Eggplant is one of the oldest edible vegetables. Its plant has been known for thousands of years from ancient China, India and in many Arab countries. However, the difficulty of growing this plant made the eggplant quite rare and expensive.
Today, the eggplant is grown in many parts of the world. As well as several properties and benefits of eggplant for health have been confirmed.
Eggplant is rich in vitamins (C and B) and minerals such as manganese, magnesium, and potassium. It is also a low-carbohydrate vegetable, making it one of the vegetables allowed in low-carbohydrate diets such as the keto diet.
Read on to know what are the properties and benefits of eggplant and how to cook it.
Related: Eggplant Caviar – Classic Recipe
Eggplant: What is it?
Eggplant is a plant in the Solanaceae family, a relative of tomatoes and potatoes. In a botanical sense, it is a berry (that is, a juicy and fleshy fruit), but in culinary terms it is considered a vegetable.
The plant arrived in Europe in the 15th century, thanks to the Portuguese navigators, who called it “beringela”. From Portuguese, the word passed into Spanish and French: aubergine.
In English, a vegetable is called an eggplant, which literally means plant eggs. Obviously, this implies the similarity of the young eggplant fruits to a chicken egg.
// Read more: Low carb vegetables
Benefits and nutrients
The benefits of eggplant are determined by its nutrient composition or nutritional value. Eggplant contains a low amount of carbohydrates (mainly vegetable fiber) and a minimal amount of protein and fat (less than 1 g per 100 g).
Among the vitamins and minerals that eggplant contains, we can highlight vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, as well as manganese, potassium, copper and magnesium.
In addition, the aubergine pulp contains polyphenols (they give the bitter taste) and the peel contains powerful anthocyanin antioxidants (they form a dark color).
Calories, carbohydrates, proteins and fats
Caloric content – 24 kcal
Proteins – 1 g
Fat – 0.2 g
Carbohydrates – 5.7 g
of which fiber – 3.4 g
of which sugars – 2.4 g
vitamin C – 4%
vitamin B6 – 4%
manganese – 13%
potassium – 7%
copper – 4%
magnesium – 3%
- Essential Nutrients – Importance and Function in the Body
- Foods rich in plant fiber
- Magnesium Rich Foods – Which Have More?
Eggplant is good for cholesterol
In the East, the eggplant is called “the vegetable of longevity”. Its potassium is good for the cardiovascular system, antioxidants and fiber help maintain healthy levels of insulin and cholesterol in the blood. They also fight neoplasms. (2)
According to studies, eggplant glycosides (solasodine rhamnosyl glycosides) can cause cancer cell death, so this compound could prevent tumor recurrence. (3)
While these studies are preliminary, it could be one of the most important nutrient benefits of eggplant.
How can you cook eggplant?
There are many ways to cook delicious eggplants. It can be fried in oil in a pan, either in chunks or slices; bake in the whole oven (previously wrapped in foil); and also cook stuffed aubergines, with meat or vegetables.
Eggplant can be cooked in various ways, one of the most popular recipes is eggplant caviar. The classic recipe contains the minimum amount of ingredients, including tomatoes, carrots, onions, and spices. Zucchini caviar – a version of the dish with the replacement of aubergine with zucchini.
Additionally, eggplant is great for roasting and grilling, and serves as a topping for barbecue on the grill.
How does the plant grow?
Despite the fact that the eggplant is a perennial plant, in modern agriculture it is grown once a year. This is because it blooms from July to September.
When the eggplants are overripe, they become rough and tasteless, the unripe ones are used as food.
Keep in mind that eggplant is one of the most difficult plants to grow. It is extremely sensitive to changes in temperature and prefers heat. For successful growth, eggplant requires high humidity and temperatures close to 25 degrees. while at temperatures below 15 ° C its seeds do not germinate.
Eggplant is one of the oldest food plants, it has been planted for thousands of years on the Asian continent.
Its nutrients include antioxidants that help the body fight inflammation of various natures and can also normalize cholesterol levels.
Because it is a low-carbohydrate, high-fiber vegetable, it is also recommended for regulating blood sugar levels.