Eggplants are one of the favorite vegetables in Filipino Cuisine. Tortang talong, eneselada, curries and more are some of the dishes that utilize this flavorful nightshade. Hoewever we always hear the claim from our elders that eggplants are devoid of nutrients! Is it true? Let us take a closer look at the eggplant to see what benefits it offers to those who include them in their diets.
Effects On Immunity
A quick look at eggplant’s nutritional profile seemingly confirms what we have always heard. Per one hundred grams of eggplant only Manganese is present in amounts that equal more than 10% of our daily recommended intake. Eggplants seem, on the surface to be nutritionally inferior to seemingly all other vegetables!
However this does not take into account the rich supply of antioxidants and metal chelating compounds it contains! Multiple studies 2 have found that eggplants are very rich in polyphenols and flavonols, organic compounds that are very good at neutralizing free radicals in our systems. This ability is called antioxidant activity We’ve explained this in detail in previous articles.
It is worth nothing that most of these compounds are found in the skin of the fruit, meaning dishes in which you remove the skin provides you with less benefits.
Many studies have been done over the years on antioxidants, unique substances that neutralize free radicals in our body. In these studies, eggplants have been shown to have the some of the highest antioxidant activity of any vegetable. This means that despite having low levels of nutrients, it’s ability to support the body’s functions is found in it’s antioxidant content.
Additionally they were shown to contain a high level of metal-chelating compounds. These compounds allow essential minerals to bind to proteins making them much easier for your body to digest. They also help your body to bind heavy metal in your body for expulsion.
Seeing as though heavy metals and free radicals are becoming more and more of a problem with environmental pollution and conventional produce, eggplants can be a great way to cleanse and protect your systems.
Eggplants are plants that require moderate attention in order to thrive. They like clay soil and full sun, and appreciate fertile soil in order to produce large numbers of fruits. Unfortunately due to high demands, eggplant is very often grown conventionally with heavy fertilizer use. Since they are often grown in monocrop situations, pests quickly become an issue resulting in many eggplant farms also heavily spraying pesticides. This is of special concern in the case of the eggplant since we usually consume the whole fruit, skin and all.
- https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267386800_Antioxidant_activity_of_different_parts_of_eggplant#:~:text=Hence%2C%20the%20higher%20antioxidant%20activity,presence%20of%20anthocyanin.%20…&text=Chua%20Hun%20Pin-,…,et%20al.%2C%202011)%20.[/efno_note] 1 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/719486/