Brinjal ‘baigan’ as known in India, is not only an eggplants fruit, they are technically classified as a berry. Known to have been found in India, baigan are an integral part of the Indian kitchen due to its distinct culinary use, potential health benefits and the usage in traditional healing medicines.
Brinjal is also known as Eggplant, Aubergine, or Baigan is a vegetable that is low in calories and rich in fiber. They are available in different sizes, colours, and varieties. Brinjal with deep purple skin is quite common. The flesh of the brinjal is smooth and white. It contains several tiny, soft, and edible seeds which taste bitter. The thin skin of the eggplant is also edible hence; they do not have to be peeled. The calyx or the green part at the top has to be removed while preparing the brinjal.
Nutritional facts of Brinjal
Brinjal contains several nutrients along with iron, calcium, and magnesium. It also contains polyphenolic compounds, fatty acids, phytonutrients like nausinin and chlorogenic acid, amino acids, minerals, vitamins B6, and E.
As per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, 1 cup of brinjal weighing approximately 82 gm contains 20.5 kcal, 75.7 gm of water, 0.8 gm of proteins, 2.46 gm of fiber, 4.82 gm of carbohydrates, 0.18 gm of iron, 18 μg of folate, 188 mg of potassium, 0.19 mg of manganese, and 2.87 μgm of vitamin K.
Potential Health Benefits of Brinjal (Baigan)
1/5. Reduces the risk of cancer
1. The peel of brinjal contains solasodine rhamnosyl glycosides (SRGs) that possess cancer-fighting properties. They induce cancer cell death. They help treat skin cancer.
2. Anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid present in baigan protect the cells from damage caused by free radicals thus, it prevents the growth of a tumor and the spread of cancer cells.
3. Fibre content of eggplant helps eliminate the toxins from the digestive tract thus, preventing colon cancer.
2/5. Promotes Eye Health
Brinjal contains antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin which helps promote eye health. Lutein arrests the age-related macular degeneration.
3/5. Reduces Blood cholesterol levels
1. The fibre content of brinjal benefits blood cholesterol levels.
2. Chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant found in brinjals may reduce the levels of “bad” cholesterol.
4/5. Controls Blood Sugar Levels
1. The high content of fiber and low content of soluble carbohydrates present in baigan aids in regulating blood sugar levels and in controlling the absorption of glucose.
2. Fiber slows down the sugar absorption and controls the blood sugar levels.
3. The polyphenols in brinjal help control blood sugar levels by reducing the absorption of sugar and increasing insulin secretion.
5/5. Other possible Benefits
Brinjal produces several health benefits, apart from the health benefits mentioned above, it also produces a few more such as promotes heart health, improves cognitive function, aids weight loss, enhances bone health, treats anemia, prevents birth defects, improves skin health, improves digestion, acts as a natural laxative, controls blood pressure, gives the skin a natural glow, and helps quit smoking.
Some research suggests brinjal to be as nutritious as as an egg. Rich in nutrients and antioxidant properties, eggplant contain a significant amount of fibre, vitamins and minerals in fewer calories.
How to incorporate Brinjal into the Diet?
To eliminate the bitterness of brinjal, it is essential to rinse, drain, and salt the sliced brinjal before cooking. They can be added in several different ways to the cuisine. Some of the ways by which it can be incorporated into the diet are as follows:-
- To prepare curries.
- As Oven-baked eggplant fries.
- Used as Eggplant pasta topping.
- As eggplant pizza crust and as Eggplant side dish.
- Added to dishes such as pizza, sambhar, or pasta.
How to prepare Crispy Baked Eggplant?
Preheat the oven to 375o and coat a baking sheet with olive oil. Set it aside.
Take 2 large eggs and whisk it with a tablespoon of water in a shallow bowl.
Combine ¾th cup of plain panko breadcrumbs, ¾th cup of finely grated parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning, a little salt, and little pepper in another bowl.
Take 4-5 small to medium-sized brinjals and cut them into thick rounds.
Dip the brinjal slices into the egg mixture.
Dredge the dipped slices into the Parmesan mixture.
Transfer the coated slices onto the baking sheet.
Bake until the slices are golden brown on the bottom, for around 17-20 minutes.
Flip the slices and continue baking until lightly browned on the other side too.
Remove from the oven and serve it.