The eggplant also known by some people as garden egg is one of the common consumed vegetables. It has the shape of an egg, and it really looks like a fruit, but it’s not a fruit but vegetable. It enjoys worldwide consumption among people of different races and nationalities.
Its botanical (scientific name) is Solanum melongena. It comes in different colours: green, purple, white and cream. Eggplant can be consumed raw and can also be cooked. It could be stewed for rice. This is especially the case in Liberia where Liberians use eggplant for making stew, together with banga( made from palm kernel fruit). In Nigeria especially among the Igbos, eggplant is used together with kolanut for serving visitors. When served with visitors, it goes together with groundnut paste called Ose-oji or Okwa-ose in Igbo. Igbos also use eggplant as vegetable for eating yam. It is cooked and mixed with white yam together with other vegetables (like the eggplant leaf) and other food condiments.
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According to the USDA Database, the nutritional value of raw eggplant per 100g is as follows:
Carbohydrates – 5.88g
- Sugars – 3.53g
- Dietary fibre – 3g
Fat – 0.18g
Protein – 0.98g
Vitamins %Daily Value
- Thiamine(B1) – 0.039mg 3%
- Riboflavin(B2) – 0. 037mg 3%
- Niacin(B3) – 649mg 4%
- Pantothenic acid(B5)–0.281mg 6%
- Vitamin B6 – 0.084mg 6%
- Folate(B9) – 22µg 6%
- Vitamin C – 2.2mg 3%
- Vitamin E – 0.3mg 2%
- Vitamin K – 3.5µg 3%
Minerals Quantity % Daily Value
Calcium 9mg 1%
Iron 0.23mg 2%
Magnesium 14mg 4%
Manganese 0.232mg 11%
Phosphorous 24mg 3%
Potassium 229mg 5%
Zinc 0.16mg 2%
From the eggplant nutrient, vitamin and mineral composition above, we can see that eggplant is a good source of dietary fibre. Additionally, eggplant contains important phytonutrients, chlorogenic acid and nasunin. The health benefits of eggplant include:
- It helps weight loss
- It reduces blood sugar
- It can improve vision
- It helps to lower body cholesterol
- It helps digestion
- It helps the liver to function well
- It fights cancer cells
How does eggplant help weight loss?
If you have ever consumed a small plate full of eggplant such as one in the image above, you will notice after consumption of the eggplants that you feel satisfied for a long time – your stomach gets full. By this, the eggplant would prevent you from taking more foods which are higher in calories. Nutritionists advise taking the green eggplant for weight loss.
Eggplant’s control of blood sugar
Diabetics are advised to make eggplant their friend. Eggplant helps to regulate the blood sugar level because it slows down the absorption of sugar in the body – this is chiefly due to its low soluble carbohydrates and high fibre content.
Eggplants usefulness in digestion
We have mentioned that eggplant has high fibre content. Foods high in fibre facilitate digestion in the body. Eggplant helps digestion, improves gut health by preventing constipation and bloating.
Eggplant is good for your eyes
Eggplant contains nicotinoid alkaloids which makes it bitter and which is beneficial to vision. Also the spongy tissues of eggplant can help those suffering glaucoma because of their protective effects.
Eggplant helps the liver to function well
The liver detoxifies the body by removing the toxins our body has accumulated from food, drugs and the environment. Normal functioning of the liver requires protection of antioxidants. Antioxidants are scavengers of free radicals and toxins in the body. Eggplant contains moderate amounts of antioxidants. People who are prone to liver problems and those suffering liver diseases should consume eggplant in adequate amount.
Eggplant is beneficial to pregnant women
During pregnancy, women tend to lack one or more of the essential nutrients and minerals due to the demands of the growing baby. Eggplant has a lot of readily available nutrients, vitamins and minerals required by the foetus(baby). These nutrients and minerals are easily absorbed by the body making eggplant an excellent vegetable during pregnancy.
Eggplant helps to fight cancer cells
Researchers have found that eggplants contain polyphenols which have anti-cancer properties. Also eggplants contain chlorogenic acid and anthocyanins which offer protection against damage by oxidative (free) radicals. In this way eggplants are beneficial in the prevention and management of cancer.
Have a serving from the plate!