Eggplant boast lots of impressive health benefits, including boost weight loss, support bone health, improves digestion, help reduce inflammation…
Call it eggplant, aubergine, or a Barney the dinosaur lookalike, but this bottom-heavy purple nightshade is a staple of summer. Sliced thin in a colorful ratatouille or grilled alongside chicken or steak, eggplant is a versatile veggie—and a somewhat polarizing one as well. While some people crave its mild, almost meaty flavor, others have strong opinions about its soft, somewhat rubbery texture.
Whether you’re an eggplant superfan or a more occasional eater, you can benefit from including this veggie in your diet. Check out these six surprising health benefits of eating eggplant.
1. Eggplant nutrition facts
One cup of cubed raw eggplant (82g) provides 20 calories, 0.8g of protein, 4.8g of carbohydrates, and 0.1g of fat. Eggplant is a good source of fiber, manganese, and potassium. The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA.
One cup of raw eggplant contains 4.8 grams of carbohydrate, about half of which comes from fiber (2.4 grams). There are also almost 3 grams of naturally occurring sugars in eggplant.
Eggplant is a low-glycemic food. The glycemic load of eggplant is estimated to be 1 for a single serving.
Eggplant is almost completely fat-free.
There is less than 1 gram of protein in a single serving of eggplant.
Vitamins and Minerals
Eggplant is not a significant source of most vitamins and minerals. However, the vegetable provides manganese (10% of daily intake) and small amounts of potassium, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, niacin, copper, and magnesium.
Eggplant is a low-calorie, naturally fat-free source of complex carbohydrates with plenty of fiber. It also offers manganese and small amounts of potassium and vitamin K.
2. 6 surprising health benefits of eating eggplant
It can help reduce inflammation
In recent years, some have thrown shade at nightshade veggies (which include eggplants, tomatoes, bell peppers, and white potatoes) for potentially causing inflammation. The idea goes that substances called alkaloids in nightshades are poisonous to humans, increasing inflammation—and ultimately worsening conditions like arthritis, psoriasis, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Fortunately, science doesn’t support removing eggplant from your diet to tame inflammation. No large-scale studies have associated eating nightshade vegetables with inflammatory health conditions. In fact, anthocyanins, the pigments that give eggplants their signature dark purple color, are also powerful antioxidants. Diets rich in antioxidants have been shown to reduce—not promote—inflammation.
It could steady your blood sugar
You can add eggplant to your list of tasty, blood-sugar-friendly foods. Estimates of eggplant’s glycemic index—aka how much it raises blood sugar—range from about 15 to 30. (Foods that rank below 55 are considered low on this scale.)
Not only does eggplant not dramatically raise blood sugar, but its fiber content could also help keep your glucose in check. Unlike other carbs, fiber passes through the body undigested and slows the absorption of blood sugar. Each cup of cubed eggplant contains 2.4 grams of this nutrient.
Reduces risk of disease
Studies have shown that those people who consume fiber-rich diets are at a reduced rate of cardiovascular disease. Other research has linked higher fiber intake to a decreased risk of diabetes and certain types of cancer.
Increasingly, plant-based diets are associated with better health and a reduced risk of chronic diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity. Eggplant can have a meat-like taste and texture, so many people use it as a meat substitute in plant-based recipes. However, unlike meat, it doesn’t provide much protein.
It might boost weight loss
The fiber in eggplant isn’t just good for blood sugar (and, of course, digestive health). It’s also an important component in a successful weight loss plan. Eating plenty of fiber can help keep you feeling fuller longer, minimizing cravings. Not surprisingly, tons of studies have associated a higher-fiber diet with greater weight loss and even better adherence to a chosen diet.
Meanwhile, eggplant is seriously low in calories. An entire cup contains just 20 cals! If you’re looking to lose weight, feel free to add it to salads, curries, or baba ghanoush for extra flavor and heft—without the high-calorie price tag.
Supports bone health
Eggplants are a good source of manganese, a mineral needed for several functions in the human body, including processes that keep bones healthy.
Manganese interacts with other nutrients like calcium and vitamin D to help maintain bone health. Researchers don’t exactly know how much manganese plays a role, but animal studies have shown that manganese deficiency can impair bone formation and reduce bone mineral density. Manganese supplementation, on the other hand, can increase both bone mineral density and bone formation.
The fiber in eggplant may help to keep your digestive system healthy. Fiber is the indigestible part of carbohydrates. It helps to regulate bowels by regulating food ingestion, digestion, absorption, and metabolism.
Most adults should consume about 25 to 38 grams of fiber each day. One cup of raw eggplant provides about 10% of your daily fiber needs.