The eggplant, Aurbergine, melongene or brinjal is a plant of the family solanaceae (also known as the nightshades) and genus solanum. It bears a fruit of the same name, commonly used as a vegetable in cooking. As a nightshade, it is closely related to the tomato and potato.
Aurbergine or eggplant has nothing to do with an egg. It is names as such because its shape resembles an egg.
Eggplant actually comes in a variety of colors such as purple, yellow, green and orange.
Brinjal or aubergine is a perennial vegetable, often grows to a height of 16 to 57 inch with spiny stems. The flesh is cream colored with a pleasantly bitter taste (due to the presence of small amounts of nicotinoid alkaloids) and spongy consistency.
The raw fruit can have a somewhat bitter taste, but becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavor. The thin skin is also edible, so peeling is not required.
Aurbergine are a good source of fiber and folic acid. The color of the skin is a result of the presence of anthocyanins – compounds with antioxidant properties.
Aurbergine has the potential to lower total body cholesterol level. It has shown to improve the flexibility of blood vessels, thereby improving the flow of blood.
It is a source of dietary fiber. Fiber not only helps to keep you regular, but has many cardio-protective factors as well. Dietary fiber helps keep blood sugar in check, helps lower cholesterol, improve digestive function and help with weight management.
It is also good source of minerals like manganese, copper, iron and potassium. Manganese is used as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Potassium is an important intracellular electrolyte helps counter the hypertension effects of sodium
The peel or skin (deep blue variety) of aubergine has significant amounts of phenolic flavonoids phyto-chemicals called anthocyanins. Scientific studies have shown that these anti-oxidants have potential health effects against cancer, aging, inflammation and neurological diseases.
For those of you who are planning to go easy on your diet and lose some extra weight, you can opt for eggplants as they are very low in calories and also have high moisture content. Hence, brinjal or eggplants can be safely and effectively used to control obesity.
Eggplants are also used to reduce glucose levels of type II Diabetes. This is attributed to the fact that the vegetable contains low levels of carbohydrates and high fiber levels. In fact, the vegetable is regarded as a natural method of controlling diabetes
100 g of Aubergine contains:
Protein: 0.9 g
Carbohydrate: 2.2 g
Fat: 0.4 g
Fiber: 2 g
Aurbergine, aside from their rich texture, contain a multitude of vitamins and phytonutrients. Eggplants are a source of antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, niacin, vitamin B6, folate and manganese.
Health tips for Aurbergine
Aubergines when fried tend to absorb large quantities of oil.
Eggplant (aubergine) contains very small amount of nicotine than any other edible plant with a concentration of 0.01mg/100g. However, the amount of nicotine from eggplant or any other food is negligible and therefore shall not warrant against its usage.
Although containing a good range of vitamins and minerals, it is not considered a food overflowing with nutrients. Egg plants contain measurable amounts of oxalates. One harmful effect that concentrated oxalate levels cause in the body is that they crystallize which lead to certain health problems. This is the reason why people with suspected or untreated kidney or gall bladder problems should avoid the consumption of eggplants.
Above all, Eggplant or Brinjal, is a very low calorie vegetable and has healthy nutrition profile; good news for weight watchers!