Eggplant is a popular vegetable in Italian and Asian cuisine. It is one of those veggies that is so versatile, it can be incorporated into your meal plan in a number of ways. It tastes great baked, roasted, grilled or sautéed.
This bright purple vegetable is rich in antioxidants that have been shown to reduce inflammation and fight off disease. Because it’s high in fiber and low in calories, consuming eggplant regularly can even help you shed pounds.
In fact, eggplant is often used as a low calorie and low carb substitution to lighten recipes. For instance, eggplant lasagne uses strips of eggplant in place of high carb noodles. Swapping out your noodles for eggplant reduces both the carb and calorie intake while boosting the fiber and nutrient content of your dishes and casseroles.
So, if you’re trying to win the battle of the bulge and get in shape, keep reading to find out all the reasons why you should give eggplant a try.
Is Eggplant Keto Friendly?
Eggplant is a non-starchy vegetable that is fairly low in carbs. In fact, an entire 1-pound eggplant contains fewer carbs than in 2 slices of bread.
How Many Carbs are in an Eggplant?
A 1 cup serving (100 grams) of eggplant contains 6 grams of carbs. Eggplant is quite low in carbs. One cup of chopped, cooked eggplant contains 8 grams of total carbs, 2 of which are made up of fiber, bringing the total net carbs down to only 6 grams.
How Many Calories are in Eggplant?
A 100 gram serving of eggplant contains 25 calories. Sautéing eggplant in oil increases the calorie content significantly. Because of its spongy texture, eggplant can soak up a lot of oil, so it’s important that you carefully measure and account for the oil you use in your dishes.
Additionally, if you add other toppings to your eggplant, such as sauce or cheese, the calories of your dish will increase significantly.
| Serving Size: 100 grams of Eggplant |
(Approximately 1 cup, chopped and cooked)
|Total Fat 0.2 grams||0%|
|Saturated fat 0 grams||0%|
|Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 grams|
|Monounsaturated fat 0 grams|
|Cholesterol 0 milligrams||0%|
|Sodium 2 milligrams||0%|
|Potassium 229 milligrams||6%|
|Total Carbohydrate 6 grams||2%|
|Dietary fiber 3 grams||12%|
|Sugar 3.5 grams|
|Protein 1 grams||2%|
|Vitamin A||0%||Vitamin C||3%|
|Vitamin D||0%||Vitamin B-6||5%|
Eggplant is a good source of dietary fiber, providing 2.5 grams of fiber per cup to help regulate bowel movements and may lower your risk of heart disease. In addition to a good dose of fiber and protein, eggplant supplies the body with many essential vitamins and minerals. These include manganese, folate, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin C, niacin, magnesium and copper.
Rich in Antioxidants
Eggplant is especially rich in anthocyanins, a pigment with antioxidant properties that can protect against damage to your body’s cells from free radicals. One of the most beneficial antioxidants found in eggplant is called nasunin. Nasunin helps eliminate the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels to support the cardiovascular system and the heart.
Promotes Heart Health
Various animal studies determined that eating eggplant could improve heart function, reduce unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels and lower triglycerides. In one study, rabbits with high cholesterol that were given eggplant juice daily experienced lower levels of both LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Eggplant is full of fiber and rich in polyphenols to help reduce blood sugar levels. Fiber lowers blood sugar by slowing the rate of digestion and the rate of sugar absorption, thus preventing blood sugar spikes. Polyphenols are natural plant compounds found in eggplant that increase insulin secretion, which can also help lower blood sugar.
Eggplant contains solasodine rhamnosyl glycosides (SRGs), which research shows may slow the growth of cancer cells. Some animal studies have shown that SRGs may also help prevent the recurrence of certain cancers.
Eggplant is generally safe in normal food amounts. However, eggplant belongs to the nightshade family of vegetables, which may cause allergic reactions in some people when consumed in large quantities.
Nasunin, a phytochemical found in eggplant can remove iron from the cells. The oxalates in this vegetable may cause kidney stones.
Keto Eggplant Parmesan Recipe
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 large eggplant (1 pound)
- 1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt
- 1/2 cup low sugar marinara sauce
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup almond meal
- Grease a large oven-safe casserole dish with 1 tablespoon of avocado oil.
- Slice the unpeeled eggplant into 1/2-inch rounds. Season the eggplant slices with salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili flakes and paprika.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg. In another bowl, add the almond meal.
- Dip each eggplant slice in the egg, then dredge in the almond meal to coat. Arrange the coated eggplant slices on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with the other tablespoon of avocado oil.
- Bake for about 20 minutes on each side until the eggplant rounds are tender at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove from the oven and place eggplant rounds into greased casserole dish. Top with marinara sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan.
- Place the casserole dish in the oven for about 5-10 minutes until the cheese has fully melted and become brown and bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
This recipe makes 6 Servings. Each serving contains 290 calories and 6 grams of net carbs.
Is Eggplant Good for Weight Loss?
Because eggplant is full of fiber and low in calories, it is truly the perfect addition to any weight loss meal plan. Since fiber moves slowly through the digestive tract, it helps you feel full for longer periods of time, which may ultimately reduce your overall daily calorie intake.
For this reason, eggplant is often used in place of higher-calorie ingredients in a number of popular dishes. It makes a great low carb and low-calorie substitution in many recipes.
Is Eggplant Skin Edible?
The skin of the eggplant is completely edible. The skin of purple eggplants contains its most valuable nutrient, a powerful antioxidant called nasunin. Nasunin is a type of flavonoid called anthocyanins found in red, blue and purple fruits and veggies.
Whether or not you eat the eggplant skin is your preference. However, with larger, mature eggplants, the texture can be a bit tough. Choose an eggplant that is smaller to ensure that it is new and tender. The nutrient-rich skin is great when braising eggplant. If you prefer them peeled, you can do so before slicing or dicing the flesh.
What are the Best Ways to Prepare Eggplant?
Frying eggplant isn’t the best method because the spongy eggplant texture seems to soak up every bit of oil in the pan, causing the dish to be quite heavy. A better alternative is to sauté your eggplant in a small amount of oil after roasting.
Roasted eggplant has a deep, rich flavor and a great way to lighten the dish. Eggplant is also delicious when grilled or steamed and then tossed in a light dressing.
Is Eggplant Safe to Eat During Pregnancy?
Eggplant is safe to eat during pregnancy but in moderate amounts. The vegetable contains fiber, folate, and potassium that benefit fetal development.
However, pregnant women should avoid consuming eggplant frequently as it is a heat-producing food, meaning it causes your body temperature to increase, which may trigger allergies. So if you’re pregnant, feel free to have a little eggplant, just be careful to not overeat this vegetable.