Excited by Eggplant

By Shari Darling

Eggplant is a food super-hero worth incorporating into your diet.  Known as a potent antioxidant and free-radical scavenger, it is low in carbohydrates, calories and fat, and is an excellent source of dietary fibre and rich in vitamins B1, B6, potassium, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, niacin and folic acid.

These are all nutritional values we require for our physical well-being all year long.  But eggplant  is also good for our mental well-being.  It possesses a chemical called tyramine, which encourages high dopamine and energy levels by promoting the release of norepinephrine.  This allows for the efficient uptake and use of glucose. When dieting, this means crash-free energy and post-workout restoration of glycogen stores, leading to a more positive mood.

Eggplant is supposed to taste tender and silky.  Unfortunately, this botanical fruit is often served dry, bitter, raw and rubbery, or the flesh is too oily.  Here are a few tips to cooking it successfully…

  • Never use all of its skin, especially if serving eggplant in chunks or slices.  Partially peel the skin in a zebra-like fashion.  Don’t peel off all the skin either.  The skin helps to keep the flesh intact once cooked.
  • While considered a seasonal, summer ingredient, several variety of eggplant are readily available in the supermarket all year long.  Due to its density and earthy character, eggplant is actually a fabulous ingredient to marry with winter root vegetables.
  • Due to its dense texture and earthy character, eggplant is a great vegetarian option to meat, and pairs nicely with white and red wines.

(Note that some people can have an adverse affect from eating foods high in tyramine and experience migraines.  Try anything new in moderation to see how your body reacts.)

Shari Darling is The Sophisticated Wino, an international award-winning and best-selling author and columnist.

For more on this story, including a delicious recipe, click here.

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