Aubergine, also known as eggplant or brinjal, is technically a fruit.
However, due to its taste and texture, it’s normally classed and eaten as a vegetable.
Like the tomato (another fruit that’s been thrown in with veggies), aubergine can be eaten raw with seeds and skin included.
Still, it’s decidedly more pleasant to consume after cooking it for a while.
Compared to most plant foods featured on our site, aubergines are not overly impressive when it comes to micronutrients.
With that being said, they are really low in calories (only 24 per 100 grams).
Also, they are extremely good at absorbing flavors and acting as a sort of “base” for a meal — which makes them very convenient for cooking.
This is why you’ll see aubergines used in a lot of vegetarian “mock meat” dishes, for example.
Whatever way you wish to enjoy them, here are 7 delightful benefits of aubergines you should know about.
1. Protects Against Cardiovascular Disease
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Despite being a bit lower in micronutrients than most other fruits and vegetables, eggplants are still loaded with dietary fiber.
100 grams of the spongy plant food will give you around 3.5 g of fiber — 15% of the daily recommended intake.
One of the underrated benefits of fiber consumption is how it affects our cardiovascular health.
A systemic review and meta-analysis from 2013 found that an increased intake of dietary fiber was associated with a decrease in cardiovascular and coronary heart disease.
The researchers concluded that:
“Findings are aligned with general recommendations to increase fiber intake.”
Eating aubergines is one way to do just that.
2. Aids Digestion
Another, more well-known, benefit of a higher fiber intake is the effect it has on our digestion.
There are actually two types of dietary fiber:
- Soluble (dissolves in water)
- Insoluble (doesn’t dissolve in water)
Soluble fiber makes your poop hold on to more water, which makes it larger and softer.
On top of that, insoluble fiber gives more weight to your stools.
Combined, these factors make it easier and quicker to eliminate waste, and greatly reduce the chances of getting constipated.
Aubergines contain both soluble and insoluble fiber in high amounts, which makes it a solid choice for digestive health.
3. Can Lower Blood Pressure
One of the most abundant micronutrients in aubergines is potassium.
Per 100 grams of raw aubergine, you’ll get a respectable 230mg — about 7% of the RDV (daily recommended value).
When we’re talking about the mineral, the thing that usually comes to mind is the potassium-sodium balance.
It’s incredibly important, especially when it comes to reducing fluid retention and promoting proper nerve function.
But perhaps the most vital (yet often-overlooked) benefit of a healthy potassium intake is that it lowers our blood pressure.
This beneficial effect has long since been established by nutritional researchers, and the new CDC guidelines reflect this.
CDC also state that:
“High blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for more than 410,000 Americans in 2014—that’s more than 1,100 deaths each day.”
So, needless to say that lowering blood pressure through diet could help save a lot of lives every year.
Eating eggplant (and other potassium-rich foods) regularly is one way to help achieve that aim.
4. May Help Prevent Diabetes
Aubergines is loaded with manganese — supplying you with 0.3mg per 100 grams.
This is around 13% of the daily recommended value, which makes aubergine a fine choice if you wish to increase your intake of the mineral.
While serious manganese deficiencies are rare, it’s suspected that people who eat little fruit and veg have less-than optimal levels.
Research on manganese and its exact effects on the body is still somewhat unclear.
However, some interesting findings regarding diabetes have surfaced in recent years.
Certain studies, such as this one, found that having low levels of manganese in the blood was associated with a higher prevalence of diabetes and kidney problems.
According to the researchers, this suggests that manganese may play an important role in blood sugar regulation and healthy renal function.
While more studies are needed to confirm this, there’s no harm in adding some aubergines into your life, just in case.
5. Maintains Proper Immune Function
Aubergines will provide you with 0.1mg of copper per 100 grams — around 5% of the RDV.
The essential mineral can be located in all of your body’s tissues, and is needed to maintain a strong immune system.
If you get too little copper in your diet, this can eventually result in what’s called neutropenia — a lack of white blood cell production.
White blood cells (also known as leukocytes) are responsible for fighting off infections and other invaders.
As you can imagine, when your body stops producing enough of them, things start to go bad.
The prevalence of copper deficiency in the general population is not well studied.
However, thanks to new techniques, it’s now recognized more often than before.
One thing is for certain:
You do NOT want to mess with your immune system if you can avoid it.
So, make sure to get enough copper in your diet to avoid the danger zone.
6. Good For Your Bones
Vitamin K is often oversold by certain supplement manufacturers as an near-magical vitamin.
While the claims of salespeople may be exaggerated, vitamin K is still very much needed for optimal health.
One of the things most affected by it is your bone health.
This is because vitamin K directly aids in the regulation of your body’s calcium stores.
More specifically, it helps signal where the mineral should (or should not) be placed.
Vitamin K leads calcium away from your internal organs (avoiding calcification) and towards your bones and teeth, keeping them strong.
Should you fail to get enough of the vitamin, you may eventually end up with stiff arteries and soft bones.
Thankfully, eating foods containing vitamin K, like aubergine, will help you avoid that horrible faith.
100 grams of eggplant will provide you with 3.5 mcg — around 5% of the recommended daily value.
7. Prevent Premature Skin Aging
Aubergines also contain a decent amount of vitamin C — 2.2.mg per 100g (4% of the RDV).
Getting plenty of vitamin C brings you many of wonderful benefits.
One of them has to do with the appearance and long-term health of your skin.
Vitamin C has been shown to help maintain regular production of collagen.
It’s also been found to reduce skin inflammation and limit UV damage from the sun with its antioxidant activity.
All in all, the big C is VITAL if you intend on minimizing signs of aging and keeping your skin looking fresh for as long as possible.
Since our bodies do not produce the vitamin on its own, it’s absolutely necessary that you get it from foods such as aubergines.
And there you have it — 9 delightful benefits of aubergine!
Sure, it’s not as tightly packed with nutrients compared to heavy-hitters like spinach and sweet potatoes.
Nevertheless, due to its rather unique taste, texture, and absorbing qualities, eggplant can be included in all kinds of recipes.
As a bonus, it’s usually quite cheap as well, and can easily be found in most ordinary grocery stores.