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Six Reasons You Should Eat Eggplant

This is the second in my summer series on the health benefits of local produce you may be eating.  Today, Lindsay is going to help you prep some eggplant recipes, and I’ll tell you about all of the great stuff you probably didn’t know about eggplants. 

Eggplants are surprisingly not that high in most vitamins and minerals, which is our standard way of looking at the healthiness of foods.  That being said, eggplants, are high in many phytochemicals (chemical compounds that occur in plants, and can have beneficial effects in our bodies).  

  • Eggplant is high in fiber.  One cup of eggplant has 11% of the dietary fiber recommended for a day.   Dietary fiber also helps lower cholesterolcontrol blood sugar, and normalize bowel movements.
  • Eggplant’s fiber may make you feel full, but one cup of cubed eggplant only has 19 calories!
  • One cup of cubed eggplant has 4% of our RDA of Vitamin K, which is important in blood clotting and bone health.  
  • One cup of cubed eggplant also has 5% of our daily recommended folate (helps prevent birth defects, inadequate amounts can cause anemia, and involved in healthy cell production)
  • Eggplant contains anthocyanidins, in particular, nasunin, that resides in the purple skin, and are important phytochemicals that act as antioxidants.  They are responsible for the color pigment of the eggplant.  They are being investigated for their protective effects on our brain’s cell membranes, anti-cancer activity, and our heart health.  
  • Eggplant also contains chlorogenic acid, another antioxidant, thought to help control our blood sugar, and help lower high blood pressure

In order to get ALL of the nutrients in eggplant it is important to eat the skin.  

A simple method for this that I frequently use, and which my 6-year-old loves, is just roasting the slices.  I slice the eggplant into thin slices, and roast in olive oil at 350, turning them over after 5-10 minutes and then checking them frequently, as they burn quickly.  Or, better yet, check out Lindsay’s other ideas over on her blog.  

 

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