Aubergines or eggplants are a member of the nightshade family of plants that include bell peppers, potatoes and tomatoes. While aubergines exist in different shapes, sizes and colours (green, yellow, white and purple), they all contain substantial amounts of nutrients, including fibre, antioxidants, beta-carotene, folate, magnesium and potassium.
The dark purple varieties of aubergines are a particularly rich source of polyphenols and flavonoid antioxidants that protect the cardiovascular system from damaging free radicals in the body, and prevent diabetes and hypertension.
With their high fibre content (3.4g/100g), aubergines can help to manage diabetes, aid weight loss and promote digestive health by maintaining bowel regularity.
Nutritional content per 100g: 25kcal, 6g Carbohydrate, 1g Protein, 0.2g Fat, 3.4g Fibre
How to get the best from your aubergine
- Select: Choose fruits that are devoid of bruises and scars, which may indicate that they are going off. Good fruits should glossy, and vivid in color. If the skin springs back when pressed firmly, it is ripe and ready to cook. However, if the indentation remains, the fruit is still unripe.
- Store: Aubergines go bad fairly quickly so endeavor to eat them within a day of purchase. Otherwise, store them whole in plastic bag and keep them in the fridge where they will remain fresh for about three days.
- Cook: As most of the beneficial nutrients are stored within the skin, aubergines should be cooked with the skin left on. They can be grilled, roasted or fried. Aubergines can soak up a lot of oil when fried. You can prevent this by sprinkling them with salt, and squeezing out the excess water before frying. Grilling and roasting are the healthiest ways to cook aubergines.
Where to buy: Aubergines are sold in many supermarkets including Spar and Shoprite in Nigeria. You can also buy them from the vegandfruits mini market on 34 Idowu Martins, Victoria Island, Lagos.