Health Benefits of the Eggplant

It may come to a surprise to some that eggplants are not technically vegetables. They are fruits, at least by botanical distinction. No matter how eggplants are classified, they are incredibly nutritious and offer a wide range of benefits to those who consume them as part of a balanced diet. They also add color and a unique texture to other healthy dishes, including salads. Having a blend of colorful fruits and vegetables is one key to healthy eating and living.

Healthy Eggplant Emblem

Most supermarkets sell eggplants year round, but as with any fruit or vegetable, nothing beats the benefits of fresh eggplants that are in season and have not been shined, preserved, or sprayed with bug-zapping toxins. Organic foods really are best, especially in the case of eggplants where the relatively thin outer skin may allow some outside chemicals into the fruit itself. What lies inside the eggplant is essentially a sponge. Try to find local organic eggplants, or better yet, grow your own!

Eggplants have garnered some attention on the health front due to their high content of nasunin, which is an antioxidant that is found in the thin outer skin of deep purple varieties (and to a lesser degree, other colors). Antioxidants help to eliminate free radicals, which can do damage to animal cells, particularly those that hold skin together.

Another potential health benefit of eggplants relates to the prevention of cancer. Some studies point to nasunin as an inhibitor to some types of cancer cells. While there is ongoing research in the area of antioxidants and their role in preventing cancer, this news has brought the humble eggplant a little more into the limelight.

Some studies have found that eggplants can work to reduce cholesterol. However, these have most often focused on extracts from eggplants. While a person might need to eat a lot of eggplants to see any real reduction in cholesterol, as a natural food that is almost free from fat (and what few fats there are include the “good” unsaturated fat that comes from almost all fruits and veggies) it certainly will not hurt cholesterol levels.

Eggplants, like other fruits and vegetables, are rich in fiber, which rids the body of toxins and helps to keep a person regular. It is also a vitamin-rich food, containing vitamins B1 and B6. These vitamins are easy to miss without a varied diet. It is rich in other nutrients as well, including magnesium, niacin, and folic acid.

On the negative side, some anecdotal evidence suggests that eggplants, and other members of the nightshade family may contribute to the symptoms of arthritis.1

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  1. WH Foods on Eggplants

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