Four Reasons to Eat Eggplant

Aug 21 2017 - 12:41pm
Eggplant

Eggplant is an excellent replacement for meat in some dishes when you are vegan. There are also a ton of other great reasons to pick up this vegetable today.

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Eggplants are at their best during the months of August through October. They are rich in many nutrients and make a great addition to any vegan meal plan. Here are just four of the many great reasons eggplant should be on your grocery list this week.

Eggplant Is a Low GI Food
The glycemic index, or GI, is a measure of how quickly a food will cause blood sugar to rise. Foods higher on the scale are important to minimize, particularly if you are diabetic or prediabetic. Low GI diets are also associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

Eggplant May Help Protect Your Heart
Eggplant contains chlorogenic acid, which may help control LDL (bad) cholesterol. Other foods that contain this nutrient include peaches, prunes and green tea.

Eggplant is also high in fiber – almost 2.5 grams per serving. Eating a high fiber diet can improve total cholesterol levels by binding with the cholesterol present in the digestive system and clearing it out before it can be absorbed.

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Eggplant is Brain Food
You may have never heard of nasunin – but it is an antioxidant that protects cell membranes from damage. Particularly the cells of the brain. In one study, Delphinidine-3-(p-coumaroylrutinoside)-5-glucoside (the chemical name for nasunin), was isolated as purple colored crystals from eggplant peels and found to protect against lipid peroxidation. The cells in the brain are almost entirely made of lipids, which controls the flow of nutrients in and wastes out.

Eggplant is Rich in Copper
Copper? Yes, copper is an essential trace mineral that helps with the formation of collagen, helps increase the absorption of iron and plays a role in energy production. Being deficient in copper can increase the risk of infection, osteoporosis, impaired neurological function and compromised growth.

Plant foods are lower in copper than animal foods, but you can easily meet your needs on your vegan diet with ensuring that you eat eggplant, mushrooms, cashews, lentils, almonds and fortified cereals regularly. Adults and adolescents need 900 micrograms per day.

Here are some other interesting facts about eggplant that you may not know:
 While widely considered a vegetable, eggplant is actually a berry.
 Salting and rinsing eggplant can remove the plant’s bitterness.
 An eggplant is more than 90% water.
 One serving of eggplant has only 24 calories.

References:
Noda Y et al. Antioxidant activity of nasunin, an anthocyanin in eggplant. Res Commun Mol Pathol Pharmacol. 1998 Nov;102(2):175-87.
American Diabetes Association: Glycemic Index and Diabetes
World’s Healthiest Foods

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