Eggplants are a member of the nightshade family with potatoes and tomatoes. Although commonly thought of in a deep purple shade, eggplants also come in lavender, jade green, orange and light yellow. Originally found in India, the eggplant was cultivated in China. Prior to the Middle Ages, eggplants were introduced in Africa and Italy, and then spread to Europe and the Middle East. Because of its bitter taste, eggplant was used largely for decorative purposes throughout Europe.
- Eggplant is a great source of dietary fiber.
- It is also provides copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, niacin, and folic acid.
- Eggplant contains an anthocyanin flavonoid called nasunin, which acts as an antioxidant and helps prevent cells from damage from free radicals.
- Nasunin in eggplant has also been shown to protect lipids in brain cell membranes and help remove excess iron from the body.
- Eggplant has also been shown to help lower cholesterol levels due to the phytochemicals it imparts.
Try adding eggplant to a stir-fry, or roasting it alongside other vegetables. A simple and tasty lunch idea is grilled sandwich using eggplant, mozzarella cheese and a whole-grain crusty bread.