8 Health Benefits of Eggplant
Last updated on February 28, 2013
The eggplant, known as aubergine in France and England, is thought of as a vegetable but is actually a berry of the nightshade (Solanaceae) plant. It is native to the Indian Subcontinent. Here are 8 health benefits of eggplant.
Eggplant contains several phytonutrients with good antioxidant activity: caffeic, chlorogenic acid and the flavonoid, nasunin. Nasunin is a powerful antioxidant that has been proven to fight free radical activity in the body. Animal studies have found that nasunin protects lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes. Chlorogenic acid is also considered a potent antioxidant with many proven benefits.
Animal studies show that eggplant may help lower overall cholesterol in the body and help to improve blood flow. The antioxidant compounds in eggplant help to prevent oxidative stress to the cardiovascular system and thus reduce the risk of heart attack and heart disease. Eggplant is also a good source of fiber, which is needed to maintain good cardiovascular health.
Eggplant contains nasunin, an antioxidant anthocyanin, which may help to promote healthy brain function. Nasunin protects brain fats through scavenging free radicals that target brain lipids.
One cup of eggplant contains about 8% the DV of dietary fiber. Fiber can aid in digestion and weight loss. It helps to balance the metabolism. The fiber in eggplant helps to reduce cholesterol and relax blood vessels, which suggests it may play a productive role in maintaining good heart health.
High In B Vitamins
Eggplant is rich in vitamins B1, B3 and B6. B vitamins play an essential role in the proper function of the central nervous system, energy production, hormone balance and healthy liver function. They are also believed to help balance blood sugar and reduce cholesterol.
Maintaining the proper DV of fiber and B vitamins can be a great way to contribute to healthy weight loss. Fiber promotes a healthy, active metabolism and B vitamins can help the body to process fat. Eggplant is also rich with nutrients while offering very few calories (only 19 per cup), which makes it a great addition to an active, effective weight loss program.
Eggplant contains many of the minerals needed to maintain strong, healthy bones: manganese, potassium, magnesium and copper.
Many doctors and scientists believe that a compound in eggplant can effectively treat certain types of skin cancer. The phytochemical, known as BEC5, is believed to kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells. BEC5 cream is purported to have worked in thousands of cases, mainly in Australia and England with a success rate of nearly 100% when used for 12 weeks. There are conflicting reports as to its effectiveness and the FDA has not approved its use in the U.S. It is not known whether obtaining BEC5 from eating eggplant will help to prevent or treat cancer.