The 4 healthiest nutrients found in eggplant, according to RDNs

Eggplant Parmesan, please.

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Eggplants can be a surprisingly divisive vegetable — you either love them or you hate them. It could be its stark difference in textures: the insides are soft, while the skins are chewier. It could also be that eggplant haters have never had the pleasure of eating a well-prepared eggplant dish that relies on its delicate, versatile flavor and silky tender texture. A lot of what makes eggplant so tasty (at least to eggplant fans) has to do with the way it’s cooked. Bad eggplants can be a real turn on, but good eggplants are Truly Well.

If you’re not a big fan right now, it might be worth trying them again, because eggplant is a low-key nutritional powerhouse (and an excellent meatless substitute). These popular purple and occasionally purple and white streaked nightshade greens contain anthocyanins, a natural plant pigment found in several fruits and vegetables (including berries) that are very good for your body. Eggplants are also rich in fiber, especially soluble fiber, which plays a role in lowering cholesterol and maintaining blood sugar in the body. Here are the top health benefits of eggplant for you to know in detail, so now you have the best excuse to start grilling, baking, rolling, and tossing it into pasta on a regular basis.

Related:The 30 Healthiest Foods to Eat Every Day

Health benefits of eggplant

Eggplants offer a lot of soluble fiber.

Most healthy adult women should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day (38 grams for men), and eggplant can help you get there: One cup of diced eggplant provides you with 2.5 grams of fiber. Proper and regular intake of fiber from a variety of plant sources (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds) is beneficial for managing healthy cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, and gut microbiome function. says Talia Follador, RDN, LDN, a registered dietitian and owner of Follador Nutrition Services.

Eating 5 to 10 grams a day of soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol, Follador says. Of the fiber found in eggplant, about 20 percent is soluble fiber (one cup of diced eggplant offers 0.5 grams of soluble fiber), which helps your body get rid of cholesterol that would otherwise be reabsorbed and stored in the body, explains Mckenzie Caldwell, MPH, RDN, Fertility and Prenatal Dietitian at Feed Your Zest Nutrition & Wellness. She adds that fiber is important for healthy bowel movements and supporting healthy gut bacteria.

Soluble fiber may also help control blood sugar levels by slowing the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, says Follador. In the stomach, soluble fiber absorbs fluid and swells up, so it takes longer to travel from the stomach to the intestines, explains Follador. This slows down the rate at which carbohydrates are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, preventing blood sugar levels from rising too quickly. Soluble fiber also binds to some of the carbohydrates, which prevents them from being absorbed into the bloodstream, says Follador.

Related: The 10 Best Fiber-Rich Foods for Gut Health

Eggplants contain polyphenols, antioxidant plant compounds.

Eggplants contain two types of antioxidant plant chemicals called polyphenols: anthocyanins, mainly in the eggplant skin, and chlorogenic acid, mainly found in the pulp. Both anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid act as antioxidants in your body.

Antioxidants help your body get rid of things called reactive oxygen species, or ROS, which are a waste product from harmful things we’re exposed to in the environment, whether it’s pollutants in the air, water or in soil, the sun’s UV rays are just a general human produces waste, exercise also produces some ROS, Caldwell says.

When ROS levels in your body are too high, it can lead to excessive inflammation, which can cause cells to break down, weaken the immune system and damage DNA, Follador says. Anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid help keep your body from making too much ROS, minimizing cellular damage that can lead to chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Related: These foods are high in flavonoids — add them to your grocery list ASAP

Eggplants are a source of potassium.

Eggplants provide potassium, an essential mineral that plays a role in keeping blood pressure within a healthy range. Eating a diet high in potassium can help blood vessels relax, which lowers blood pressure, Follador says. Furthermore, potassium counteracts the effect of sodium, which increases blood pressure. When potassium from food enters your bloodstream, your kidneys end up removing more sodium from your blood, which in turn lowers your blood pressure.

It’s important to remember that if you have kidney disease or are taking medications that affect how your body handles potassium, you should talk to your doctor about how much potassium you can take in per day.

Eggplants are also a good source of manganese.

Speaking of essential minerals, eggplants are also a source of manganese, which aids in carbohydrate and fat metabolism, the process your body uses to break down components of food, such as carbohydrates and fat, for use as energy, Follador says. . The body uses manganese to make enzymes that break down carbohydrates and fats into these smaller, usable components. This lesser known mineral also plays a role in the production of antioxidants to prevent high levels of ROS in the body.

Eggplant recipes you’ll love

Rollatini with eggplant parmesan

: Get the recipe

Johnny Valiant

Johnny Valiant

Roasted Eggplant With Miso And Sesame Seeds

: Get the recipe

Antonis Achilleos

Antonis Achilleos

Salad Of Roasted Aubergines And Olives

: Get the recipe

Greg DuPree

Greg DuPree

Aubergine Tart With Lemon And Feta

: Get the recipe

Greg DuPree

Greg DuPree

Fried eggplant and tofu

: Get the recipe

José Picaio

Jose Picayo

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