Nutrition Spotlight: Eggplant

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Eggplants, or aubergines as they are known in certain parts of the world, are purple, glossy and teardrop shaped. Many people assume they are vegetables, but eggplants are actually fruit and are believed to have originated in India. While there are many varieties in an array of colors, the purple version is the one most recognizable. Currently, Florida, California, and Georgia grow the most in the United States.

Benefits of Eggplants

Since eggplants do not contain an overwhelming amount of one specific vitamin or nutrient, they are not mentioned by many as a helpful ingredient. However, the sole benefit of eggplants comes from the variety of healthy components it contains. Eggplants have excellent amounts of fiber, folate, potassium, and manganese, as well as vitamins C, K, and B6, phosphorus, copper, thiamin, niacin, magnesium, and pantothenic acid.

Black Magic Eggplant

In particular, the Black Magic eggplant variety contains an astounding 3 times the number of antioxidant phenolics when compared to standard varietals. Phenols have been shown to prevent cancer development and heart disease but are responsible for the slightly bitter taste of eggplant. Further studies showed that the skins of eggplants contain potent antioxidants that were great at zapping free radicals and protecting the lipids in the membranes of brain cells from damaged.

Other Health Benefits of Eggplant

Eggplant is part of the nightshade family, which also includes tomatoes and potatoes, and each of these has been shown to have anti-proliferative activities against human colon and liver cancer cells. Additional studies showed that eggplant extract was discovered it had the potential to inhibit human fibrosarcoma (soft tissue-related) cell invasion.

While eggplant does not get as mentioned as often as other healthy foods, there are many components of eggplant that are very helpful to your overall health. Try adding diced or grilled eggplant to your next salad or favorite dish to add a splash of color, flavor and additional nutrients.

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