Botanical name: Solanum melongena L.
Eggplant (Solanum melongena), or aubergine, is a species of nightshade grown for its edible fruit.
Eggplant, Solanum melongena, is a tropical, herbaceous, perennial plant, closely related to tomato, in the family Solanaceae which is grown for its edible fruit. The plants has a branching stem and simple, long, flat. coarsely lobed leaves which are green in color and are arranged alternately on the branches.
The fruit is widely used in cooking. The eggplant is a delicate, tropical perennial often cultivated as a tender or half-hardy annual in temperate climates. The stem is often spiny. The flower is white to purple, with a five-lobed corolla and yellow stamens. The egg-shaped, glossy, purple fruit has white flesh with a meaty texture. The cut surface of the flesh rapidly turns brown when the fruit is cut open.
Botanically classified as a berry, the fruit contains numerous small, soft seeds that, though edible, taste bitter because they contain nicotinoidalkaloids like the related tobacco.
The fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and phytonutrient content in eggplants all support heart health.
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Several studies show that consumption of a type of flavonoids known as anthocyanins can help lower risk of cardiovascular disease. One particular study revealed that those who consumed more than three servings of fruits and vegetables per week containing anthocyanins had 34 percent less risk of heart disease than those who consumed less.
In another clinical study, researchers found that increased intake of anthocyanins was associated with significantly lower blood pressure.
Research has shown that rabbits with high cholesterol that consumed eggplant juice displayed a significant decrease in weight and blood cholesterol levels.
Laboratory analyses of the phenolic compounds in eggplant reveal that the vegetable contains significant amounts of chlorogenic acid, one of the most powerful free radical scavengers found in plants. Chlorogenic acid has been shown to decrease low-density lipid (LDL) levels, and also serves as an antimicrobial, antiviral, and anticarcinogenic agent.
Polyphenols in eggplant have been shown to exhibit anti-cancer effects. Anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid function as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. They protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and, in turn, prevent tumor growth and the invasion and spread of cancer cells. They also stimulate detoxifying enzymes within cells and promote cancer cell death.