Eggplants originated in the Eastern World and were first introduced throughout the Mediterranean by Arabs in the early Middle Ages, where they were given various names from the regions they reached. Eggplant has been considered the “King of Vegetables” in India (perhaps due to their crown-like stem?), while the Italian name for eggplants is thought to have roots in the Latin word mala insana or apple of insanity. The English were known to call it “madde apple.” And it’s true. Eggplants are part of the nightshade family, which are suspected of producing psychotropic alkaloids. However, we know now that eggplants are in fact beneficial to our health while leaving our mental faculties intact!
Despite their spongy texture and arguably bland flavor, eggplants boast some impressive health benefits. Eggplants are known to support bone health, prevent anemia, boost cognitive abilities and mental health, aid digestion, and prevent cancer. Eggplants’ vitamin and nutrient content offer all of these health benefits and more!
Vitamins & Nutrients
- Fiber: essential for healthy digestion, regulates cholesterol levels, satiates appetite with lasting fullness.
- Vitamin B1: maintains healthy nervous and cardiovascular systems, aids body’s ability to withstand stress, essential in the breakdown of fats and proteins, promotes healthy eyes, skin, hair and liver.
- Manganese: supports healthy bone structure, regulates blood sugar level, protects against epilepsy, osteoporosis, and cancer, boosts thyroid health, maintains a healthy metabolism.
- Vitamin B6: boosts metabolism, lessens premenstrual and depression symptoms, maintains hormone levels, supports healthy skin conditions.
- Copper: supports normal growth of body, speeds up healing, reduces cholesterol.
Though eggplant really must be well cooked to soften its otherwise coarse texture, it is incredibly versatile! Roast it with your favorite spices, grill it like a steak, blend it into scrumptious dips or layer it into lasagnas or casseroles.
Some of our favorite recipes from around the web:
- Simple Baba Ganoush
- Roasted Eggplant with Tahini, Pine Nuts and Lentils
- Eggplant, Zucchini and Squash Kebabs