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Benefits of Eggplant
Benefits of Eggplant

1. Eggplant
The eggplant, also known as aubergine, garden egg, guinea squash, melongene and brinjal, is usually distinguishable by its signature egg like shape and vibrant purple color. When most people think of eggplant, this is the image that comes to mind. However, eggplants actually come in a variety of shapes and colors from small and oblong to long and skinny, from shades of purple to white and green.

2. Description
Eggplant, oraubergineas it is called in France, is a vegetable long prized for its beauty as well as its unique taste and texture. Eggplants belong to the plant family ofSolanaceae, also commonly known as nightshades, and are kin to the tomato, bell pepper and potato. Eggplants grow in a manner much like tomatoes, hanging from the vines of a plant that grows several feet in height.

3. History
The ancient ancestors of eggplant grew wild in India and were first cultivated in China in the 5th century B.C. Eggplant was introduced to Africa before the Middle Ages and then into Italy, the country with which it has long been associated, in the 14th century. It subsequently spread throughout Europe and the Middle East and, centuries later, was brought to the Western Hemisphere by European explorers. Today, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, China and Japan are the leading growers of eggplant.

4. Nutritional breakdown of eggplant
One cup of raw eggplant contains 20calories, 0.8 grams of protein, 4.82 grams ofcarbohydrate, 0.15 grams of fat and 2.5 grams of dietary fiber. A one cup serving meets 10% of daily fiber needs, 5% potassium, 3%vitaminC, 5% vitamin B 6, 1% iron and 2% magnesium. Eggplants also contain anthocyanins, compounds that belong to a class of naturally occurring phytochemicals known as flavonoids. Flavonoids are present in many plant foods and in addition to providing health benefits they also contribute to the distinguishable coloration of many fruits and vegetables. In this case, anthocyanins are water soluble pigments that give the eggplant their well known dark purple complexion.

5. Health benefits of consuming eggplant
Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle related health conditions. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like the eggplant decreases the risk ofobesityand overall mortality,diabetes,heart diseaseand promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy and overall lower weight.

6. Heart health
The fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B 6, and phytonutrient content in eggplants all support heart health. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating foods containing flavonoids is affiliated with a lower risk of mortality from heart disease. Consuming even small quantities of flavonoid rich foods may benefit human health.

7. Blood cholesterol
Researchon the effects of eggplant consumption in animal studies has shown that rabbits with highcholesterolthat consumed eggplant juice displayed a significant decrease in weight and blood cholesterol levels. Laboratory analyses of the phenolic compounds in eggplant reveal that the vegetable contains significant amounts of chlorogenic acid, which is one of the most powerful free radical scavengers found in plants. Chlorogenic acid has been shown to decrease LDL levels, and also serves as an antimicrobial, antiviral, and anticarcinogenic agent.

8. Cancer
Polyphenols in eggplant have been found to exhibit anti cancer effects. Anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid function as antioxidants and anti inflammatory compounds. They protect body cells from damage caused by free radicals and in turn preventtumorgrowth and invasion and spread ofcancercells. They also stimulate detoxifying enzymes within cells and promote cancer cell death.

9. Cognitive function
Findings fromanimal studiessuggest that nasunin, an anthocyanin within eggplant skin, is a powerful antioxidant that protects the lipids comprising cell membranes in brain cells from free radical damage. It has also been proven to help facilitate the transport of nutrients into the cell and wastes out.

10. Weight management and satiety
Dietary fibers are commonly recognized as important factors in weight management and loss by functioning as bulking agentsin the digestive system. These compounds increase satiety and reduce appetite, making you feel fuller for longer and thereby lowering your overall calorie intake. Since eggplant is already low in calories, it makes a great part of a healthy, low calorie diet.

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Benefits of Eggplant

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