America has become a land where a vast majority of people are addicted to processed sugar and junk food. Making unhealthy food choices sparks all sorts of health problems. Sadly, instead of educating people on how to truly improve their health through food and lifestyle, many medical professionals write prescriptions instead. People pop pills for almost any and every ailment. Obesity, diabetes and heart disease are rampant in our society. Any simple step you take to improve your eating habits and lifestyle will strengthen your immune system and help you avoid serious health problems. For instance, you can improve your health (a lot) simply by incorporating more eggplant into your diet.
Eggplant comes in, at least, seven different varieties, including some that come in white, orange, yellow and green! There are many ways to prepare this nutritionally dense food. It’s low in calories, high in fiber and relatively easy to grow in your own garden. Just one serving gives you a power-pack of minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and phosphorous. On top of that, this fruit (Yes, technically, it’s a fruit that we usually call a vegetable.) also contains vitamins A, C and K. It’s a food that practitioners in India have used medicinally since ancient times.
They treat diabetes with eggplant in India
For thousands of years, many people in India practice a form of alternative medicine called “ayurveda.” The goal of this natural health system is to cleanse and restore the body, mind and spirit. Those who use this holistic form of medicine believe that ill health occurs when there is stress or imbalance in a person’s consciousness. They believe that diet, herbs, exercise, meditation, breathing and other natural remedies strengthen the body, mind and spirit and keep a person healthy. So, where does eggplant come in? Well, it just so happens that eggplant is loaded with fiber.
Fiber helps slow the absorption of sugar in the body and aids in the digestive process. Making eggplant a regular part of your diet can help keep blood sugar levels in check. This is why ayurvedic practitioners use eggplant to treat diabetes. Controlling blood sugar levels helps avoid glucose spikes and crashes.
How does eggplant prevent heart disease?
Antioxidants are cancer-fighting agents that you can easily get by eating blackberries, blueberries, broccoli and other healthy fruits and vegetables. Eggplants are high in antioxidants! Studies show that eating eggplant may also help improve heart function by lowering LDL cholesterol and tryglycerides. The antioxidants in eggplant may help prevent plaque and inflammation from forming in the walls of your arteries, which, in turn, may lower your risk for heart disease.
In addition to keeping your heart healthy, the antioxidants in an eggplant helps fight against free radicals. Free radicals are basically molecules with an uneven number of electrons. The molecules contain oxygen and because they react easily with other molecules, they cause large chain chemical reactions in the body. This is known as oxidation. It’s bad. It often leads to cancer because the unstable, chemically reactive molecules (free radicals) do serious damage to lips, proteins and DNA. Eating foods like eggplant that are high in antioxidants helps prevent this damage.
Benefits of meat without eating meat
Nowadays, many people prefer a diet that contains little to no meat at all. If you’re in this category, you’ll definitely want to eat more eggplant. Because of its high fiber, low fat and low calorie content, it’s a perfect meat substitute. Some people remove the skin before eating eggplant. Others leave it on. You can experiment with different recipes to discover your own preferences. You can saute eggplant or roast it, steam it, grill it or bake it. Baking it, of course, will have less calories than breading it and frying it in oil.
Eggplant isn’t really a food you can prep way ahead of time. In fact, you shouldn’t cut it until you’re ready to use it. It’s rather fragile and get brown and nasty quickly, once you cut it open.
A word about nightshade allergies
Some people have bad reactions to foods in the nightshade family. This includes things like tomatoes, green peppers and potatoes. It also includes eggplant. Symptoms of a nightshade allergy may include developing an itchy rash or hives, inflammation, nausea, vomiting or excessive mucous. If you know that you are allergic to nightshade foods, you’ll want to avoid eggplant.
Dietary and lifestyle changes are keys to good health
More and more people are getting on-board with the idea of natural remedies, holistic medicine and growing their own food to improve their health. Trading bad habits (Fast food, processed sugar, pre-packaged foods, etc.) for good habits (leafy greens, veggies, fruit, fresh, whole foods that haven’t been sprayed with pesticides) is a MUST if you want to be healthy. Eating eggplant and other foods that are high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals provides your body what it needs to be strong and free of disease.
What are some of your favorite ways to cook eggplant?