Did you know the literal translation of ‘baingan’ actually means ‘without merit’?
This long (sometimes round), fleshy, and purple veggie is often one of the last options in your gourmet menu. There is a misconception that it is not as nutritious as the other much-lauded vegetables. Also, we assume that any dish that includes eggplant is going to be bland. But who says eggplants have to be boring? From ratatouille made in the romantic city of Paris to the eggplant parmesan made in the beautiful cliffside of Sicily, this vegetable is a part of many savoury dishes that people all over the world absolutely drool over. This humble vegetable has a lot to offer – it is highly nutritious, and is very effective in the treatment of diabetes, obesity, hypertension, acne, and hair loss. Read on to know more about the benefits of eggplant.
What Is Eggplant?
Scientific Name – Solanum melongena
Origin – Southern and Eastern Asia
Other Names – Baingan (Hindi), Vankaya (Telugu), Kathirikai (Tamil), Vazhuthanaga (Malayalam), Badanekai (Kannada), Ringan (Gujarati), Vaangi (Marathi), and Bengun (Bengali)
The nutritious eggplant, also called brinjal or aubergine, hails from the nightshade family of fruits and vegetables that includes potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes (the most misunderstood line of veggies).
Eggplant Nutrition Facts
What is the nutritional value of eggplant? Eggplant is rich in calcium, iron, magnesium and several other important nutrients that aid proper functioning of your body. In fact, 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.
So this was about eggplant nutritional value. Now, lets discuss about its various types. Technically, there are seven different types eggplants. Take a look:
- Japanese Eggplant – The long, thin, dark (almost black), and glossy variety from Japan is the first on this list. Japanese eggplants have a soft, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth texture after being cooked, which will make you want to include them in your special meal.
- Chinese Eggplant – This variety from China is similar to the Japanese one, just longer, lighter, and less sweet. It has juicy, meaty flesh with very few seeds, making it perfect for stir-frying and sauteing. Chinese eggplants come in two varieties – Oriental Charm and Pingtung Long.
- Graffiti Eggplant – You guessed it right! This distinctively beautiful variety has got its name due to the striped and scattered markings on its skin. Grafitti eggplants have really thin peels and small seeds and are available in all sizes. Good for baking, stewing, and roasting, this type doesn’t need to be peeled. It is widely popular throughout the globe and has a number of nicknames, including Purple Rain, Pandora Striped Rose, Shooting Stars, Fairytale, and Listada De Gandia.
- Bianca Eggplant – This Italian variety is round and huge with a light purple and white skin. It has a thoroughly creamy and sweet taste, making it perfect for stuffing and making gravy.
- Tango Eggplant – This is a special white species. It is shaped like an egg or a pear. It has a thick skin and a tender and creamy flesh. The tango turns yellow after harvesting and becomes stronger and firmer.
- Santana Eggplant – The Italian variety that is popular for making the Turkish delicacy baba ghanoush. It is dark purple and is shaped like a tear drop. It is tender and absolutely perfect for a quick grill roast.
- Thai Eggplant – This golf ball-sized Thai veggie is bitter to taste and requires seed removal. Though available in a number of colors, this variety is particularly known for its light green tint with white/yellow stripes.
Trivia: Botanically, brinjal is a fruit (a berry), not a vegetable. It grows on vines, just like tomatoes. For cooking purposes, it is considered a vegetable.
What Is Eggplant Good For?
- Provides Flawless Skin
- Imparts Instant Glow
- Keeps Your Skin Soft And Supple
- Promotes Anti-aging
- Cures Actinic Keratosis
- Helps Control Diabetes
- Good For Cardiovascular Health
- Boosts Memory
- Removes Excess Iron From The Body
- Facilitates Weight Loss
- Aids Digestion
- Helps Quit Smoking
- Has Antibacterial Properties
- Reduces Blood Pressure And Stress Levels
- Prevents Cancer
- Helps Prevent Cognitive Disorders
- Enhances Bone Health
- Treats Anemia
- Prevents Congenital Disorders
- Lowers Cholesterol Levels
- Provides Instant Energy
- Helps Strengthen The Immune System
- Is Good For Babies
- Enhances Liver Health
- Treats Acid Reflux
- Relieves Constipation
- Treats Gout
- Cures Hemorrhoids
- Cures Insomnia
- Treats Peptic Ulcers
- Alleviates Warts
Skin Benefits Of Eggplant
Eggplant is rich in nutrients that can work wonders on your skin. Apart from making your skin soft and smooth, it can also help reduce the signs of aging. Read on to know more eggplant benefits for your skin.
1. Provides Flawless Skin
Eggplants are rich in minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber. This keeps your system clean from within, which makes your skin flawless (1).
2. Imparts Instant Glow
Is constant exposure to the sun making your skin dull and lifeless? No worries, this wonder veggie has a solution for all.
Eggplants have a good amount of water content (2). This helps to keep your body and skin well hydrated. The minerals and vitamins also impart a clear and smooth tone. Include this wonderful vegetable in your diet, and make your skin soft and glowing.
3. Keeps Your Skin Soft And Supple
Your skin tends to get dry, especially during winters. The cold weather strips the natural moisture of the skin, making it dry and itchy.
No worries, eggplant is here to help you. Its water content can hydrate your skin and make it soft and supple.
Use this mask on your face and neck to keep your skin hydrated most of the day:
What You Need
- 50 grams shredded eggplant
- 2 tablespoons aloe juice
- 1 teaspoon organic honey
What You Need To Do
- Mix the ingredients until a smooth paste is formed.
- This mask needs to be applied in two stages. Firstly, apply a portion of this paste on your clean face and let it get absorbed well. Then, apply the rest and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Wipe it off using a clean cotton ball.
- Wash your face with warm water and rub a piece of cosmetic ice on it for a few seconds. Let it air-dry.
- Finish it off by applying your trusted moisturizer.
- You can use this mask twice a week.
4. Promotes Anti-aging
The dream of looking younger than your age can be easily achieved with the help of kitchen ingredients like eggplants. And yes, don’t peel that skin off or char it and throw away. The skin of the eggplant has a lot of anthocyanins, and these antioxidants act as anti-aging agents (3).
5. Cures Actinic Keratosis
Don’t we all love to bask in the sun during the cold months? It makes us feel warm and infuses the essential vitamin D in our bodies. But, as they say, excess of everything is bad – too much exposure to the harmful sunrays can wreak havoc on our skin, resulting in scaly and red patches. This condition is also called Actinic Keratosis.
Eggplant is rich in phytonutrients that are effective in soothing your skin (4). It works exceptionally well when used in combination with apple cider vinegar (ACV).
Here’s how you can make your own eggplant cream:
What You Need
- 1 cup minced eggplant
- 1 ½ cup ACV
What You Need To Do
- Put the minced eggplant in a jar and pour ACV over it.
- Place this jar in your refrigerator and let it stay for at least three days until the vinegar has darkened.
- Your cream is ready to use. Just dab a cotton ball in it and apply on the affected area several times a day.
Hair Benefits Of Eggplant
Eggplants can be an unpopular choice for hair masks, but that doesn’t make them any less effective. Read on to know why and how to use eggplants to enhance hair health.
6. Makes Your Hair Stronger
Since eggplant has a high water content, it helps nourish your scalp from within, ensuring stronger roots.
Simply mince a small eggplant and rub your scalp with it for 10-15 minutes. Wash it off with lukewarm water and a mild shampoo. You can repeat this process once a week to get the desired results.
7. Helps Keep Our Scalp Healthy
This colorful vegetable is packed with a good amount of minerals and vitamins that nourish your scalp and keep it healthy. Hence, it keeps scalp-related problems, including dandruff, itchiness, and scalp diseases, at bay.
Use the hair mask below moisturize your scalp.
What You Need
- 1 eggplant
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/3 cup sour cream
What You Need To Do
- Blend all the ingredients until a smooth paste is formed.
- Apply this paste evenly to your hair and scalp and leave it on for half an hour.
- Wash it off using a mild shampoo and lukewarm water.
- You can use this mask once a week for smoother and prettier hair.
8. Promotes Hair Growth
This is one of the surprising brinjal benefits. Losing several hair strands every day can be really heartbreaking. And purchasing those costly hair products that promise the moon isn’t a feasible option always.
Don’t worry – you have eggplant, the true ‘garden egg’.
Eggplants have enzymes that help stimulate the follicles of your hair, which enhances hair growth.
9. Improves Hair Texture
People with rough and dry hair should eat more eggplants. They impart a healthy shine to your hair and improve its overall texture as well.
Health Benefits Of Eggplants
“The happiest omen for a New Year is first Mount Fuji, then the falcon, and lastly eggplant.”
This ancient Japanese proverb simply states how culturally strong the eggplant is to be included in one of the happy omens. Many other eras and countries have also quoted the importance of this particular veggie.
In this section, we’ll enlighten you about the wonderful eggplant health benefits (umm..berry). Take a look:
10. Helps Control Diabetes
This simple veggie can mitigate the threat of diabetes – one of the killer diseases.
Eggplant is a rich source of fiber and is low in soluble carbohydrates (5). It can help regulate the blood sugar levels and control the absorption of glucose. This makes it the best option for people who have type 2 diabetes.
11. Good For Cardiovascular Health
Having eggplant regularly can enhance your heart health.
It helps to lower the cholesterol levels and stabilize your blood pressure. All this, in turn, reduces the risk of heart diseases. Your body is also well-hydrated, thanks to the potassium content present in this vegetable (6). This ensures there is no retention of fluids, which prevents coronary heart diseases.
12. Boosts Memory
Include eggplants in your diet to sharpen your memory.
Eggplant contains phytonutrients that protect the cell membranes from damage and facilitate message transfer from one cell to another, thus preserving the memory function (7). But, keep in mind these essential nutrients are present in the skin of the veggie, so think before you discard the peel.
13. Removes Excess Iron From The Body
Iron transports oxygen to all parts of the body and hence, is an essential mineral. However, too much of iron in the body is not a good sign.
Nasunin present in eggplant helps remove excess iron from the body (8). It scavenges the free radicals in your body and protects the cells from damage.
14. Facilitates Weight Loss
Are you looking for a healthier alternative to lose weight – one that doesn’t require you to starve? Go for this colorful wonder!
Wondering, how eggplant for weight loss is beneficial? Well, eggplant has high water content and very less calories (just 35 calories per cup) (9). This makes it very ideal for people who want to reduce weight. The spongy texture of the vegetable facilitates these characteristics. Hence, you must consume eggplant in its natural form as much as possible. The vegetable also has high fiber content, which makes you feel full.
15. Aids Digestion
Do you experience constant troubles with your stomach? Why don’t you try the nutritious eggplant?
The high dietary fiber content of brinjal keeps your digestive system healthy (10). It adds bulk to your stool, making it easy to pass through the digestive tract. Fiber stimulates peristaltic motion, controlling the contraction of the stomach and intestine muscles. It also helps control the secretion of gastric juices, which increases the absorption of nutrients in the body.
16. Helps Quit Smoking
Giving up smoking is a daunting task. We all have that friend who has tried to quit smoking but has been unsuccessful because the nicotine fix is just too addictive. Did you ever imagine that a vegetable can help you kick the butt?
According to a study published in 1993, eggplant has the highest level of nicotine when compared to every other vegetable (11). Eggplant has nicotinic acid, also known as vitamin PP. This vitamin reduces nicotine dependence and helps those who want to quit smoking.
17. Has Antibacterial Properties
Eggplant has good amounts of vitamin C, which makes it an effective antiviral and antibacterial (12). This makes the eggplant a viable option to heal cuts and wounds.
18. Reduces Blood Pressure And Stress Levels
Blood pressure and stress are not uncommon anymore and can happen to anyone – even teenagers. The situation is grave, and medicines cannot always help.
Eggplants are rich in bioflavonoids that are known to keep the blood pressure and stress levels under control (13).
19. Prevents Cancer
Research has found that eggplant is a rich source of phenolic compounds, which strengthen our body’s defense system. It is also rich in vitamin C – another contributor to a better immune system that helps stimulate the production and working of the WBCs. These two, along with manganese, nasunin (an organic antioxidant exclusive to eggplant), and chlorogenic acid, help inhibit the carcinogenic cells by scavenging the free radicals (14).
20. Helps Prevent Cognitive Disorders
Eggplant can help those suffering from cognitive disorders.
Free radicals lurking around in the brain may be responsible for neural degeneration, Alzheimer’s, and dementia. Nasuninis a potent antioxidant that is known to inhibit detrimental behavior in the brain by scavenging these free radicals.
21. Enhances Bone Health
Eggplant helps cure a number of bone-related disorders, including bone degradation and osteoporosis.
This incredible veggie has phenolic compounds as well as essential nutrients like iron, calcium, and potassium. All these assist in providing stronger and healthier bones.
22. Treats Anemia
The world has seen an unbelievable surge in the number of anemic people over the last two decades, reaching to a whopping 1.62 billion as per the WHO database (15).
As we know, iron deficiency is one of the root causes of anemia, which has symptoms such as headaches, depression, weakness, and cognitive malfunction. Therefore, to combat anemia, doctors suggest a diet that is rich in iron. Eggplant contains around 0.2 mg of iron per 100 grams. This nutritional vegetable is also rich in copper (about 0.173 mg in 100 grams), another essential component that encourages the formation of RBCs. These two minerals work together effectively to aid the proper production and distribution of RBCs, thus boosting the energy and hemoglobin levels.
23. Prevents Congenital Disorders
The folate and folic acid present in eggplant promote proper fetus growth, making it an essential part of an expecting mother’s diet (16). It also helps protect infants from the chances of neural tube defects and aids their brain development.
So, for a healthy pregnancy, make it a habit to have eggplant daily.
24. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Many studies have concluded that having eggplants can help reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. Nasunin, along with terpene phytonutrients, helps relax the walls of the blood vessels, improving the blood flow in the body.
25. Provides Instant Energy
Feeling drained after a long workout session? Eggplant can help replenish that lost energy.
Eggplant contains water-soluble niacin (vitamin B3) that helps the body break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats to produce energy (17). This vitamin also directly participates in the production of cholesterol and fatty acids.
26. Strengthens The Immune System
Despite not being particularly high in vitamin C, eggplant can strengthen your immune system due to the presence of powerful phytonutrients and antioxidants. These elements have antimicrobial and antiviral properties, which shield your body from foreign body invasion. They also help scavenge harmful free radicals, protecting your body and cells from severe damage.
27. Is Good For Babies
Eggplant is rich in vitamins A and K, calcium, and folate, which make it an ideal food item for your infants. It also contains dietary fiber that helps regularize the bowel movements.
Eggplants can be introduced to infants aged between 8-10 months, preferably without skin at first.
28. Enhances Liver Health
Eggplant is the perfect choice for those suffering from liver disorders. It helps increase the production of bile in the liver, dissolving extra fat and preventing the chances of liver failure. Having eggplants can also help reduce liver pain.
29. Treats Acid Reflux
Have you ever experienced bloating after a spicy meal? Or, did you ever experience chest pain after you have had a large meal? Chances are you might be suffering from acid reflux.
Thankfully, eggplant is touted to be one of the best natural remedies to cure acid reflux. Since it is alkaline in nature, it helps neutralize the extra acid in the stomach, relieving heartburn and acidity.
30. Relieves Constipation
This colorful vegetable can reduce body heat (18). It also helps eliminate the possibilities of food stagnation in the large intestine by ensuring proper peristalsis movement.
Additionally, eggplants avoid the production of heat toxins in the system that occurs due to the old, undigested food.
31. Treats Gout
Gout, primarily caused by increased levels of uric acid in the blood, can be easily treated with the help of eggplants.
Uric acid levels in the blood are highly dependent on the breaking down of purines (nitrogen-based compounds) in the body. Since the eggplant is quite low in purines, it automatically becomes one of the gout-friendly vegetables.
32. Cures Hemorrhoids
Eggplant, when applied topically, has proven to be an amazing home remedy for painful piles. It has worked well for prolapsed hemorrhoids that are ruptured and cause bleeding and pain.
Here’s how you can use this wonderful veggie to cure hemorrhoids:
What You Need
3 to 5 thin slices of eggplant
What You Need To Do
1. Apply fresh slices of raw eggplant on the affected area and leave it on until the bleeding stops.
2. Repeat this process once daily until the symptoms subside.
Note: Alternatively, prepare an ointment by mixing mashed eggplant and unsalted butter in 2:5 ratio. Apply this on the affected area twice a day.
33. Cures Insomnia
If you have trouble sleeping at night and find yourself tossing and turning in bed, you might be suffering from insomnia. It might sound absurd, but eggplant is touted to be one of the superfoods that can treat insomnia.
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) found in the eggplant calms your mind and improves sleep.
34. Treats Peptic Ulcers
Eggplant has cooling properties that help cure peptic ulcers by smoothing the stomach lining. It is also rich in powerful antioxidants that further reduce the chances of the peptic ulcer’s transformation into cancer.
35. Alleviate Warts
Looking at the unpleasant bumps called warts on your skin can be quite disturbing, and you become ready to move heavens to cure this source of embarrassment. You actually don’t have to – the solution is right there in your kitchen.
Eggplant’s antimicrobial and antiviral properties help eliminate ugly warts. All you need is to scoop out a piece of eggplant (slightly larger than the wart’s size) and tape it tightly on the affected area. Leave it on for a few hours and then remove it. Repeat this process daily to get rid of warts.
Selection And Storage Of Eggplants
How To Select
- Look for eggplants that are heavy and firm with a smooth and thin skin. The color should always be bright, whether it is green, purple or white. Always choose a fruit with lesser seeds.
- Make sure there are no patches on the skin.
- 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 will surely taste bitter.
- Always check the blossom ends of the eggplant. If it has a larger scar, it will have lesser seeds.
How To Store
- It is best to use eggplants as soon as possible because they perish faster.
- Store them 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 an eggplant. It starts perishing the moment the skin is cut and exposed to air. Instead, wrap the whole 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. Then, wrap it in a fresh plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- Always use a stainless steel knife to cut an eggplant. Carbon steel will react with the nutrients present in the eggplant and make it turn black.
- It is advised that you have eggplant with the skin to enjoy all the goodness present in its skin.
- Cut the eggplant into the required size and shape. Sprinkle some salt and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. This will help bring the water content down, and it will absorb less oil while cooking.
- Salting eggplants will also help cut out their bitter taste to some extent. Rinse eggplants after you have salted them. This will help remove the excess salt from them.
- If you choose to bake the eggplant as a whole, make sure you pierce a lot of small holes on the skin with a fork. This will help the steam to pass through and escape. After baking, pass a knife through the eggplant. If it passes through easily, it is ready to be cooked further or eaten.
A Word Of Caution
Eggplants have a few risk factors associated with them, and ignoring them might lead to serious health hazards. Take a look:
- Eggplants belong to the nightshade family of vegetables that are associated with allergic reactions. While the eggplant isn’t as common as tomato or peppers as an allergen, you should still check for any allergies before using it.
- Pregnant women are not advised to have too much of eggplants as they are highly diuretic in nature and can cause damage to the fetus.
- If you’re on antidepressant drugs, please refrain from consuming eggplants as it may react with your drugs.
That was all about the amazing benefits of eggplant. Don’t forget to add this colorful veggie to your diet for better skin, hair, and health.
How did you find this post on benefits of eggplant or brinjal? Share your views in the comments section below.
Stay fit, stay healthy!
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