When most people think of vegetables, eggplants may not be the first food that comes their minds. However, this unique vegetable is one of the healthiest and most versatile plants in the world and it is one that can be a delicious and healthy addition to any meal. Filled with vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants, adding eggplant to your meal can be a great way to make certain your body is getting just what it needs in order to stay as healthy as possible.
The Health Benefits of Eggplants
While eggplant, which is part of the nightshade family, is filled with vitamin B, potassium and vitamin K, it is best known for being a great source of fiber. It is also packed with phytonutrients and phenolic compounds that make it great for brain health and function as well as better cardiovascular health.
Need more reasons to try this bold, purple vegetable? Here are some of the other great health benefits of eggplants that you may not know about.
- Although it is rich in nutrients, eggplant is low in calories, with just 35 calories per cup
- Eggplants are actually used to help manage and control diabetes
- Eggplants are high in bioflavonoids which can help control high blood pressure
- These vegetables can limit cholesterol
- Studies on eggplants have found they are great in preventing blood clots thanks to all of the vitamin K in these foods
- Eggplants are high in fiber and don’t contain any fat
- Many of the phyto nutrients in the eggplant that give it that rich purple color are actually stored in the skin, so don’t forget about the skin when eating this veggie
However, if you are new to eggplants and aren’t already familiar with these vegetables, there is no better time than the present to give eggplant a try. While you can enjoy this vegetable in a variety of dishes, it is perhaps most common in Italian cuisine. Roasted, baked or fried, eggplant can be perfectly complimented with parmesan, peppers, onions tomatoes, fennel, mushrooms, meatballs and other classic Italian items.
You can eat eggplant either with or without the skin, and enjoy it prepared virtually any way that you like, however one of the most popular ways to enjoy eggplant and one of the best ways for eggplant newcomers to enjoy this vegetable is in the classic Italian dish Eggplant Parmesan.
This popular Italian dish actually hails from southern Italy and while there is some dispute on its specific origins, many claim it is from Naples, Parma or Sicily. traditionally is made by slicing the eggplant and frying it in olive oil. However, there are many different interpretations of this dish, with many chefs putting their eggplant in batter first, or even grilling or baking the eggplant. Typically, you will see this dish made with different cheeses, tomato sauces and basil and served in layers similar to a lasagna.
Since eggplant is so healthy on its own, many chefs today will prepare this dish in a lighter manner so that diners can enjoy some of the unique health benefits that come with eggplants. It is also a popular way for Italian cuisine-fans to enjoy the flavors of pasta without the extra carbohydrates and a great way for vegetarians to enjoy Italian cuisine without the meat.
Next time you want to add some great vitamins and nutrients to your meal, while still enjoying some great Italian flavors, give eggplant a try, or more specifically order yourself an Eggplant Parmesan, we know you will be happy you did.