What to Do With Eggplants
~ November 2005 No.201 ~
Many of us have walked along the vegetable aisle of the grocery store and seen fruits and vegetables that…well, we were afraid to ask about. Eggplants probably fall into that category. Those large purple pear shaped vegetables look so appealing. If only we knew what to do with them. But then the questions comes to mind - is there anything in eggplant that is good for me? Should I be eating more eggplant?
Eggplant (Solanum melongena) also known as aubergine, belongs to the Solanaceae family of plants. Eggplant requires a long growing season, so it is usually started in the greenhouse. Most commercial operations can get around 39 tonnes of eggplant from 1 hectare of land, except in the Netherlands where they get almost 10 times that yield!!
The nutrient content of eggplant is not very exciting. It is low in fat and protein but does contain some fiber
A search of the scientific literature shows that most interest has centred on the peels of purple eggplant. The skin gets it colour from a chemical called nasunin or more correctly delphinidin-3-(p-coumaroylrutinoside)-5-glucoside. Nasunin has been shown to have both antioxidant and antiangiogenic activities. In the field of cancer research, antiangiogenisis agents were heralded as a new way of preventing cancer cells from growing and spreading by stopping the development of new blood vessels. As a cancer grows, it needs new blood vessels close by to provide nutrients. When new blood vessels are prevented from developing, the cancer starves and dies.
The whole vegetable has also potential beneficial effects. Eggplant fruit juice exhibits an antimutagenic activity when tested in laboratory tests. It is suggested that there are multiple components that exist in the eggplant fruit including lutein that may be responsible.
Perhaps the most obvious question that comes to mind is “how did this purple vegetable get its name?” The answer may lie in a white variety of aubergine. When ripe the vegetable looks exactly like a big egg. Like its namesake, you might want to have more eggplant in your diet.
|(per 100 g portion - cooked, boiled, drained)|
|Fibre (total dietary):||2.5 g|
|Sugars (total):||3.20 g|
|USDA - National Nutrient Database|
Antiangiogenic Activity of Nasunin, an Antioxidant Anthocyanin, in Eggplant Peels
J. Agric. Food Chem., 2005,53:6272-6275