Eggplant is popular in Asian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. It is both wholesome and diet-friendly. It is a vegetable long prized for its beauty, as well as its unique texture and taste! It is said to have originated in India, about 2,000 years ago.
Eggplants belong to the nightshade family of vegetables, which also includes potatoes, tomatoes, and bell peppers.
It is an excellent source of vitamin B1, dietary fiber, and copper. It is a good source of manganese, niacin, vitamin B6, potassium, folate and vitamin K. Eggplant also contains phytonutrients such as nasunin and chlorogenic acid.
Research on eggplant has shown that there is an anthocyanin phytonutrient found in eggplant skin called nasunin. Nasunin is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been shown to protect cell membranes from damage. Nasunin is not only a potent free-radical scavenger, but is also an iron chelator.
Thus nasunin has numerous beneficial results, including protecting blood cholesterol from peroxidation; preventing cellular damage, and lessening free radical damage in joints.
Nutrient Rich Vegetable:
Eggplant also has phenolic compounds that are good sources of chologenic acids. Benefits of these acids include: anti-cancer, antimicrobial, anti-LDL, and antiviral.
How to Select Eggplant:
Choose eggplants that are firm and heavy for their size. And their skin should be smooth and shiny. The stem and cap, on either end of the eggplant, should be bright green in color. Brown streaks and wrinkled skin indicate an eggplant that's no longer fresh.