Hot summer months means eggplants…and lots of them. You’re probably noticing that these are on sale at your local market, so nows your chance to try this pleasantly meaty vegetable, loaded with vitamins, antioxidants and micronutrients…all that work in concert to make you more beautiful from the inside out.
From World’s Healthiest Foods:
Good for the brain: Research on eggplant has focused on an anthocyanin phytonutrient found in eggplant skin called nasunin. Nasunin is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been shown to protect cell membranes from damage. In animal studies, nasunin has been found to protect the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes. Cell membranes are almost entirely composed of lipids and are responsible for protecting the cell from free radicals, letting nutrients in and wastes out, and receiving instructions from messenger molecules that tell the cell which activities it should perform.
Search-and-Destroy the bad bugs: Researchers at the US Agricultural Service in Beltsville, Maryland, have found that eggplants are rich sources of phenolic compounds that function as antioxidants. Plants form such compounds to protect themselves against oxidative stress from exposure to the elements, as well as from infection by bacteria and fungi.
Good for heart health: When laboratory animals with high cholesterol were given eggplant juice, their blood cholesterol, the cholesterol in their artery walls and the cholesterol in their aortas (the aorta is the artery that returns blood from the heart back into circulation into the body) was significantly reduced, while the walls of their blood vessels relaxed, improving blood flow. These positive effects were likely due not only to nasunin but also to several other terpene phytonutrients in eggplant.
I’m growing several different varieties of eggplant–Japanese, white, and the traditional. The eggplant featured in the collage is right out of my garden, processed and eaten the same day. They’re great container plants because they produce multiple times, giving a high yield rate. If you’re contemplating growing some, hurry up. We’re well into the season! The Smart Pot size I recommend is the three gallon, one plant per pot.
Eggplants like moist soil and are pretty heavy feeders…feed them once a week with fish emulsion and water. Fish emulsion is a great source of nitrogen. I have to warn you, it stinks to high heaven, but the smell dissipates within a few hours.