibits tumor growth and cancer cell proliferation.
Chlorogenic acid also acts as an anti-microbial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and helps lower bad cholesterol.
5. Helps lower cholesterol
Eggplants have long been recognized as a powerful heart-healthy food, but many don’t realize that they can even lower cholesterol levels. In fact, one study found that eggplants possess the same ability to lower LDL cholesterol as statin drugs. The secret lies in one of the eggplants’ most powerful phytochemicals, nasunin (also known as nasin). Nasunin is a powerful anthocyanin that has proven to lower cholesterol levels.
High cholesterol levels are a significant risk factor for heart disease, increased blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.
Eggplants are also high in soluble fiber, which has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and prevent the reabsorption of bile which helps lower cholesterol levels.
In a lab study, 10ml of eggplant juice taken daily for 2 weeks was shown to lower cholesterol and triglycerides. This is a clear indication that a regular intake of eggplant can help lower cholesterol levels in the blood.
6. Promotes weight loss
There are several ways that eggplant can help you lose weight. First, it is high in fiber, and fiber has been shown to aid in healthy digestion and weight loss. Additionally, being low in calories means that eggplant can aid in appetite control while satisfying your hunger cravings between meals. Plus, it also helps fill you up more quickly, so you don’t overeat when it’s time for a meal.
The fiber in eggplants also inhibits the release of the hunger hormone ghrelin, which prompts one to eat.
Finally, there is evidence that consuming foods rich in fiber can help you feel fuller faster after eating. This may be due to an increase in water weight and increased feelings of satiety. As a result, people who eat high-fiber diets tend to consume fewer calories overall. This may help explain why many people lose weight when they start eating a lot of vegetables! For example, just one cup of cooked eggplant contains 10% of your daily recommended intake of fiber. This provides a good boost in addition to other fiber-rich foods.
7. Improves heart health
Eggplants are rich in bioflavonoids, which are great at lowering blood pressure. This, in turn, will reduce the strain on the heart, improve circulation and generally promote a healthy cardiovascular system.
The fiber in eggplant may reduce the bad cholesterol and triglycerides, which are risk factors for developing heart disease.
Low HDL may also lower the risk of stroke, heart attack, and atherosclerosis.
The anthocyanins in eggplant also help lower inflammation which may increase the risk for heart disease.
8. May help in the management of diabetes
Researchers have found that eggplant’s active ingredient, nasunin, helps prevent dangerous blood sugar spikes in diabetes. Nasunin is particularly effective at inhibiting an enzyme secreted by the salivary glands when chewing. This enzyme slows the breakdown of starch in food.
This helps to slow digestion and reduce blood glucose levels after eating starchy foods like bread or potatoes. It also improves insulin sensitivity, which can help lower your risk of developing diabetes. If you don’t already eat eggplant regularly, try adding it to stir-fries or roasting it with olive oil and sea salt for a delicious side dish.
High fiber in eggplants also helps regulate glucose levels – since fiber slows down digestion and absorption of sugar in the body, it will keep your sugar levels steady. This will allow for controlled insulin secretion, thus giving your cells time to heal and be more insulin sensitive and receptive.
Moreover, the American Diabetic Association recommends an eggplant-based diet as a diet of choice in the management of type 2 diabetes.
9. Improves brain function
Eggplants are rich in phytonutrients, natural plant compounds known to promote mental health and cognitive functions. They also protect against free radicals and improve blood flow to the brain, which delivers oxygen and other nutrients that the brain needs.
Also, eggplant contains scopoletin, a compound that regulates the feel-good chemical serotonin in the brain. This may help improve mood and reduce depression and anxiety.
Eggplant is also rich in B vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B9, which help your body manage stress better.
10. Promotes skin and hair health
Eggplants are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that prevents free radicals from damaging your skin cells.
This helps promote healthy and youthful skin while preventing premature signs of aging like wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, age spots, and saggy skin.
The anti-inflammatory effects of eggplant also minimize different skin conditions, including eczema and dermatitis.
Also, the minerals in eggplants, including iron, zinc, folate, and potassium, increase blood circulation to the scalp, improve scalp health, strengthen hair strands, and promote the growth of new hair follicles.
Healthy Ways to Eat Eggplants
Eggplant can be one of the most versatile vegetables in your kitchen, but it’s not always an easy ingredient to work with. Here are eight healthy ways to eat eggplant that are full of flavor and will keep you from getting tired of this vegetable anytime soon!
Add them to soups
Eggplant can be added to soups, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. It will not only give a thick texture, but it will also help with your hunger. Soups are recommended as one of the best ways to lose weight because they fill you up without adding too many calories to your body. You can add eggplants to different types of soup, such as minestrone or vegetable soup. You can even make eggplant soup on its own and eat it for lunch or dinner.
Bake in the oven
Baking an eggplant is one of the easiest ways to prepare it. Slice it into 1/2 slices, brush lightly with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then place in a 400-degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Turn eggplant slices over halfway through the cooking time, so both sides are golden brown. Serve alone or on a bed of your favorite greens.
Make dip out of them
Adding eggplant to your diet as a dip is a great way to incorporate it. Slice up eggplant and bake it with olive oil, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper for about 45 minutes. Puree it in a food processor until smooth and serve with fresh vegetables or crackers.
Grill it on skewers
Prepare eggplant on skewers by alternating with pieces of other fruits and vegetables. Onions, peppers, mushrooms, and pineapple all pair well with eggplant; you can also throw some tofu for an extra boost of protein. Grill over medium heat until cooked through (about 8-10 minutes per side). Serve hot off the grill and enjoy.
Use them as sandwich stuffing
One of my favorite ways to eat eggplant is as sandwich stuffing. Whether you love veggie sandwiches or regular ones, these slices of roasted eggplant make great substitutes for meat or cheese in your sandwich. Simply roast them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper until they’re soft and tender. You can serve them warm or cold on bread with lettuce, tomato, onions, mayo (or vegan spread), avocado—whatever you like!
Grill in foil
Grilling eggplant in foil is a quick and simple way to retain the eggplant flavor and juices. First, cut your eggplant into slices. Spread your favorite barbecue sauce on each piece of eggplant, making sure that you evenly coat it with sauce. Wrap each piece of eggplant in foil, then grill for 25 minutes over medium heat. Allow it to cool before removing the foil and enjoying!
Stews are a delicious way to cook eggplant. Simmer chunks of eggplant in tomato sauce and vegetable broth for a hearty vegetarian meal. Remove from the heat and serve over rice or with whole-wheat pita bread. For an extra kick, add some cayenne pepper to taste before serving.
Final thoughts on the top 10 health benefits of eggplants:
Eggplant is highly nutritious with beneficial vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
Its regular consumption may improve digestion, promote strong and healthy bones, aid weight loss, improve digestive health, prevent anemia, lower the risk of developing cancer, regulate sugar levels, and improve brain function.
Eggplants can be eaten in many different ways. To make them taste even better, there are some simple steps you can take to make them more appetizing and delicious, such as adding them to soups, making dips, grilling them on skewers, making stews, and grilling them in foil. Whichever method you choose, you’ll surely enjoy your eggplant!
More Health Benefits Articles:
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- Health Benefits Of Oregano Tea
- 9 Proven Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds
- 11 Impressive Health Benefits Of Pomegranate Juice
- 10 Health Benefits Of Mangoes
- Health Benefits of Broccoli
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