Just say aubergine and visions of Mediterranean stews and casseroles might dance in your head. Aubergine is the French and Italian name for the eggplant. Who doesn’t just love the deep purple eggplant color which seems to compliment any skin tone and match with just about any color? And the eggplant is well just so funny looking it can make you laugh.
The delectable fruit is a staple in Europe and the Middle East. It is nicknamed the “mad fruit” because of its relationship to the deadly nightshade fruits such as belladonna. Because of its shape and color it was also nicknamed the “bad egg.”
Although eggplant has somewhat of a sketchy reputation and all nightshade fruits should be eaten in moderation by those with arthritis it has many health benefits. Eggplant's ample bioflavonoid may be beneficial in preventing strokes and hemorrhages. The fruit contains the phytochemical monoterpene, an antioxidant helpful in preventing heart disease and cancer. The National Cancer Institute has been researching the fruits of the nightshade family, especially eggplant, to see if they may inhibit the production of steroidal hormones that encourage tumor growth. Eggplant may also prevent the oxidation of cells that leads to cancer growth. And if you should encounter a scorpion bite, apply raw eggplant directly on the affected area!
Now if you love ratatouille, mousaka, eggplant parmesan and babba gouache, you’ll be really happy to know that the eggplant supplies many nutrients, is a healthy choice and is a great addition to a dieter's menu with only 28 calories and 3 grams of sodium for 1 cup (240 ml) of boiled drained cubes. Almost fat-free, that quantity contains 0.2 grams of fat.
Although the eggplant is low in calories it is not very rich in vitamins. However, it has a plus on the mineral side. Eggplant delivers 21.4 mg of calcium, 13.0 mg of magnesium, 248 mg of potassium, and 22 mg of phosphorous.
Interestingly the body needs potassium for muscle strength and the brain needs potassium to lift one from an apprehensive mood. Calcium of coarse builds strong bones. Adequate levels of magnesium have been shown to positively affect mental health and phosphorous is needed for the transport of nutrients in and out of cells. Minerals are essential to both physical and mental health.
To boost the nutritional benefits, pair eggplant with other vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, and peppers, which supply an abundance of vitamins.
Eggplant has become very popular in the U.S. and is a major source of the cuisine of both Turkey and the Middle East. Next time you see a stack of eggplants in the grocery store smile and think of this-- There is a Middle Eastern saying that goes like this, "To dream of three aubergines is a sign of happiness.”
Now that’s it… a recipe for happiness; found in a plump purple fruit!