Eggplants are a heavenly delight for vegetarians. Apart from being a popular choice in different cuisines, they offer a multitude of benefits as well.
The nutritious eggplant, also called brinjal or aubergine, hails from the nightshade family of fruits and vegetables that includes potatoes, peppers and tomatoes. Botanically, the brinjal is a fruit, not a vegetable and the brinjal plant grows just like tomatoes as vines. For its utility in the kitchen or rather, for cooking purposes, it is considered a vegetable. Just as other colourful veggies, this vegetable too has a host of health benefits.
Health Benefits Of Eggplants/ Brinjal:
Discover the hosts of health benefits this humble vegetable offers.
1. Helps keeping diabetes in control:
The eggplants are a very rich source of fiber and low soluble carbohydrates. Thus they are highly beneficial for regulation of blood sugar levels and also to control the absorption of glucose. This makes them the best option for people suffering from type 2 diabetes.
2. Helpful to the heart:
The cholesterol levels are brought down to a great extent by the eggplant. It also helps stabilize the level of blood pressure. All this in turn lowers the risk of heart diseases. The body is also kept well hydrated thanks to the potassium content present in this vegetable. This ensures that there is no retention of fluids which prevents coronary heart diseases.
[ Read: Benefits of Tamarind ]
3. Helpful to the brain:
Eggplant contains phytonutrients which keep the cell membranes protected from any kind of damage and facilitates the message transfer from one part to another, thus preserving the memory function.
4. Helps in iron production:
We all require iron for proper functioning in our day to day life. However, too much of iron in the body is not a good sign. The content of nasunin that is present in eggplant helps remove excess iron from the body. This brings down the risk of getting heart attacks as it damages the existence of the free radicals in one’s system.
[ Read: Benefits of Cabbage ]
5. Facilitates weight loss:
Eggplant is considered to be high in water content yet low in calorie count. This feature makes it very ideal as a healthy diet for people who want to reduce weight. The spongy texture of the vegetable is what facilitates these characteristics, hence one must consume in its natural form as much as possible.
6. Helps in digestion:
The digestive system is kept healthy and safe because of the good content of fibre in brinjals. This prevents constipation as well. The risk of colon cancer is also eliminated.
[ Read: Benefits Of Okra ]
7. Keeps chronic diseases at bay:
Eggplant reduces the chance of cardiovascular diseases and strokes.
8. Helps quit smoking:
Eggplant has small amount of nicotine which helps those who want to gradually quit smoking.
[ Read: Health Benefits of Bael ]
9. Anti bacterial properties:
The eggplant has good amounts of vitamin C which make it an effective anti-viral and anti- bacterial source.
Skin Benefits of Eggplant/Brinjal:
10. Flawless skin:
Eggplants are very rich in minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber. This helps keep the system clean from within which reflects in the form of a flawless skin outside.
11. Glowing skin:
Eggplants have a good amount of water content. This helps in keeping your body and skin well hydrated. The minerals and vitamins also help give a clear and smooth tone.
12. Soft and supple skin:
The water content found in eggplants help keep your skin soft and supple.
The skin of eggplants have a lot of anthocyanins. These antioxidants act as anti-ageing agents.
14. Prevents skin cancer:
A particular antioxidant found in eggplant helps prevent skin cancer.
Hair Benefits of Eggplant/Brinjal:
15. Strong hair:
The water content of eggplants nourish your hair roots from within. This in turn helps keep your hair stronger.
16. Hydrated scalp:
Eggplants come with a good amount of minerals and vitamins which give nourishment to your scalp and keep it healthy. Hence it keeps scalp-related problems at bay.
17. Hair growth:
Eggplants come with enzymes which help stimulate the follicles of your hair. This generates good hair growth and makes your hair healthier.
18. Hair texture:
People with rough and dry hair should eat more eggplants. It helps give a healthy shine to your hair while improving its overall texture.
How to Select:
- Look for eggplants with smooth and shiny skin.
- The color should always be shiny bright whether it is green, purple or white.
- The fruit should be heavy and firm.
- Make sure there are no patches on the skin.
- The skin should be thin.
- If it is wrinkled, it is old. These would taste bitter.
- Press against the skin of the eggplant a little, if you see an impression, it means it is ripe.
- If the skin is too soft, it means it is too old and would surely taste bitter.
- It is advisable to choose a fruit with lesser seeds.
- Always check the blossom ends of the eggplant. If it has a larger scar it would have lesser seeds.
How to Store:
- It is best to use eggplants as soon as possible because they perish faster.
- Store it in a refrigerator. Remember eggplants are sensitive to both extreme heat and cold. They tend to perish faster under these conditions.
- Never cut and store eggplants. They start perishing the moment the skin is cut and exposed to air.
- Wrap eggplant in a plastic bag and store in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator.
- If you bought it in a plastic wrapped state, take it out of the plastic for some time to let it breathe. Now wrap it in a fresh plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- Always use a stainless steel knife to cut eggplants. Carbon steel would react with the nutrients present in eggplants and make it turn black.
- Eggplants can be enjoyed with or without skin. However, it is advised that you have it with skin to intake all the goodness present in its skin.
- Cut eggplant in the required size and shape. Sprinkle some salt and let it sit like that for at least 30 minutes. This will help bring the water content down and absorb less oil while cooking.
- Salting eggplants will also help cut out its bitter taste to some extent.
- Rinse eggplant after you have salted them. This will help remove excess salt from it.
- If you chose to bake eggplant as whole, make sure you pierce a lot of small holes on the skin using a fork. This will help the steam to pass through and escape.
- After baking, pass a knife through eggplant. If it passes through easily, then it is ready to be cooked further or eaten.
Grilled Eggplant Recipe:
- Few medium sized eggplants
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
- Salt for sprinkling and to taste
- 1 cup warm water
- Take a large bowl
- Dissolve 2 tbsp salt in a cup of warm water.
- Now add three quarts of cold water and set it aside.
- Wash and trim eggplants and cut into thick and diagonal slices.
- Put the slices in water and let them sit for 30 minutes.
- Heat a gas grill (or charcoal) on high-medium flame.
- Drain eggplants and put it on paper towels.
- Now coat slices with olive oil and sprinkle salt.
- Lay all the slices on a baking tray/sheet.
- Place the slices on gas grill with the coated side facing down.
- Close the lid for some time.
- Cook until you see grill marks.
- Now coat the other side with olive oil and sprinkle salt.
- Turn all the slices over and grill the other side as well for about 5-6 minutes.
- Cook till eggplant feels tender and you see prominent grill marks.
- Serve hot.
- This dish can be enjoyed with chutney/dip sauce.
We are sure this article would change the way you look at eggplants next time. Hope you enjoyed reading this article. Please leave your comments below. Thank you!
Nutrition chart of the eggplant
1 cup or 82 gms of eggplant consists of 11% fiber, 10% manganese, 5.4% molybdenum, 5.3% potassium, 4.5% folate, 3.5% vitamin K, 3.5% copper, 63.5% vitamin B, 3.1% tryptophan, 3% vitamin C and 2.8% magnesium
Now that you know the host of benefits eggplant offers, ensure to make it a part of your weekly diet. Don’t forget to share your views in the comments section below. Stay fit, stay healthy!
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