8 Secret Health Benefits of Eggplant

Discover the Health Benefits of Eggplant, ways to cook and prepare eggplant and how eggplant grows.

Our vegetable of the week is Eggplant.

It’s time to learn about the health benefits of eggplant!

Eggplant is absolutely, hands down, one of my favorite veggies!  Not just because of the flavor but what’s not to love about the deep purple, plum color of eggplant?!  Purple IS my favorite color…. But the flavor is truly delish and it’s basically like a sponge,  it soaks up whatever seasoning and flavor you add to it so it makes it super versatile. 

With just 20 calories per cup, eggplant is one of the best weight loss friendly foods.  And these are 20 nutrient dense calories!  If you are trying to lose weight and are reducing calories, you want to consume nutrient dense foods to provide your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to keep you healthy and full of energy. 

Think of it like this… 20 calories of Doritos (what, is that like 2 Doritos?!?! and who even eats only 2 Doritos!?!  LOL) Anyways, 20 calories of Doritos are not the same as 20 calories of eggplant.  While foods like Doritos are super yummy, they do not provide many, if any nutrients to fuel our bodies and protect it from diseases.  I promise you, you would NOT feel satisfied with just 20 calories of Doritos either! 

But…. You would feel more satisfied and way FULLER after eating a cup of eggplant.

Not sure what to do with it and how it benefits you health wise to eat it? 

Be sure to keep reading to learn all about the health benefits of eggplant and how it grows…

Health Benefits of eggplant 5

So, let’s jump into the health benefits of eggplant and the magic that fills them!

Eggplant is very rich in antioxidants.  Antioxidants slow or even prevent damage from being done to our healthy cells and this helps reduce our risks of heart disease and cancer.  You can read more about the importance of antioxidants here. 

The pigments in eggplant skin that give it the purple hue are called anthocyanins.  They have been shown to be anti-inflammatory and protect us from heart disease.  Anthocyanins can help lower blood pressure.  Eggplants also have the following heart disease fighting vitamins and minerals: vitamin c, potassium, vitamin B-6.  The fiber content helps reduce cholesterol.

Eggplants contain cancer fighting polyphenols.  More and more studies are showing their importance in protecting us against many types of cancer. 

The nasunin found in eggplant skin can help prevent memory loss and may help boost brain function.  It may help prevent Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.  Interesting to note that nasunin is only found in 3 other vegetables: red turnip, red cabbage and the purple radish.

Eggplant has lutein and zeaxanthin which has been shown to help prevent age related vision loss.

Eggplants are excellent for weight loss.  They are low calories and high fiber!  Fiber helps us feel fuller longer and is great for digestion and gut health.  Read more about why we need to consume more fiber here.  (insert link)

The iron in eggplant can help fight anemia.

The manganese content in eggplant helps our bodies to produce collagen which helps with skin elasticity and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  It also helps skin wounds heal faster.  Manganese has strong antioxidant properties that help fight chronic diseases.  It also helps reduce inflammation and plays a role in regulating blood sugar levels.

As you can see, there are many health benefits of eggplant for only 20 calories!  OH, and it’s lower in carbs as well.  Only 5g per cup.

Health Benefits of eggplant 7

How to choose the perfect eggplant to maximize the health benefits of eggplant

Eggplant is readily available all year round, but eggplant is in peak season from July-October in north America.

When choosing your eggplant, look for one that is firm and uniform in color and has a shiny skin.  Lightly press your finger into the skin.  If it leaves an imprint, the eggplant is ripe and ready.

How to store, cook and prepare eggplant: 

Storing your eggplant

Eggplant is best stored at temperatures around 50*.  This makes things difficult as it’s too cold in the fridge but too warm on the counter.  If you are planning to eat eggplant within 1-2 days, store on the counter.  For storage of up to 5 days, store in a crisper drawer in the fridge.  Try to serve as quickly as possible after purchasing or picking from a plant.  I have had great success oven roasting my eggplant and freezing to serve later.

Ways to cook and prepare eggplant:

Grilled eggplant seasoned with any of your favorite seasoning is a great side dish in summer!

I love to oven roast eggplant.  Simply slice or dice and drizzle with olive oil.  Go easy on the olive oil as eggplant is like a sponge and will soak it up!  Oven roast at 350* for 30-45 minutes.  I actually bought a refillable olive oil sprayer.  I now just light spritz my veggies on the baking sheet.  Cuts down on the oil and calories!

My favorite eggplant is actually the Japanese eggplant.   These smaller, thinner eggplants slice and dice up easily and because they are still like a sponge, they soak up whatever sauce or seasoning you desire. We use it in stir fries but also tastes great with any red sauce dish.

Add 1 cup of oven roasted eggplant to the top of your spaghetti.  It sure helps fill you up with only adding 20 additional calories!

And who can forget Eggplant Parmesan.  Short on time?  Simply sauté or oven roast your eggplant, top with some spaghetti sauce and lots of parmesan cheese.  Tastes the same and ½ the work of eggplant parm.  Plus, you save calories by not adding the bread crumbs.

Add a layer of thinly sliced eggplant to your next lasagna.

Trying to eat low carb?  Use sliced eggplant as your pizza crust.  Top the sliced eggplant with mozzarella cheese and any other of your favorite pizza toppings.  Bake at 350* for 20-30 minutes.

What is your favorite way to eat eggplant? 

Be sure to share your recipes let us know in the Veggie Obsessed Facebook group!

How to grow Eggplant

Now that you know the Health Benefits of Eggplant, it’s time to dig into how it grows!

Even if you don’t have a green thumb and have ZERO intention of growing your own eggplant, I think it’s important that we know how our food grows and what it looks like as it grows.

The seed of an eggplant is really itty bitty tiny.

Health Benefits of eggplant seed

Here are Eggplant Seedlings.

Eggplant Seedlings grow rather slowly.  It takes about 8-12 weeks to have decent sized seedlings that are ready to be planted in the garden.

Spaghetti with eggplants health benefits of eggplant

It takes about 100-150 days from seed to harvest. For some, the weather just isn’t hot enough, long enough to bother growing them.  For those of us in the southern states, we can grow them all late spring, summer and early fall.  The plants can get quite large during a longer growing season and you can harvest many, many eggplant.  Especially off the Japanese type plants. 

Even the eggplant blossoms are beautiful.  They are a pretty purple, delicate flower.

Health Benefits of Eggplant flower

Now you know the Health Benefits of Eggplant, will you be adding more eggplant to your meal plan?

Have additional ways to cook and prepare eggplant?  I’d love to hear all about them! Be sure to comment below or share them in our Veggie Obsessed Facebook Group!

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Hi, I'm Jodie!

Hey there my friend! My name is Jodie Crandall and I’m a veggie loving certified health and nutrition coach on a journey to spread the word about how amazing veggies are for our health!  I am a self-proclaimed “plant-based meat eater” who has recently lost almost 50 pounds by eating more veggies!

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