Aubergine: Vegetable, fruit or berry?

There’s no guilt in eating fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains.

~ Jane Velez-Mitchell

The health benefits of aubergine, brinjal, eggplant or as Italians would say melanzana.  

Call it what you may, but this deep purple fruit, yes I said fruit, is technically classified as a berry. It also belongs to the nightshade family, but it’s not poisonous.  There are however a range of varieties in all shapes, sizes and colour. I called it deep purple only because that is the more common colour, but it does come in shades of green, red, even black.  This non complicated fruit is used in many wonderful dishes around the world and is packed with loads of health benefits for you.

So let’s take a look at some of those health benefits:

This nutrient-dense fruit is packed with a good amount of minerals, vitamins and fibre.  Just one cup of about 82 grams of raw aubergine is 20 calories. It contains 5 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fibre and 1 gram of protein.  You will also find 10% of your manganese, 5% Folate, 5% potassium, 4% vitamin K, 3% vitamin C, high iron and calcium levels as well as small amounts of niacin, magnesium and copper.

The pigment in aubergine which causes the beautiful vibrant colours is called anthocyanins the properties happen to be very rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants are responsible for protecting cells in your body against damage from harmful free radicals, preventing heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants are one of your body’s best defences against diseases like cancer. By eating aubergine you are ingesting the natural antioxidant manganese. Having high levels of this mineral in your body will ensure that your organs are well protected from illness and disease.  

It may be a pretty colour but the natural plant compounds found in the colouration play a big part in reducing osteoporosis. The iron and calcium found in the fruit are crucial for improving and preserving overall bone health.  So if you want to increase the strength and density of your bones then eat aubergine, you will also have an excellent chance of keeping the likes of anaemia at bay. A devastating  illness. 

Thanks to its high fibre content, it helps with digestion and is a great way to improve your gastrointestinal health.

In fact it also helps to improve your heart health. The fibre uses your digestive system’s bile to reduce the amount of cholesterol your body absorbs by binding it and then naturally getting rid of it. So cholesterol levels are lower. 

Maybe this is why you don’t see very many overweight Italians in Italy, due to the copious amounts of aubergine they consume, despite the vast amount of pasta in their diet.

Aubergine is rich in natural chemicals called phytonutrients, which have been known to improve mental health. This benefit is a result of increased blood flow throughout the body and into the brain. And by delivering more blood to the brain, phytonutrients help boost memory. Could this be why nothing gets past an italian grandmother?

So being a fruit that is high in fibre, low in calories and rich in nutrients your outcome has fantastic health benefits, because it reduces your risk of heart disease, controls your  blood sugar levels, aids in weight loss and is just absolutely delicious.

What more could you ask for? Maybe a couple of recipes? Check out my recipe for: Stuffed Aubergines and Brinjals á la GrecQue Recipe

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