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Fresh is best

If you’re trying to quit smoking, there are some who will tell you that eating a lot of eggplant will help. This is because the purple vegetable has more nicotine than any other edible plant. But have no fear that eating it may cause you to have cancer. In fact, just the opposite is true. Eggplant contains some powerful phytonutrients (plant nutrients) that have been shown to actually protect cells against cancer.

In fact the amount of nicotine in eggplant is so small that you would have to eat about 20 pounds to get anywhere near the amount found in a single cigarette.

It’s one of the few late summer crops in Bermuda and, despite the drought earlier in the season, most farmers have been able to harvest some.

Eggplant

Scientific name: solanum melongena

Family of: solanaceae

Related to: tomato, bell pepper, potato

Grown: in Bermuda

Vitamin content: a very good source of B1 (thiamin), a good source of vitamins B6 (pyridoxine), folate (B9), and B3 (niacin).

Mineral content: a very good source of potassium, manganese and copper and a good source of magnesium.

Dietary fibre: a good source of dietary fiber with about 2.48 grams in one cup of the cooked vegetable.

Omega 3 fatty acids: about 14.8 mg in one cup of the cooked vegetable.

Omega 6 fatty acids: about 77.2 mg in one cup of the cooked vegetable.

Protein: a good source of the amino acid tryptophan. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.

Good for: eggplant is most famous with nutritionists for its cholesterol-fighting ability. Chlorogenic acid one of the phytonutrients it contains has been shown to fight LDL cholesterol (that’s the bad one).

In an animal study, when those with high cholesterol were fed eggplant juice their blood cholesterol levels declined significantly. But additionally cholesterol also fell significantly in their artery walls , even in the aorta, the large artery that pumps blood from the heart to the entire body.

Another major benefit of chlorogenic acid is that it prevents cells from mutating. This makes it a good protector against cancer. In simple terms, cancer is a normal cell that has lost its ability to stop multiplying. It is therefore a mutated cell.

Chlorogenic acid also provides protection to the body because it has antimicrobal properties it’s a germ fighter.

The skin of eggplant contains nasunin, a phytonutrient that protects cell membranes from damage. Cell membranes are fatty, composed entirely from lipids.

The lipid membrane is a barrier against free radicals, lets nutrients into the cell, helps wastes to leave and receives instructions from messenger molecules that tell the cell which activities it should perform. In animal studies nasunin protected the lipid membrane of brain cells.

Nasunin does not only have this antioxidant benefit, it also rids the body of excess iron.

This is extremely important as iron is not water soluble and therefore cannot be sweated out or released from the body in urine. While iron is a necessary mineral , too much is toxic.

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Published September 06, 2011 at 9:54 am (Updated September 06, 2011 at 9:54 am)

Fresh is best

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