Are you looking for the Mediterranean diet staple? Eggplant, often known as aubergine, is an important staple of the Mediterranean diet. As a matter of fact, traditional Mediterranean dishes use it. This vegetable is more versatile than you might think, both in the kitchen and garden. Here are the health benefits of eggplant and why you need to include it in your diet.
Health Benefits of Eggplant: What Is Egg Plant?
Eggplant is a member of the nightshade plant family. Usually, it falls under the classification of a vegetable. But, it is technically a fruit because it grows from flowering plants and contains seeds. There are many sizes and colors available. Even though deep purple-skinned eggplants are the most popular, they can also be red, black, or green. Its texture and bulk make it a popular vegan and vegetarian meat substitute.
How To Use Eggplant?
The long-standing use of eggplant in Chinese and Italian cuisines helped popularize its use. Today, it is used in various world cuisines, including French ratatouille, Turkish karnıyarık, Turkish & Greek moussaka, and famous Italian parmigiana di melanzane, Middle Eastern baba ganoush, and Asian stir-fries and curries. Besides these classics, eggplant can be served as baked, fried, grilled, steamed, stewed, or garnish.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Eggplant?
The health benefits of eggplant go far beyond its unique flavor and texture. For thousands of years, eggplant has been used in traditional medicine. For example, ancient Indian ayurvedic medicine practitioners used white eggplant for diabetes. Meanwhile, the plant’s roots were used to treat asthma.
Eggplants are nutrient-rich. They are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals and have low-calorie content. In addition, eggplants contain a high concentration of anthocyanins. This is an antioxidant pigment that protects cells from damage. According to an animal study, eggplants may help improve cardiovascular health. It can also lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides. In addition, they are low in calories but high in fiber, which may help lower blood sugar levels and weight loss.
What Makes Eggplant An Anticancer Food?
Besides the mentioned health benefits of eggplant above, this vegetable can also be an anti-cancer food. Several chemicals found in eggplant have demonstrated anti-cancer effects.
For example, Solasodine rhamnosyl glycosides (SRGs) are a type of compound found in nightshade plants like eggplant. SRGs cause cancer cell death in animal studies. Moreover, they may also aid in preventing cancer recurrence in some types of cancer. Although the research is limited on the subject, it has been demonstrated in a study that SRGs are particularly effective against skin cancer in topical application.
Since eggplants contain anthocyanins (potent antioxidants) they may impart other anticancer benefits. For instance, anthocyanins may aid in the prevention of new blood vessels making in tumors. They are also associated with reducing inflammation and blocking enzymes that aid in spreading cancer cells.
Furthermore, according to several studies, eating more vegetables and fruit, such as eggplant, reduces the risk of certain cancers. According to a review of over 200 studies, eating vegetables and fruits protects against bladder, colorectal, stomach, cervical, ovary, breast, and pancreatic cancer.