Eggplants, also known as aubergines, belong to the nightshade family of plants. This family also includes tomatoes, potatoes, and bell peppers. Eggplants are used in many different dishes around the world and have many health benefits.
Eggplants have a deep purple, glossy skin. This encases a cream coloured, sponge-like flesh that is dotted with small, edible seeds.
Eggplants grow like tomatoes hanging from the vines of a plant that is several feet high. Like the tomato, the eggplant is actually a fruit because it grows from a flowering plant and contains seeds.
Due to their bitter taste, eggplants were rarely used as food. They were enjoyed as a decorative garden plant for centuries.
The wild eggplant is native to South East Asia including India. Ayurvedic texts over 2000 years old contain uses for eggplants and benefits. There are over 30 names in Sanskrit for eggplants.
The eggplant was introduced into Africa before the middle ages. From there it spread throughout Europe and the Middle East. Italy, Turkey, China and Japan are now the leading growers of eggplant.
Today we know that eggplants are full of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre. Eggplants have the potential to lower cholesterol and help manage weight. They are great in treating high blood pressure and also good for your nerves.
Eggplants are nutrient-dense and are an excellent source of dietary fibre. They are also a good source of potassium and vitamins B1 and B6. Eggplants are also high in copper, magnesium, and manganese.
Eggplants are high in the anthocyanin nasunin. This is a pigment with antioxidant properties that can protect against cellular damage as well as giving the aubergine its purple colour. Nasunin is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger. It also helps move excess iron out of the body.
Nasunin protects the fatty acids essential for healthy brain function. It may also help protect brain cell membranes from damage caused by free radicals. Nasunin helps transport nutrients into the cells and move waste out of cells. Anthocyanins also facilitate blood flow to the brain. This could help prevent memory loss and other aspects of age-related mental decline.
Some studies have found that eggplants may improve heart function and reduce LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Researchers have shown that antioxidants could help prevent many types of chronic disease, such as heart disease and cancer.
Eggplants are high in fibre and polyphenols, both of which may help reduce blood sugar levels. Initial studies indicate that the phenolic-enriched extracts of eggplant may help in controlling glucose absorption. This is beneficial for managing type 2 diabetes and reducing high blood pressure (hypertension). Aubergines may also help to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Eggplants are an excellent addition to any weight loss regimen. They are high in fibre and low in calories and often used as substitutes for higher-calorie ingredients in recipes. Each cup (82 grams) of raw eggplant contains 3 grams of fibre and just 20 calories.
Eggplants contain unique glycosides which in test-tube studies indicate may aid in cancer treatment. Eating more fruits and vegetables may also protect against some types of cancer.
Eggplant also contains antioxidants including lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein may help prevent age-related macular degeneration which can lead to vision loss in older people.
Eggplants help you to calm your energy and bring you peace and calm. When you connect with the eggplant or aubergine in meditation you will let go of frustration, anger, attachments and resentment.
Eggplants are great for connecting with spirit. They nourish the brain and third eye and provide a direct link to the source of all creation. Visualise on OM (Aum) symbol and chant its sound. From OM, everything in existence arises. This includes all matter, all energy, and all thoughts originates.
OM has been seen imprinted on the side of a half-cut aubergine several times! OM is the vibration by which the Supreme Spirit or Holy Ghost brings all things into manifestation. It improves your power of manifestation. See if you can manifest on OM the next time you cut open your aubergine.
Eggplants seen in dreams are signs of prosperity and success. Imagine dreaming of the spirit of the eggplant as your guardian angel. See yourself protected by your own potential, your wholeness and integrity, and by your ability to create and be inspired. Eggplants represent wholeness, potential, new projects and ideas.
Eggplants can be used as a low-calorie replacement for many high-calorie ingredients. This increases the fibre and nutrient content of your meal whilst lowering your carbohydrate and calorie intake.
Many of the nutritional benefits of eggplants come from the skin. So avoid peeling them and ensure you wash them well.
Eggplants are incredibly versatile and easily incorporated into your diet. Try 1 cup, or about 96 g of cooked aubergine cubes in your diet.
Eggplants can be baked, roasted, grilled or sautéed. Then add a drizzle of olive oil and a quick dash of seasoning. Or add cubed aubergine to your next stir-fry or curry. You can also use eggplants as an alternative to bread or chips. Dry eggplants can be used for a sandwich or toasted. Eggplants are also great in dips like hummus and yoghurt dip.