Produce of the Week

Produce of the Week: Eggplant

Eggplant is a vegetable with a lot to offer

A high amount of antioxidants, special phytonutrients and numerous vitamins and minerals too. All of these eggplant nutrition benefits come at a low calorie count of only 35 calories per cup, thanks to eggplant’s high fiber and water content.

Eggplant, a member of the night shade vegetable and Solanaceae plant family, is considered by researchers to be a part of a group of valuable vegetables due to their anthocyanin antioxidant compounds, which can be seen in eggplant’s rich purple colors.

Researchers continue to learn more about the health benefits of eggplant nutrition, but eggplant has been enjoyed around the world for thousands of years as part of healthy, traditional Middle Eastern and Mediterranean diet. Did you know that a Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest in the world?

Luckily, cooked eggplant, which is normally the type that most people eat as opposed to raw eggplant, has been shown in studies to have even more benefits. Cooking eggplant results in it having even more available antioxidant content and biological activity of beneficial properties, as the thermal effect further releases eggplant’s disease-fighting compounds.

Eggplant is not the highest in many nutrients as some of the superfoods out there, but it is unique. Eggplant contains a somewhat rare and extremely beneficial type of antioxidant known as nasunin. Nasunin is a type of anthocyanin antioxidants found in all types ofeggplant varieties in addition to other deeply colored fruits and vegetables.

The Key To Eggplant Nutrition

Nasunin is one of the key contributors to the health benefits of eggplant nutrition. Nasunin, like other antioxidants, has the ability to fight free radical damage in the body which is often the cause of the disease development and the mechanism at which our bodies’ age. Most of the nasunin present within eggplant is found in its purple skin, so consuming the entire vegetable including its peel is important to reap all of eggplant’s health benefits.