Eggplant, aka aubergine, is part of the nightshade family. It comes in many varieties, sizes, shapes, and colors. It is thought to originate from India, grown first as an ornamental plant, and was brought to American by Thomas Jefferson in the 18th century.
Eggplant is most famous in ratatouille, eggplant parmesean, eggplant pizzas (a favorite at our house), and babba ganoush. It is best prepared baked, grilled, or fried. Many recipes will have you slice or cube the eggplant, sprinkle it with salt, then allow it to sit and "sweat" for 20 or 30 minutes. Not only does this draw out extra moisture for breaded recipes, it also takes care of bitterness in the eggplant. Some people are hesitate to try eggplant, but prepared correctly, it can be a real treat.
So, what are the health benefits of eating eggplant?
Eggplant contains quite the array of essential nutrients.
Because of the high fiber in eggplant, this vegetbale has historically been used to manage diabetes. Fiber also helps to protect the digestive track.
Eggplants contain phenols, which are powerful in fighting free radicals that cause cancer. Specifically, studies have found that the nutrients in eggplant help protect against liver and colon cancers.
Eggplant is rich in phytochemicals. The purple color of the skin of eggplant comes from a protective phytochemical called nasunin. This phytonutrient protects fats in brain cell memebranes from damage. It also protects your heart. Studies show that people who eat phytochemicals have lower risk of heart disease. Eggplant is also heart healthy because of it's bioflavonoid content wich can help to control high blood pressure.
Eggplants eggplants also contain Vitamins C, B6, and K, copper, folate, manganese, magnesium, niacin, potassium, phosphorus, thiamin.
Try out these recipes:
Sheet Pan Eggplant Parmesan from The Two Bite Club
Baba Ganoush from Genius Kitchen
Ratatouille from Martha Stewart