Ingredient Spotlight: Eggplant
Eggplant or aubergine is such a versatile vegetable, it can be used in so many different dishes. Even better, it tastes scrumptious and is filled with nutrients! From bakes, to pasta sauces to stews or even on the barbeque, eggplant is definitely one of our favourites here at Chef Good.
Full of fibre – low in calories
As we’ve mentioned many times on the blog, fibre is essential for a healthy digestive system and to keep you feeling full after meals. Fibre rich foods are low GI, meaning you won’t get spikes in your blood sugar levels – perfect for avoiding sugar cravings after meals.
One cup of cooked eggplant will provide you around 2g of fibre including both insoluble and soluble fibre (you need both for healthy digestion). This same cup of eggplant contains only 35 calories, making eggplant perfect if you’re looking to maintain or lose weight.
This shiny purple vegetable is an excellent source of phytonutrients which help boost cognitive function, defend against free radical damage and increase blood flow to the brain.
Eggplants are also a good source of potassium which also acts as a vasodilator (helps blood vessels dilate and increases blood flow). A cup of eggplant contains around 122 mg of potassium, helping you reach your daily recommended dietary requirement.
Lower your cholesterol
Eggplant lowers cholesterol in two different ways. Firstly, as we’ve already touched on, it is rich in soluble fibre. Soluble fibre binds to cholesterol and its precursors, safely taking it through the body and eliminating it. Secondly, this soluble fibre directly decreases the levels of LDL cholesterol by soaking up bile acids, forcing the body to take cholesterol from your liver to make more!
Eggplant skin contains an antioxidant called nasunin, which Japanese researchers have found to block the formation of blood vessels which feed malignant tumours. Nasunin is also a powerful fighter of free radicals, helping to protect cells from damage which can promote cancer.
Manganese, Thiamin, Vitamin K and other nutrients
One cup of eggplant provides you with about 6% of your daily requirement (RDI) of manganese. Manganese is important as it helps:
- fight free radical damage,
- builds healthy bones,
- regulates hormones,
- aids in the formation of connective tissue and
- regulates your thyroid gland function.
That same cup is also going to provide you with 5% of your thiamin RDI and 4% for Vitamin K. You’ll also find that eggplant contains Vitamins B6, magnesium and copper – among others!
We’d say that eggplant is a veritable superfood with all those benefits! Why not try our Hot & sour eggplant with yellow lentil dahl or Eggplant Parmigiana to get your aubergine fix next week.