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HEALTHY CORNER: Egg Plant for a healthy Heart

Eggplant a purple, glossy fruit that is cooked as a vegetable belong to the nightshade family which also includes tomatoes, sweet peppers and potatoes. They grow in a manner much like tomatoes, hanging from the vines of a plant that grows several feet in height.

Eggplant is popular in vegetarian and ethnic cuisines but is also great for those wanting to experiment with different ways to cook eggplant and to use it as a side dish. Eggplant comes in many varieties: Chinese and Japanese eggplant which can be distinguished by their slender shapes, Globe varieties which are the popular deep purple, large egg-shaped eggplant that are typically found in most supermarkets and mini varieties perfect for quick cooking. The skin is edible although some cooks prefer to peel the larger eggplants

There are many varieties of eggplant, but the Black Magic variety  was found to have three times the amount of antioxidant phenolics as compared to the other varieties. In addition the phenolic acid in eggplant is also responsible for the eggplants slight bitter taste and the browning the results when the flesh is cut. Eggplants are available in markets throughout the year.

 Health Benefits

Chlorogenic Acid:

Chlorogenic acid is a plant compound that is known for its high antioxidant activity. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service found chlorogenic acid to be the dominant antioxidant compound in eggplant. They report that this is significant because chlorogenic acid has a great capacity to fight free radicals, and is also able to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Chlorogenic acid is also antimutagenic, which means it can protect cells from mutating into cancer cells; and it is also antiviral.

Nasunin is an antioxidant compound found in the peels of eggplant.  Studies shows that the nasunin in eggplant has antiangiogenic abilities and according to the studies when something is angiogenic, it stimulates new growth of blood vessels and blood supply. While that sounds like it could be a good thing, when it comes to cancer, it is not. Cancerous cells can gain angiogenesis ability, which means they can develop a means to increase their own blood supply, which can cause a cancerous mass or tumor to grow rather quickly. Nasunin in eggplant has the ability to prevent angiogenesis from occurring.

Rice filled and Backed Eggplants

Fiber, Vitamins and Minerals:

 Eggplant is also an excellent source of dietary fiber, which can help protect against colon cancer and keeps the digestive system regular. The vitamins in eggplant consist primarily of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), B vitamins, folate and vitamin C. Eggplant is also rich in minerals, boasting a large quantity of potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous. With no fat, six carbs and 27 calories in a 1-cup serving, eggplant makes an excellent addition to any diet.


Stuffed Eggplant