Calories In Eggplant
Low Calories In Eggplants Make It A Healthy Food
A Negative Calorie Food - Almost - The number of calories in eggplant is surprisingly low. A cup of raw eggplant yields between 20 and 25 calories. With such a low number, the eggplant might qualify as one of the negative calorie foods, where it takes more energy to digest the plant than the plant itself provides. As such, it is a good addition to any diet having a goal of either weight loss or weight maintenance. If you're trying to gain weight however, go light on the eggplant. The skin is edible as well as the flesh. Approximately 20% of the calories in an eggplant is found in the skin.
We usually don't think too much about the number of calories in eggplant, if for no other reason that it is not a particularly well known vegetable. Eggplant as a dish is far more popular in East Asia, India, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. In some countries it is harvested in the wild. The fruit on the wild eggplant vine is quite a bit smaller than found on domestically grown plants, but is nutritionally similar. The eggplant is a tropical to semitropical plant, but can be grown in temperate climates as an annual. It is a member of the nightshade family, having the potato and tomato as close cousins.
Many Health Giving Benefits - Besides the benefits of low calories in eggplant, it is very low in saturated fat and sodium, contains no cholesterol, is high in dietary fiber, and rich in several minerals and trace elements essential to our health. Eggplant is also rich in vitamins B6 and C. On the negative side, the plant is quite high in sugar, nearly 5 grams of sugar per 100 grams of the plant's flesh. The plant is also relatively rich in nicotine, in fact contains more nicotine than any other edible plant. In absolute terms however, the amount of nicotine per serving is minute. To get the same amount of nicotine as you will find in a single cigarette, you would have to consume 20 pounds of eggplant. That's more eggplant than eggplant lovers are apt to consume in a year, and more than most of us are apt to consume in a lifetime. If you are on a weight loss program, eggplant makes a good-tasting substitute for meat. Dipped in egg white or egg substitute, and dredged in flour or crumbs, it can be cooked in a pan to a crispy brown. Although raw eggplant has a slightly bitter, though not unpleasant taste, this bitterness disappears when the plant is cooked, and the flavor of cooked eggplant is often described as rich or complex.
Growing Eggplants - If you wish to grow your own eggplants, it is a relatively easy plant to grow, and seeds are available in most areas. In temperate climates however it would generally be best to set seedlings out after all danger of frost has passed. In locations like the southwest and the gulf coast states you can probably successfully sow seeds directly in the ground in the spring. The plant has the same general pests as do tomatoes, potatoes, and red peppers. For that reason it's best not to plant eggplants where one of its near relatives has been planted a year or two before.
While the number of calories in eggplant is very low, the flesh will absorb fats and oils readily when cooked, and consequently eggplant can form the basis for a number of rather rich dished. If you want to keep the calories low, it might be best to use eggplants in salads. There are a number of delicious sounding eggplant recipes, including Eastern European salads, on the Internet. This not terribly well known, but interesting looking plant, might be worth a try if you haven't done so before.