Eggplant in the scientific classification represents the Nightshade family and in this sense, it can be called a relative of potato, tomato, chilli pepper, tobacco. The culinary fate of this vegetable crop was difficult. As a food in Europe, eggplant became interesting only in the 19th century. Before that it was not appreciated and even considered the cause of some mental disorders.
Over time, due to the discovery of a number of useful properties, eggplant gained interest not only to cooks, but also to physicians. For example, a relatively recent study by American scientists found that eggplant contains chlorogenic acid, a powerful antioxidant that can “heal” cellular damage and reduce the development of a number of diseases.
Contents and calories
Below we list key nutrients of eggplants.
Raw eggplant (100 g):
- Calories – 25 Kcal
- Protein – 0,98 g
- Fat – 0,18 g
- Carbohydrates – 5,88 g
- Water – 92,3 g
Vitamins and Minerals in mg:
- Vitamin B4 – 6,9
- Potassium, K – 229
- Vitamin C – 2,2
- Phosphorus, P – 24
- Vitamin B3 – 0,649
- Magnesium, Mg – 14
- Vitamin E – 0,3
- Calcium, Ca – 9
- Vitamin B5 – 0,281
- Sodium, Na – 2
Note that during processing, the concentration of valuable potassium, which works to support the cardiovascular system and the removal of excess fluid from the body, decreases especially noticeably. This makes the consumption of raw (in salads) or stewed eggplant preferable. Canning also loses some vitamins and minerals (phosphorus, magnesium), but the values of other components can both increase and decrease.
Eggplant fruits demonstrate numerous medicinal properties. So, thanks to the abundance of indigestible fiber, acting in the digestive system as a piston, cholesterol is effectively removed from the body (reduced in the blood up to 40% depending on the mode of consumption of the product). This, in turn, prevents the formation of new cholesterol plaques on the walls of blood vessels, thereby slowing down the development of atherosclerosis and reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. In addition, eating eggplant can:
- prevent the formation of gallstones in the gallbladder;
- alleviate the condition of patients with type 2 diabetes;
- relieve edema and remove uric acid salts, which is especially important for those suffering from gout;
- stimulate the gastrointestinal tract, getting rid of chronic constipation;
- restore salt and acid-base balance;
- stabilize hemoglobin in anemia.
The presence of vitamin PP (nicotoric acid) in eggplants can ease the process of quitting the bad habit for smokers. Recent breeding efforts have resulted in the development of almost black eggplant hybrids with very high levels of anthocyanins, which can regenerate cells and prevent cell damage.
Eggplants’ role in weight loss
A special role in losing weight with eggplant plays chlorogenic acid, which is even more abundant in the peel of green coffee beans. Chlorogenic acid, which is the primary means by which subcutaneous fat disappears during exercise, is described as follows.
Once in the body, the substance binds glycogen (polysaccharide), which is formed by glucose residues and is considered its main form of storage. With increased physical activity, free glycogen from stores, provides the body with energy. But if the polysaccharide is retained by acid, in the same situation, the body has to turn to other sources of energy – subcutaneous fat deposits.
The effectiveness of weight loss with chlorogenic acid at about 10% according to numerous estimates. At the same time, no independent research has been conducted to verify the action of the described mechanism. Also, the sponsors of those experiments are green coffee sellers who have financial interest in the results of such reseach. Thus, only new studies will be able to put together a complete picture of the dietary effects of acid on the body.
Fortunately, in weight loss, eggplant has another, already undeniable, advantage – in its raw form it contains very few calories (only 24-25 kcal /100g), and, although the baked version has twice as many calories, it is still relatively small. Unfortunately, eggplant fried in oil increases the caloric value dozens of times, ceasing to be a dietary product. The fried vegetables we should put on a paper towel or steam for 10-15 minutes in order to remove excess oil. Still, the caloric value of such a dish is still high.
Eggplants in cooking
On the European continent, people managed to recognize the culinary merits of eggplant rather late – only in the XIX century, but since then, for two hundred years, different national cuisines have managed to include this vegetable in traditional dishes. The reason for this is a good compatibility of eggplant with cereals, meat and other vegetables. Moreover, the vegetable does not just add its taste to dishes. It gives them volume and participates in the creation of the form, while maintaining a delicate consistency, which other vegetables can not.
Our related section – Recipes.