Aside from the fact that garden eggs (also known as eggplants) are versatile and can be used in preparing different dishes, they have many health benefits. Some of the benefits include promoting weight loss, lowering cholesterol levels, and boosting the immune system.
Table of Contents
Some of the health benefits of garden eggs are:
They can boost immune system function.
Lower cholesterol and promote heart health
Regulate blood pressure
Fight cancerous cells
Good for cognitive (brain) function
Healthier option for pregnant women
Aid in weight loss
Walking through the street or the fruit and vegetable section of most markets in Nigeria, it is common to see garden eggs displayed for sale on the tables. Garden eggs are one fruit that is versatile, very affordable, and widely consumed in African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, and Benin Republic. But do you know that this fruit that is seen as a common staple has a lot of amazing health benefits?
Garden eggs, also known as African eggplant, are fruits packed with a lot of nutrients that offer many health benefits. It is a good source of carbohydrates and dietary fiber. They are a good source of vitamins C, A, and K. They also contain iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and antioxidants, which can help protect the cells from damage.
Facts about Garden eggs (Eggplants)
Garden eggs are from the nightshade family, with the botanical name Solanum melongena. They are plants with small to medium-sized fruits with smooth and glossy skin. There are different types of garden eggs, each with its own size, shape, color, and unique taste.
In most parts of Nigeria, garden eggs are used for welcoming and entertaining visitors. They are also used as part of refreshment during marriage and burial ceremonies.
Garden eggs are available year-round. They are grown for their fruits and young leaves. The fruits and young leaves can be consumed fresh or added to a salad. The fruits can also be cooked and prepared as stew, sauce, or soup, while the leaves can be added as vegetables while preparing certain dishes.
Health benefits of garden eggs
Some of the health benefits of garden eggs are:
Boosting Immune System Function: Garden eggs are packed with beneficial nutrients such as iron, vitamins B6, B1, C, E, K, zinc, potassium, folate, and phytonutrients. These nutrients play a significant role in boosting the immune system, maintaining optimal health, and supporting various bodily functions. They help repair damaged cells and fight against disease-causing microorganisms.
Lower cholesterol and promote heart health: One of the major risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is high cholesterol levels. Among the health benefits of garden eggs is the fact that they can help to lower cholesterol levels. This is because they contain fiber and chlorogenic acid which has been indicated in helping to lower cholesterol levels. It also contains anthocyanins, a phytonutrient which according to a review of studies can help to reduce oxidative stress, inflammatory markers, and bad cholesterol which are factors that can increase the risk of heart disease.
Regulating Blood Pressure: The potassium and magnesium in garden eggs can help regulate blood pressure and maintain healthy heart function.
Fight cancer: Garden eggs are a good source of phytonutrients and antioxidants like anthocyanin and chlorogenic acid. These phytonutrients have anti-cancer effects. Studies have shown that anthocyanin and chlorogenic acids can help prevent tumor growth and the spread of cancer cells by eliminating free radicals from the body and protecting the cells from damage.
Promote weight loss: Garden eggs are another food you may want to add to your diet if you want to lose or maintain your weight. It is a good source of fiber, which is needed for a healthy gut, promoting regular bowel movement and preventing constipation. Its high fiber content means it can easily satisfy and keep you full for longer periods thereby reducing the amount of calories you consume. Garden eggs are low in carbs and calories which is important when trying to lose weight.
Garden eggs may improve your vision: One of the health benefits of garden eggs is that they contain beta-carotenes, which are pro-vitamin A. Vitamin A is needed for the proper functioning of the retina.. Garden eggs also contain nicotinoid alkaloids which gives it a slightly bitter taste. Nicotinoid alkaloids help to fight glaucoma and improve vision.
Good for pregnant women: Garden eggs are rich in folic acid which is an essential nutrient needed during pregnancy as it can help in the formation of neural tubes during the early development of the fetus. Folic acid helps to prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine.
Promote cognitive function: Anthocyanins content in garden eggs can prevent neuroinflammation and promote blood flow to the brain. A Study has indicated that this phytonutrient can help prevent memory loss and other age-related mental decline.
For strong and healthy bones: Garden eggs contain calcium which helps to build and maintain strong bones and prevents the risk of osteoporosis. They also contain magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamin K which are important for healthy bones.
Prevent Anaemia: You can boost your blood and prevent anemia by consuming garden eggs because it is a rich source of vitamins and copper. Both minerals can stimulate the production of red blood cells in the body, thereby preventing anemia and boosting one’s strength and energy.
Side Effects of Consuming Too Many Garden Eggs
Too much consumption of garden eggs and their leaves may cause:
Gastrointestinal issues for some people: Just like other foods from the nightshade (Solanaceae) family, garden eggs contain alkaloids known as solanine. Garden eggs when consumed in excess can cause solanine poisoning which is manifested by gastrointestinal disorders such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
Allergic reactions: Some people may have allergic reactions after eating garden eggs. They may exhibit symptoms which include hives, itching, swelling of the mouth or throat, and difficulty breathing. Anyone who experiences these symptoms after eating garden eggs or any other food needs to see a doctor immediately.
Kidney stones formation: Garden eggs may not be a great fruit option for people who are prone to kidney stones. It contains oxalates which is a substance that can contribute to the formation of stones in the kidney. Consuming too many garden eggs may cause oxalates to accumulate in the body resulting in the formation of kidney stones.
You don’t need garden eggs only for welcoming and serving your guests; you can get them for your personal consumption. It is a great food option to consider when seeking a cheaper, readily available, but nutrient-rich, and healthy food to include in your diet.
Aside from the fact that garden eggs are versatile and can be used in preparing different dishes, they have many health benefits. Some of the benefits include promoting weight loss, lowering cholesterol levels, and boosting the immune system.
Note that, although the health benefits of garden eggs are numerous, it has its own risks and side effects when consumed in excess. So, before you go ahead to make any serious change in your diet, like adding garden eggs, it is always important that you first consult a doctor in case you have any health concerns or conditions.