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Eggplant is an egg-ceptional addition to your diet

It’s known for its role in traditional international dishes such as French ratatouille, Mediterranean baba ganoush, Greek moussaka and Italian eggplant parmesan,

Be sure to include eggplant in your diet. A one-cup serving of cooked eggplant has just 33 calories, yet packs 10% of dietary fiber.
Be sure to include eggplant in your diet. A one-cup serving of cooked eggplant has just 33 calories, yet packs 10% of dietary fiber.
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Named for early varieties that were egg-sized and egg-colored, eggplants now come in many shapes, sizes and colors, though purple is most popular.

The folklore

The eggplant — also called aubergine, brinjal and guinea squash — is known for its signature deep purple, glossy skin.

It’s used in traditional international dishes such as French ratatouille, Mediterranean baba ganoush, Greek moussaka and Italian eggplant parmesan, where its unique flavor and health-promoting nutrients shine.

The facts

Eggplants (Solanum melongena) are part of the nightshade, or Solanaceae, family of plants, along with tomatoes, bell peppers and potatoes.

Different varieties range in size from small tomato to small football and in color from white to green to purple-striped. The outside surrounds seeds and a cream-colored, spongy flesh.

A one-cup serving of cooked eggplant has just 33 calories yet packs 10% of the daily value of dietary fiber — based on a 2,000-calorie daily diet. It contains many powerful health protective plant compounds, including flavanoids.

The findings

The dark hue of eggplants stems from a rich concentration of anthocyanins, known for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. A 2018 study suggests anthocyanins might decrease insulin resistance and improve insulin secretion, which is beneficial to people with type 2 diabetes.

Emerging science suggests eggplant might also benefit type 2 diabetes complications, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Daily ingestion of eggplant powder was shown in a 2019 study to significantly decrease blood pressure after two to three months.

Eggplants are available year-round though at their best from July to October. Choose those with firm, glossy, richly colored skin that feel heavy for their size. They store best at about 50 degrees, so refrigerate and store uncut.

Avoid peeling — the skin contains potent nutrients.

Sliced or diced, eggplant is easy to bake, roast, grill, stuff, layer in a casserole or saute with olive oil and seasonings.

Eggplant is also available dried, canned as a roasted puree and frozen cooked.

Environmental Nutrition is a newsletter written by experts on ealth and nutrition.