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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What is so yummy about Eggplant (or Brinjal) ?


[According to www.livestrong.com]
The eggplant is part of the nightshade family in the plant kingdom, a distant cousin to bell pepper, tomato and potato. It is egg-shaped and may be colored a rich black-purple or white, and has a thick skin. Commonly referred to as a vegetable, the eggplant is actually a fruit, and may grow anywhere from two inches to a foot in length. Eggplants are indigenous to Asia and the Amazon Rainforest, as well as other parts of the world.




Eggplant, of course, is edible and featured in many delicious recipes. It may be fried, grilled, baked, sauteed, and even broiled.

Common varieties of eggplant range from dark purple to white in color, but all of them provide nutrients that can benefit your heart. Low in calories, eggplant contains potassium and fiber, which contribute to healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A diet rich in vegetables such as eggplant may help you control your weight, which reduces your risk of heart disease.
Why it is so good ?

Chlorogenic Acid

Chlorogenic acid is a plant compound that is known for its high antioxidant activity. Researchers have found chlorogenic acid to be the dominant antioxidant compound in eggplant. This is significant because chlorogenic acid has a great capacity to fight free radicals, and is also able to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Chlorogenic acid is also antimutagenic, which means it can protect cells from mutating into cancer cells; and it is also antiviral.

Nasunin

Nasunin is an antioxidant compound found in the skin of eggplant. The nasunin in eggplant has antiangiogenic abilities. When something is angiogenic, it stimulates new growth of blood vessels and blood supply. While that sounds like it could be a good thing, when it comes to cancer, it is not. Cancerous cells can gain angiogenesis ability, which means they can develop a means to increase their own blood supply, which can cause a cancerous mass or tumor to grow rather quickly. Nasunin in eggplant has the ability to prevent angiogenesis from occurring. So, do eat the skin.

Fiber, Vitamins and Minerals

Eggplant is an excellent source of good-for-heart dietary fiber, which can help protect against colon cancer and keeps the digestive system regular. The vitamins in eggplant consist primarily of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), B vitamins, folate and vitamin C. Eggplant is also rich in minerals, boasting a large quantity of potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous.

WEIGHT-CONTROL POTENTIAL
With no fat and low calories, using eggplant in lieu of higher-calorie pasta or rice or as a side dish can help you eat fewer calories while still enjoying satisfying portions. Do note however that sauteed and fried eggplant tend to have a significantly-higher number of calories than grilled, roasted or boiled varieties. Eggplant acts like a sponge and soaks up oil.  Do add grilled eggplant to green salads, sandwiches and stews. It is also nice with curry.


[Accoring to www.nutrition-to-you.com, they defines .....]

The plant reaches about 3-4 feet tall in quick time and bears many bright fruits. Each fruit has smooth, glossy skin. Internally, it features off-white color pulp with numerous centrally arranged small, soft seeds. Fruits are generally harvested when they reach maturity but short of full stage ripeness.


Health benefits of Eggplant

  • Eggplant is very low in calories and fats but rich in soluble fiber content. 100 g provides just 24 calories but contributes about 9% of RDA of fiber.

  • Research studies at the Institute of Biology of São Paulo State University, Brazil showed that eggplant is effective in the treatment of high blood cholesterol.

  • It contains good amounts of many essential B-complex groups of vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and thiamin (vitamin B1), niacin (B3). These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish and required for fat, protein and carbohydrates metabolism.

  • It is also good source of minerals like manganese, copper, iron and potassium. Manganese is used as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Potassium is an important intracellular electrolyte helps counter the hypertension effects of sodium.

  • The peel or skin (deep blue/purple varieties) of aubergine has significant amounts of phenolic flavonoid phyto-chemicals called anthocyanins. Scientific studies have shown that these anti-oxidants have potential health effects against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.

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