While eggplants (also known as aubergines in parts of the world) are typically prepared as a vegetable, they’re classified as a fruit because they grow from a flowering plant and contain seeds. Regardless of their botanical categorization, eggplants are packed with nutrients. Read on to learn about the top health benefits of eggplants and discover some heart-healthy eggplant recipes.
Top Health Benefits of Eggplants
High In Antioxidants
Eggplants are well-known for their deep, purple color, but the unique hue actually adds some health benefits. Anthocyanins, the pigment that’s responsible for giving eggplant it’s jewel-toned color, have antioxidant properties.1 In fact, emerging test-tube research has shown that this pigment protects against cell damage caused by free radicals.2,3
May Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels
Due to their fiber content, eggplants can slow the rate at which your body digests and absorbs sugar. By slowing this process down, blood sugar levels can remain steady, which helps prevent spikes and crashes.4 In addition to fiber, eggplants contain natural plant compounds called polyphenols. Research suggests that polyphenols can reduce sugar absorption while boosting insulin secretion, which can also help lower blood sugar.5
May Promote Heart Health
Elevated levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. However, preliminary test-tube and animal studies have shown that eggplant can lower the level of both these compounds.6 Another animal study showed that eggplant, whether consumed raw or cooked, had a protective effect on heart function.7 The results of these studies are promising, but more research is needed to evaluate whether eggplants may affect human heart health in a similar way.
Healthy Eggplant Recipes
When you hear “eggplant recipes,” you may immediately think of eggplant parmesan. While there are plenty of ways to create a more heart-healthy eggplant parmesan, don’t limit this versatile food to just one dish. Eggplants can be delicious when grilled, baked, roasted, or added to a stir fry. For an even more creative way to eat eggplants, try a grilled eggplant burger or the famous French dish, ratatouille.
You may see eggplants at your local grocery store year-round, but this vibrant fruit reaches peak season from July through October. Pick one (or a few) up on your next grocery run and discover just how delicious this fruit is.
This article is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as or substituted for medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified health care provider with any questions about your health or a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice because of something you have read on the internet.