Eggplant is a beautiful vegetable with plenty of antioxidants like vitamins A and C, but also polyphenols, which protect our cells from damage. So what is the best way of preparing eggplants to maximize their polyphenol content?
To answer this question, a recent study investigated 4 different cooking methods of eggplants, namely baking, boiling, frying, and grilling.
The results showed that total polyphenol content was improved by frying (by >300%), by baking (67%), and by boiling (42%). Grilling eggplant turned to be the worst cooking method, decreasing polyphenol content of eggplant by 34.5%.
The same study also had a look at 3 drying methods to preserve the phenolic content and antioxidant capacity of eggplants. It turned out that sliced eggplant dried at 45–50°C in a drying oven was the best option to obtain a flour rich in bioactive compounds. On the other hand, freezing seemed to be the worst method of preserving the health benefits of the eggplant.
And now a few words for those, who avoid eating eggplants because of its ‘harmful’ components. Yes, eggplants contain alkaloids, including solanine, which can be toxic. However, to experience any toxic symptoms from solanine in eggplant, you need to eat a lot of them. The average eggplant has about 11mg of solanine. 2 to 5 mg/kg of solanine causes toxic symptoms, and doses of 3 to 6 mg/kg are fatal. So if your weight is around 70 kg, than you need to eat 13 eggplants (140 mg of solanine) to experience any toxic effect on your body.
Some people claim that solanine even facilitates inflammation and makes inflammatory diseases like arthritis worse. Nevertheless, at this moment there is no solid scientific evidence for these claims.
Last, but not least, eggplant seeds have one of the highest concentrations of nicotine: 100g of eggplant contains 0.01mg of nicotine. It sounds impressive, isn’t it? But in practice, this concentration is almost nothing! To give you an example, the amount of nicotine in 10 kg eggplants is equivalent to amount nicotine in one cigarette.
As you can see, eating eggplants is healthy as it is almost impossible to consume the amounts that can cause any harm to your health.