Eggplant also known as garden eggs come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Their skin may be purple, white, with a common characteristic feature which is the whitish color of its flesh and seed.
Their ability to form a soft, tasty sauce with eggplant flavor and delicious with plain, boiled vegetables like potatoes, yams and plantains, eaten raw with spicy peanut butter in Eastern Nigeria.
The vitamins in eggplant consist primarily of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), B vitamins, folate and vitamin C. Eggplant is also rich in minerals, boasting a large quantity of potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous. It has no fat, has low carbs and yields 27 calories in a 1-cup serving.
They are a low calorie fruit, which makes them good news for weight watchers. Eggplant is a good source of dietary fiber, which can help protect against type 2 diabetes and keeps the digestive system regular. Eating them is also of benefit in cases of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. They act as gentle laxative because of its cellulose (vegetable fiber) content.
Eggplant skin contains a powerful anthocyanin called nasunin, an antioxidant that protect cell membranes from oxidative damage. They contain additional anti-oxidants called phenolic acids contained within eggplant particularly chlorogenic acid. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service found chlorogenic acid to be the dominant antioxidant compound in eggplant. They report that this is significant because chlorogenic acid has a great capacity to fight free radicals the chemicals that cause oxidation and is also able to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Chlorogenic acid is also antimutagenic, which means it can protect cells from mutating into cancer cells; and it is also antiviral.
The peel/skin (purple/deep blue varieties) have significant amounts of phenolic flavonoid phytochemical called anthocyanins. Scientific studies have shown that these antioxidants have a potential health effects against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases. Phytochemicals may be called antioxidants, flavonoids, flavanols, flavanones, isoflavones, anthocyanins, anthocyanidins, carotenoids, polyphenols, phenolic acids, and many other names. Phytochemicals refers to a wide variety of compounds made by plants, but is mainly used to describe those compounds that may affect human health. Phytochemicals are found in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains. Phytochemicals are promoted for the prevention and treatment of many health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, inflammation, diabetes, and high blood pressure. There is some evidence that certain phytochemicals may help prevent the formation of potential carcinogens (substances that cause cancer), block the action of carcinogens on their target organs or tissue, or act on cells to suppress cancer development.
Eggplant makes an excellent addition to any diet and they can be added as part of our regular diet.