Aubergines are one of the most elegant-looking vegetables you’ll find in the shops! With their glossy and dark purple skins, they are eaten all around the world, most famously in Mediterranean dishes. They are available all year round, but they are typically in season from July to September. In addition to the classic purple variety, aubergines are available in other colours including lavender, jade green, orange and yellow and in a range of shapes and sizes. Let’s find out their health benefits!
THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF AUBERGINES
- High in Antioxidants
Aubergines are rich in antioxidants, that help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. Specifically, they are high in nasunin found in aubergine skin – which gives it its purple colour. Nasunin is a potent antioxidant and it helps protect the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes. Cell membranes are almost entirely composed of lipids. They are responsible for protecting the cell and helping it to function.
- Promote Blood Sugar Control
Aubergines are high in fibre, which can slow the rate of digestion and absorption of sugar. Slower absorption keeps blood sugar levels steady. That’s why aubergines are recommended for those managing type 2 diabetes. Research suggest that phenolic-enriched extracts of aubergine may help in controlling glucose absorption, and reducing associated high blood pressure (hypertension).
- Rich in Nutrients
Aubergines are low in calories and are an excellent source of dietary fibre. They are also a good source of vitamins B1 and B6 and potassium. Plus, they are high in the minerals copper, magnesium and manganese.
- Improve Hearth Health
Some studies have found that, thanks to their antioxidant content, aubergines may help reduce the risk of heart disease. In fact, they can reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, two blood markers that can lead to an increased risk of heart disease when elevated. Other studies have demonstrated that aubergines may have a protective effect on the heart, too.
- May help with Weight Loss
As said before, Aubergines are high in fibre and low in calories, which makes them an excellent ingredient for any weight loss diet. A cup of raw aubergines contains just 20 calories, so they can be used as a low-calorie replacement for higher-calorie ingredients in many recipes.
Plus, fibre goes through the digestive system slowly, promoting fullness and satiety.
- Improve Brain Function
Aubergines are great sources of phytonutrients, which have long been thought to assist in boosting cognitive activity and general mental health. They not only defend against the free radical activity but also increase blood flow to the brain. That’s because phytonutrients and potassium act as a vasodilator, delivering more oxygen-rich blood to the brain.
HOW TO SELECT AND STORE YOUR AUBERGINES
On visual inspection, the skin colour of your aubergines should be vivid, shiny. Choose auberinges that are firm and heavy for their size. To test the ripeness of an aubergine, gently press the skin with the pad of your thumb. If it springs back, the aubergine is ripe, if an indentation remains, it is not.
Aubergines are quite perishable. Store them in the fridge where they will keep for a few days. Once cooked, they can be stored in the fridge for up to three days.
Now that you know that Aubergines are a healthy and very versatile ingredient, add them in your diet and in your favourite recipes!