The Eggplant

August begins the season for the eggplant. Its meaty texture and distinct flavor make it a favorite of Italian, French, Indian, Greek, Turkish, and Chinese cuisine.

 

For Health

While some folk and alternative diet gurus sometimes advise against eating eggplant, scientific evidence is squarely on the side of eggplants being health-promoting. However, if you have existing or untreated kidney or gallbladder problems, talk to your doctor or dietitian about eating eggplant due to their oxalate content (other high oxalate foods include spinach, okra, and leeks). Overall, eggplant’s unique nutritional profile is exceptional for promoting health [i][ii].

First, it’s a very low calorie food, coming in at 66 calories for 2 cups. But since it has so much fiber, it will fill you up, especially if you pair it with a good source of protein. If you’re looking to maintain or lose weight, eggplant is a great choice! [iii].

Eggplant is also a good source of thiamine and copper. Thiamine is involved in the body’s normal processing of carbohydrates for energy, so it’s an essential nutrient. Copper is important for storing and producing iron in the body. Eating eggplant will help keep your body working smoothly!

Eggplant’s firm texture makes it a great veggie substitute for meat in a dish. Going meatless at least a few times per week is good idea for your health and the health of the planet. Eggplant is also a versatile side dish that complements a range of main courses. Try this simple yet elegant recipe for roasted eggplant with basil.

 

Preparing Eggplant

Large eggplants, especially the most common eggplant sold in the US called black magic, need special care in preparation. It can have bitter notes, so before cooking, the eggplant should be sweated. Slice the eggplant according to your recipe, and salt the pieces and place in a colander. After 30 minutes to an hour, squeeze out excess liquid with your hands and a towel. Sweating also helps eggplant absorb less oil when cooking. Smaller varieties don’t need to be sweated.

 

References
[i] Curhan, G. C. Epidemiologic evidence for the role of oxalate in idiopathic nephrolithiasis. J Endourol. 1999 Nov; 13(9):629-31.
[ii] Parivar, F.; Low, R. K., and Stoller, M. L. The influence of diet on urinary stone disease. J Urol. 1996 Feb; 155(2):432-40
[iii] SELF Nutrition Data. Eggplant, cooked, boiled, drained, with salt, 1 cup. Accessed on 10/29/2015 from http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2858/2
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