Eggplants can offer several health benefits, like maintaining heart health, promoting weight loss, improving blood circulation and preventing diabetes.
Eggplant is a vegetable that is low calories and has a high water and fiber content. It contains several substances with antioxidant properties, such as flavonoids, nasunin and vitamin C.
Eggplant can be used in a variety of culinary preparations, such as salads, juices, soups or creams.
The main health benefits of eggplant are:
1. Maintaining heart health
Regular consumption of eggplant helps reduce LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as it contains nasunin and anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants that help prevent heart problems such as atherosclerosis, stroke and heart attack.
2. Improving circulation
Eggplant has anti-inflammatory properties that help relax blood vessels, facilitating blood circulation and helping to regulate blood pressure. In addition, it also has potassium, a mineral that promotes the excretion of sodium through urine, lowering blood pressure.
3. Promoting weight loss
Eggplant is rich in fiber, so it can increase the feeling of satiety and reduce food consumption. Furthermore, it is low in calories and can be included in a weight loss diet.
4. Preventing anemia
As it is a good source of folic acid, eating eggplant regularly helps stimulate the production of blood cells, including red blood cells, platelets and white blood cells.
5. Regulating blood sugar
Because it is rich in antioxidants and fiber, consuming eggplant helps delay the absorption of carbohydrates in the intestine, making it an excellent option for preventing diabetes and for people who are diabetic.
6. Boosting memory and brain function
Eggplant contains phytonutrients that prevent damage caused by free radicals to neuronal cells, taking care of brain health. Additionally, it contains folic acid and magnesium, which are important minerals for brain function, helping to improve memory and cognitive processes.
7. Promoting gut health
Consuming eggplant can also prevent intestinal problems, due to the presence of fiber in this vegetable that helps eliminate toxins, facilitate digestion and regulate intestinal transit, improving constipation and reducing the risk of developing gastric or colon cancer.
The following table shows the nutritional composition of 100 g of raw eggplant:
It is important to highlight the above health benefits can be obtained when eggplant is added to a balanced diet and an active lifestyle.
How to eat
To maintain its healthy properties, eggplant should be eaten raw or grilled, roasted or cooked. It can be used in various dishes as a substitute for pasta when preparing lasagna, added to salads or used as a pizza topping.
Very large eggplants tend to have a bitter taste which can be reduced by adding salt to the eggplant slices and leaving it marinate for 20 or 30 minutes. Then wash and dry the eggplant slices, and cook immediately.
Despite its health benefits, you should not consume more than 3 eggplants per day, as excess intake can cause side effects like headache, diarrhea, malaise and abdominal pain.
Some healthy eggplant recipes that can be prepared at home are:
1. Eggplant water
- 1 small eggplant with skin
- 1 lemon juice
- 1 liter of water
Cut the eggplant into slices and add to a pitcher with 1 liter of water, along with the lemon juice. The mixture must remain in the refrigerator overnight to be consumed throughout the next day.
2. Eggplant juice
- 1/2 eggplant
- Freshly squeezed orange juice (from 2 oranges)
Place the orange juice with the eggplant in a blender and mix. Then drink, preferably without adding sugar.
3. Eggplant pasta recipe
- Whole grain spagetti (for 2 people)
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 eggplant cut into cubes
- 2 chopped tomatoes
- ½ small chopped onion
- 2 crushed garlic cloves
- 230 g of mozzarella, cubed
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the pasta in water with salt. Saute the tomato, eggplant and onion in olive oil until the eggplant is cooked. Add the fresh mozzarella and stir for about 5 minutes until the cheese melts. Add the pasta and add the grated Parmesan cheese when serving.
4. Baked eggplant
- 1 eggplant
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- Oregano to taste
Slice the eggplant thinly and place on a platter. Drizzle with olive oil and then add the other seasonings. Bake for around 15 minutes in medium heat, until golden. You can also sprinkle a little mozzarella cheese before putting it in the oven.
5. Eggplant appetizer
- 1 eggplant, with the peel and cut into cubes
- 1/2 red pepper cut into cubes
- 1/2 yellow pepper cut into cubes
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon of oregano
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of white vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Drizzle the olive oil in a pan and sauté the onion and garlic. Then add the peppers and, when they are soft, add the eggplant. Once the eggplant is cooked, add the oregano, white vinegar and olive oil and then season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Eggplant lasagna
- 3 eggplants
- 2 cups of homemade tomato sauce
- 2 and ½ cups of cottage cheese
- To season: salt, pepper and oregano to taste
Preheat the oven to 200°C (or 390ºF). Wash and cut the eggplants into thin slices and then place them in a hot frying pan to dry them out. In a lasagna dish, place a thin layer of sauce to cover the bottom and then a layer of eggplant, sauce and cheese. Repeat this process until the dish is full and finish the last layer with sauce and a little mozzarella or parmesan cheese. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden.