What are the health benefits of eating eggplant?

Purple-skinned eggplant is full of phenols that help your body better use blood sugar. And that's great, because you don't need extra blood sugar running around. Too much in the bloodstream could wreak havoc with your organs. But that's not all eggplant's got. In addition to favorable effects on blood sugar, eggplant's supercharged phenols may also inhibit an enzyme tied to high blood pressure. Plus, the phenols have antioxidant actions. Go purple power!
Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine
Research on eggplant has focused on an anthocyanin flavonoid found in eggplant skin called nasunin. A potent antioxidant and free-radical scavenger, nasunin has been shown to protect cell membranes from damage. In animal studies, nasunin has been found to protect the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes. Cell membranes are almost entirely composed of lipids and are responsible for protecting the cell from free radicals, letting nutrients in and wastes out, and receiving instructions from messenger molecules that tell the cell which activities it should perform. Nasunin is not only a potent free-radical scavenger, but it also helps move excess iron out of the body.

Although iron is an essential nutrient and is necessary for oxygen transport, normal immune function, and collagen synthesis, too much iron is not a good thing. Excess iron increases free-radical production and is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and cancer. Menstruating women, who lose iron every month in their menstrual flow, are unlikely to be at risk, but in postmenopausal women and men, iron, which is not easily excreted, can accumulate. By helping to bind excess iron, nasunin lessens free-radical formation with numerous beneficial results, including protecting blood cholesterol (which is also a type of lipid or fat) from becoming a highly reactive toxic form; preventing cellular damage that can promote cancer; and lessening free radical damage in joints, which is a primary factor in arthritis.

Eggplant may also help to lower cholesterol levels. When rabbits with high cholesterol were given eggplant juice, their blood cholesterol, the cholesterol in their artery walls, and the cholesterol in their aortas (the aorta is the artery that returns blood to the heart) was significantly reduced, while the walls of their blood vessels.
Encyclopedia of Healing Foods

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Encyclopedia of Healing Foods

From the bestselling authors of The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, the most comprehensive and practical guide available to the nutritional benefits and medicinal properties of virtually everything...

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Health Value Of Foods

Health Value Of Foods

A healthy diet is rich in foods with high nutritional value, providing your body with the vitamins, minerals and other food nutrients it needs to protect against disease and maintain a healthy weight. To identify healthy foods, it...

's important to read nutrition labels and know the source of your food. Products advertised as whole-grain, organic or fortified may not necessarily be healthy for you. Find out how to get the most health value from various fruits, nuts, spices, oils and vegetables -- and learn which types of red meat and processed foods to avoid -- with expert advice from Sharecare.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.