Garden egg is a fruit but an unusual kind of fruit, which is even used for the preparation of stew.Botanically known as Solanum melongena, it is locally called Igba among the Yorubas of the South-western Nigeria. This populous African fruit remains a delight for researchers given its nutritional and health benefits.
While so many people will prefer to eat imported apples in ignorance and for some others as a display of their financial buoyancy, the great benefits of the local egg plant cannot be over emphasised.
Garden egg is a rich source of fibre that tremendously helps in keeping blood vessels very flexible and relaxed. It takes care of the heart as it has some minerals that are good for prevent some heart problems. It helps even diabetes patients to regulate their blood sugar level.
The garden egg is a natural source of variants of vitamin B Like thiamin, niacin, B6 and pantothenic acid which is needed by human body. But most interesting is the fact that the common garden egg supports weight loss. This is because it controls body cholesterol and reduces fat in the human body. As a vegetable with low calorie, it has been greatly explored for weight management practitioners.
In the intestinal tract, it Improves digestion and helps to deal with indigestion and gastrological problems. It is equally beneficial for people who experience constipation due to its high fibre content.
Garden egg is also a rich source of folate, manganese, Vitamin K, magnesium, vitamin C and copper. It also helps to improves blood circulation in the body and reduces the problem of body and joint pains.
According to Dr. Ndubuisi Nwakakwa, physician/consultant Acupuncturist at Green leaves clinic and Acupuncture Centre, Ilasamaja, Lagos “a high level of blood cholesterol, more particularly the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, is a primary risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and heart disease. Garden egg is more helpful for reducing cholesterol than apples and oats.”
Its calorie content is less when in its wet form than when dried. When cooked in oil, it contains more than 300 calories due to absorption of extra fat.”
In addition, he stated that “Although garden egg is generally said to contain low amount of protein and other nutrients, it is also low in sodium and very rich in high dietary fibre. It is also high in potassium, a necessary salt that helps in maintaining the function of the heart and regulates blood pressure.
The benefits of garden egg to the human body are numerous and according to Dr. Nwakakwa, it supports good eye sight aside weight reduction.
“It consumption may be of great benefits to glaucoma patients’ he opined.
A study conducted by some experts, S. A. Igwe, Dora Akunyili and C. Ogbogu that was published in the 2003 issue of the journal of Ethno pharmacology on “Effects of Garden egg on some visual functions of visually active Igbos of Nigeria” found that eating plenty of garden egg can help lower eye pressure in persons with glaucoma.
For weight reduction, “this is the perfect recipe for achieving weight loss within a short period of time because it is very low in calorie, and that is why experts are encouraging people that want to lose weight to eat more of its fresh form, just as they say people that are told to protect their heart against cholesterol effects should make it their delight” said Nwakakwa.
Also, Jummai Hassan, a nutritionist with Wuse General Hospital, Abuja, said garden egg also known as eggplant “have low calorie, low sodium, low protein and is very high in dietary fibre and potassium. It’s a fruit that is classified under vegetables and anyone who really want to lose weight should eat fresh garden egg.
“When you take garden egg, it fills the tummy because of its fibre content which reduces the food you consume, thereby reducing the calories and body weight.”
She said that the high fibre content of eggplant helps to reduce bad cholesterol in the body, thereby protecting the heart. According to her, garden eggs help to regulate the blood pressure and regulate the function of the heart.
She said that because of the high fibre and low soluble carbohydrate content of the eggplant, it controls glucose absorption and reduces the risk of hypertension and is very low in calorie content, such that when a diabetic person consumes it, it suppresses the sugar level and brings the blood pressure down.
She added that garden eggs have anti-ulcer effect, which could be used as a treatment for ulcer while noting that they do not protect one from having ulcer but that the anti ulcer content in the fruit suppresses the ailment.