Eggplants and garden eggs: A healthy combination

Monday March 9 2020

 

By Beatrice Nakibuuka

Often confused with garden eggs, eggplants are a purple vegetable with a shiny skin. Garden eggs depending on the variety can be green, white or white with green stripes. The two vegetables are common in farmers’ markets and contain nutrients that are essential for our body health.

According to Fausta Akech, a nutritionist at Healthy U, the pair contain a variety of nutrients such as manganese, a mineral that helps produce collagen and promote skin and bone health, the B vitamins including folate, potassium, phosphorous, fibre, vitamin C and K, antioxidant and anti-inflammation properties.

Prevents cancer
Through antioxidants, the human body is able to fend off free radicals and protect cells from damage by diseases such as cancer. Eggplants are high in anthocyanins, a nutrient that gives it the purple pigment. This antioxidant can protect the body against cellular damage.

“Also, a high level of manganese, another antioxidant contained in the eggplants protects body cells from damage which would otherwise lead to premature aging and neurodegenerative diseases,” says Akech.

Proper digestion
Eggplants are a low-carbohydrate vegetable with fibre. This fibre is a very crucial element in maintaining proper digestion and enhancing bowel movements and generally improving gastrointestinal health.

The fibre in the eggplant according to Lilian Nyanzi, a nutritionist at Neulife Medical Centre in Bweyogerere, also acts as a laxative which helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. Fibre containing foods make one feel satisfied for a long time. Incorporating eggplants into your diet will also help in your weight loss plan.

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Good heart health
Both garden egg and egg plants are rich in vitamins which help in proper heart function. Apart from fibre, they also contain soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin B1 which is essential for proper functioning of the heart and nervous system. These generally reduce the risk of heart diseases and stroke.

Nyanzi says: “Vitamin B6 present in these vegetables aid cellular respiration. Garden egg can help curb cravings during pregnancy. Its components also help keep a healthy heart, reduces cholesterol, avoid malnutrition, prevent anemia because it contains iron, prevent edema and control blood pressure.”

Strong immune system
Akech says garden eggs can improve the immune system because of the antibacterial properties contained therein. She says, “The antibacterial properties can best be absorbed if the garden eggs are blended into juice, which allows for better absorption. The unique colour of eggplant is useful in reducing the risk of osteoporosis, since it contains calcium and iron which also boost your immunity.”

Stronger muscles
“Since they contain high levels of potassium, garden eggs are essential for the proper functioning of bodily muscles, says Lilian Nyanzi, a nutritionist at Neulife Medical Centre in Bweyogerere. The potassium also helps the muscles contract easily and actively regulate body fluids. An increased intake of the garden eggs also enhances the transmission of nerve impulses to the various parts of the body, she adds.
According to Nyanzi, eggplants also contain phytonutrients, a chemical that improves proper brain function and general mental health. When more blood is delivered to the brain, this chemical stimulates the neural pathways by boosting memory.

bnakibuuka@ug.nationmedia.com

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