How to use an eggplant in nutrition

Eggplant protects the brain and prevents osteoporosis

In addition to the abundance of fibres it contains that are essential for good digestion, eggplant also contains valuable antioxidants and minerals that protect the nervous and skeletal system. It is originally from India, where they grew its wild ancestor, but it was first cultivated in China in the 5th century BC. It came to Africa over the Middle East in the 14th century in Italy. A century later, it began to be cultivated in Europe, and today you can find it in Italy, Turkey, Egypt, China and Japan because they are the largest producers of eggplant in the world.

Although it has a long and rich history, it is not widely used in the world’s cuisine. Because of the bitterness its ancestors had, it was thought that it may cause insanity, leprosy and cancer, and was usually cultivated as an ornamental plant until the 18th century, when the cultivated species became less bitter.

Does eggplant contain calories?

The eggplant is low in calories, 100 grams of this delicious vegetable contains only 28 calories, which is very good for all of you who are planning a healthy diet. It is an excellent source of fibre (stimulates intestinal movement and gives a feeling of fullness), potassium, vitamin B and B6 and a good source of folic acid, manganese, niacin, magnesium and copper.
It contains phytonutrients (caffeic and chlorogenic acid) and flavonoids, such as nasunina, a powerful antioxidant that prevents the harmful effects of free radicals and protects cell membranes from damage. In a research conducted on animas it was found that a blue eggplant is extremely effective in the protection of cell membranes of the brain. Nasunin protects the lipids in the cell membrane, which neutralizes the effects of free radicals, and is also responsible for the leakage of nutrients and expulsion of waste.

Precious chlorogenic acid

Researchers at the US Agricultural Service in Beltsville (Maryland) found that eggplant is a rich source of phenolic compounds - powerful antioxidants - which prevent the spread of bacteria and fungi. Also it is abundant in chlorogenic acids, which also prevent harmful effects of free radicals; they have an anticancer, antimicrobial and antiviral effect.

Studies conducted on a laboratory mice have shown that the eggplant juice significantly reduces cholesterol, and that it relaxes the arteries, thus lowering blood pressure. Also, thanks to nasuninu it eliminates the excess iron from the body (if it has too much of it, it can stimulate the production of free radicals, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and damages joints).

It strengthens the bones in a menopause

Menopausal women should eat an eggplant as often as possible, because this vegetable strengthens bones and prevents osteoporosis. Phenolic compounds, which give it its characteristic colour, are the only one component of this vegetable that has a beneficial effect on bone system and prevents its degradation. Calcium and iron also are greatly beneficial for this and are also contained in this vegetable. In addition, this vegetable contains a lot of potassium, which stimulates the absorption of calcium, so it plays an important role in preventing osteoporosis.

It has a bad side

Eggplant is a great choice if you want to exclude meat from your nutrition. However, it is important to know that a part of this vegetable has a lot of oxalates, which in high concentrations can cause health problems.

People who have kidney stones or gallbladder should avoid eggplants, because if oxalates are digested to the extent that they cannot be metabolized - they crystallize, so they can cause health problems due to reduced absorption of calcium. It is therefore important to adapt and harmonize your food menu according to your personal needs.

Best meals with eggplant

We have prepared two great recipes with an eggplant so let’s get going:

Ćevapi with grilled eggplant

Ingredients needed (four persons): 

  • 400 grams of minced meat
  • 400 g of cooked and grated potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons of finely minced parsley leaves
  • 1 finely chopped green chilli pepper
  • 2 eggs (yolks mixed with meat and potatoes, mix egg whites and whisk well to be used for panning finished kebabs)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 eggplant
  • salt, pepper and vegetable seasoning to taste
  • bread crumb
  • Oil for frying

How to prepare this dish: 

Put all the ingredients (except the oil, bread crumbs and egg whites) in a bowl and mix them well, then form a ćevap. Roll each piece of meat in a beaten egg whites and then in bread crumbs. Fry ćevap in plenty of oil until it gets golden brown from all sides. First of all peel an eggplant, cut it into slices and season it with salt. After at least an hour, drain it and cover it with olive oil and bake it in the grill pan.

Eggplant which is baked in the oven needs to be seasoned with parsley, garlic, green pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This dish is one that is moderately difficult to make and for its preparation you will need about 60 minutes.

Stuffed eggplant with minced meat

Ingredients needed (four people):

  • 4 small eggplants
  • 400 g of ground beef
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 2 smaller onions
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic
  • Half a teaspoon of nutmeg
  • half a teaspoon of pepper (freshly grind)
  • a tablespoon of sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese
  • about 150 grams of mozzarella
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons of high-quality olive oil

Preparing the recipe:

Cut the eggplant lengthwise, and then spoon scoop out each half so that there is about 5 mm of outer layer left. Chop the carved middle part. Heat the pan with some olive oil and fry the finely chopped onions until golden. Then add the minced meat and cook it until it changes colour. Add the middle of the chopped eggplant, and then add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, and finely chopped garlic and tomato puree.

Simmer 5 to 10 minutes, and then stuff half of the eggplant and arrange them in a baking pan buttered with a little olive oil. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes. Take it out of the oven, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bits of mozzarella, and return it to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes.

For stuffed eggplant you will need about an hour to prepare it and it is one of the more challenging dishes.