It might be found in dishes worldwide, but is eggplant good for you? Thanks to its rich nutrient profile, eating eggplant benefits your health in a variety of ways! Usually imagined as purple, eggplant, also known as aubergine, comes in multiple colors such as red, green and even black. Even though it’s often considered a vegetable, since it grows from a flowering plant and contains seeds, eggplant is actually a fruit! Not only is it a versatile and delicious ingredient, but eggplant can also contribute to maintaining a healthy heart, controlling blood sugar and weight management. Let’s learn a little more about this purple powerhouse.
Eggplant Health Benefits
If you’re wondering, “is eggplant healthy?” the short answer is: Yes! There’s a bounty of benefits to including these vibrant fruits into your diet. Let’s take a look at some of their perks.
Eggplant’s fiber content has the potential to improve your gastrointestinal health. A healthy GI system requires adequate fiber intake every day to keep things moving, and you’ll find 3 grams of fiber in just one cup of eggplant. Since adults should aim for 25-30 grams of fiber intake daily, eggplant is a great source. Adequate fiber intake can also help to balance blood sugar levels.
The fiber that’s found in plant-based foods helps contribute to lowering the “bad” cholesterol, or low-density lipoproteins (LDL). In turn, the “good” cholesterol, highdensity lipoprotein (HDL), is increased. Wondering what your levels should be? Women should aim for an HDL greater than 50 mg and men greater than 40 mg. Levels of LDL should be less than 100 mg in both men and women for optimal cardiovascular health.
In addition to being packed with fiber, eggplant also contains a variety of nutrients such as Vitamins K, C, B6, thiamine, niacin, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, fiber, folic acid and potassium – just to name a few! They also contain the antioxidants called ‘anthocyanins,’ which is the pigment responsible for the celebrated purple color. To learn more about eggplant nutrition and how they might fit into your goals, schedule a Telenutrition appointment and chat one-on-one with a dietitian.
How to Prepare Eggplant
Eggplant can be used together with vegetables, grains, dairy and proteins of all kinds to make dishes from around the world. Here are a few ideas to help get you cooking:
- Italian Style: Eggplant Bolognese is an entrée consisting of baked slices of eggplant, tomato sauce, melted cheese and a protein of your choice (we recommend sweet or spicy Italian sausage). Try making this dish vegan by substituting dairy-free cheese and using soy or plant-based protein.
- Middle Eastern Style: Eggplant Pita is a pita pocket that features eggplant, pickles, fresh veggies, eggs and tahini hummus. If you want to be exclusively plantbased, skip the egg and enhance the flavor with spices and seasonings.
- Mexican Style: Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Tacos is a vegetable-based recipe to which you can easily add any protein. Top them with a zesty pico de gallo for a fresh and flavorful meal.
Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and not intended to provide healthcare recommendations. For concerns, please see a healthcare provider.