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Eggplants: A Popular Global Vegetable

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Please read the article to learn about eggplant, also known as brinjals in India or aubergines in the United Kingdom, and their health benefits.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Pallavi. C

Published At January 2, 2023
Reviewed AtAugust 9, 2023

Introduction

Eggplant or brinjal, or aubergine as it is commonly called and known terminologically as Solanum melongena, is an extremely popular global vegetable that makes for a versatile ingredient in almost every cuisine of the world. This vegetable, first known to have originated in India, South Africa, or parts of Asia, is also part of the nightshade vegetable family.

Nightshade vegetables are not only considered nutrient-dense but are staple vegetables in many countries commonly owing to their nutritional benefits. For example, tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes are also nightshades only. However, some nutritionists may not recommend eggplant or other nightshade vegetables for regular consumption because of the presence of solanine compounds in them. In some individuals with predisposing or certain systemic or inflammatory conditions, it would trigger inflammation (in conditions like arthritis or psoriasis).

What Is the Nutrition Content of Eggplants?

One cup of cubed raw eggplant weighing approximately 82 grams would provide around 20 calories. With a very low-fat content of only around 0.1 grams in a single cup or serving, they can yield around 4.8 grams of carbohydrates and 0.8 grams of protein. Brinjals are also good sources of fiber, manganese, or potassium. The following nutrition information as provided by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) is enlisted as follows:

  • Fiber: 2.4 grams.

  • Sugars: 2.9 grams.

  • Protein: 0.8 grams.

  • Manganese: 0.2 milligrams.

  • Potassium: 188 milligrams.

  • Fat: 0.1 grams.

  • Sodium: 1.6 milligrams.

  • Carbohydrates: 4.8 grams.

  • Calories in Total (For One Cup): 20.5.

According to nutritionists, adults should consume around 25 to 38 grams of fiber daily. One cup of eggplant would provide 10 percent of the daily fiber intake needed for an individual. It would also benefit health because of the low-calorie yet high fiber content.

Eggplant is mainly considered a very low-calorie food with good fiber content, with trace or small amounts of potassium, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, niacin, copper, and magnesium.

What Are the Systemic Health Benefits of Eggplants?

  • Supports Bone Health: Brinjals, a good manganese source, would boost several metabolic functions in the body, including bone health.

  • Cardioprotective: Cellular damage is prevented, and the heart is protected because of the high phytonutrient content, such as nasunin and chlorogenic acid.

  • Improved Digestion: Because brinjal has high fiber content, it aids digestion.

  • Immunity Booster: The purple hue in brinjals is because it contains anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is a compound that boosts great antioxidants and relieves oxidative cellular stress.

What Are the Possible Allergies With Eggplants?

Allergies to nightshade foods which are usually nutrient-rich are rare; however quite possible for a few individuals with allergies to other nightshade vegetables to be prone to eggplant allergy as well. Nutritionist-recommended anti-inflammatory diets usually do not comprise nightshade vegetables (including eggplant). They exclude most nightshades alongside other foods like wheat, corn, soy, dairy, and citrus (in such diet plans).

What are the Different Types and Storage Methods of Brinjal?

Eggplants and their origins may vary from place to place, so they can come in different shapes and sizes. Most of the eggplants or brinjals we commonly see are the globe eggplants, also called American eggplants colloquially. These are the most inexpensive and easy-to-find veggies in the market. The Indian eggplant varieties are known as baby eggplants because of their circular or ball-shaped appearance.

Always choose brinjal that is heavier for its size, smooth and shiny appearance, and without any blemishes. The eggplant should also appear plump, which means it's a well-grown vegetable. Once the vegetable is cut, then the eggplant begins to deteriorate quickly. Hence they should always be sliced and then refrigerated until they are ready to cook. Eggplants should be frozen after purchase and taken out when they are required for cooking.

What Are the Culinary Uses of Eggplants?

Eggplants are included globally in various vegetable dishes as savory fry or can even be breaded, roasted, stuffed, grilled, or baked. Most culinary experts have the habit of cubing or dicing eggplants for savory recipes for increased flavor and texture. Nonvegetarians can use eggplant as a plant-based substitute for meat recipes which would be useful for them, especially if they are recommended a plant-based diet. There are versatile ways to use eggplants for many savory recipes. Also, it is important to note that brinjals should never be undercooked because the flavor would be bitter or chewy.

Conclusion

To conclude, some nutritionists generally do not recommend eggplant consumption in anti-inflammatory diets and for people suffering from systemic inflammation. However, this nightshade veggie is still a global delicacy. It has its fair share of nutrients and fiber with certain systemic benefits though it may yield only some vitamins and minerals needed for daily intake.

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Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop
Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop

Dentistry

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nightshade vegetableeggplants
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