Eggplant, also known as aubergine, belongs to nightshade family of vegetables, which also include vegetables like tomatoes, sweet peppers and potatoes. This plant is a member of Solanaceae family and is scientifically known as Solanum melongena.
Eggplant is a cold-sensitive, short-lived perennial vegetable that grows best from August through October and is native to India and Sri Lanka. This is the most important food crop mainly grown for its purple or white fruit. Several varieties of eggplant are available in other countries including the United States, Australia, Europe, New Zealand and Canada.
Eggplant has been known to contain good amount of useful nutrients. A half-cup of boiled eggplant fruit contains 0.1g of fat, 2mg of sodium, 0.4g of protein, 3.2g of carbohydrate and 119mg of potassium. One can derive almost 13Kcal of energy from this half-cup of boiled eggplant. Another important feature of this fruit is that it is completely devoid of any cholesterol. Hence, this has been found to be effective in the treatment of high blood cholesterol or hypercholesterolemia. Studies have shown that eggplant can effectively reduce cholesterol levels by almost 30 percent. Eggplant contains 92 percent water by weight. Eggplant also offers some amount of fiber, calcium, folate, and other vitamins and minerals. However, levels of all the nutrients in half-cup of eggplant are still 5 percent less than the recommended dietary allowance at this serving size.
Eggplant also contains important phytonutrients, phenolic compounds and flavonoids that are help fulin reducing toxins inside the body. Phytonutrients found inside eggplant are known as nasunin. Nasunin has a potent antioxidant property and is useful in protecting brain cell membranes.