Eggplant Protects Against Cancer

Eggplant is more than just a pretty face. It’s packed with nutrition too. One of the clues to its impressive health benefits lies in the deep purple color of its skin. You may recall from my earlier articles that bright and deep-colored fruits and vegetables give clues into their nutritional benefits.

In the case of eggplant, the gorgeous dark-purple skin contains a potent phytonutrient called nasunin which acts as a powerful antioxidant, protecting cell membranes from damage. In animal studies, nasunin protected the fats in brain cell membranes. Since our brains are about 60 percent fat (yes, we actually ARE fat heads!) that’s great news. And the membranes of cells are almost completely composed of fats.  Cellular membranes work by protecting cells from free radical damage, allowing wastes to leave the cells while letting nutrients into them.

Eggplant also contains chlorogenic acid, which protects DNA from mutations and has anti-cancer properties. It is also antiviral, antibacterial, and helps lower the harmful cholesterol (LDL).

Selecting and Storing Eggplant

Choose eggplants that are dark purple to almost black. They should be firm and free of imperfections, if possible. Eggplant tends to go bad quickly if there are perforations on the skin. Ideally store at approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit/10 degrees Celsius since eggplants are sensitive to both heat and cold. Avoid cutting eggplant prior to storing it as it will spoil quickly after the skin is punctured.

Enjoying Eggplant

It is excellent roasted and pureed as a dip or sandwich spread, baked with peppers and a dash of balsamic vinegar, or cubed and added to curries. It absorbs oil so avoid using it in dishes containing high amounts of oil. I enjoy grilling them on stovetop cast iron grill and then using them in curries and stews. They  pick up the flavor of anything they are cooked alongside.

Safety Suggestion

Avoid eating in moderate to large quantities if you suffer from kidney or gall stones since eggplant contains measurable amounts of oxalates.

Subscribe to my free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow me on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.  Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.

73 comments

Genoveva M.
Genoveva M M.3 years ago

Egg plant can be cook in so many different ways that can be eat often.
Thanks for the article.

Joy S.
Joy s.3 years ago

Do you have to eat the purple peeling to get the most benefit. I make eggplant parmesan quite often but I do peel the eggplant. Am I losing the anti cancer fighting properties????

Dubravka T.
Dubravka T.3 years ago

Thank youfor all the useful comments; I do not like eggplant, but knowing it's healthful i can eat salad of roasted eggplant specially with roasted peppers, olive oil and garlic.

Elaine B.
Elaine Bauer3 years ago

Love this fruit; caution: flatulence factor is rather high. (Some might enjoy this side effect!)

Dee D.
Dolores D.3 years ago

Thanks....love eggplant, but don't eat enough of it.

Sheleen Addison
Sheleen Addison3 years ago

I love eggplants and eat them a lot

Spirit Spider
Spirit Spider3 years ago

I love eggplant even more now! (I always eat the skin) :-)

Leena K.
Leena K.3 years ago

Good, delicious and healthy, thanks.

Pinke A.
Pinke A.3 years ago

Thank you,this I didn't know!

Joe R.
Joe R.3 years ago

It probably wasn't too healthful, but I loved the fried eggplant my Italian neighbor made when I was a kid.