Eggplant is a versatile purple vegetable that can be used in many recipes. You can grill it, bake it or saute it and use it in place of red meat for vegetarian entrees. While eggplant can be purchased year round, the peak growing season in the United States is between July and October, according to FruitsandVeggiesMatter.gov. Eggplant contains several nutrients, including fiber, which is beneficial for your digestive health.
Always wash your eggplant thoroughly before preparation. The green cap and stem at the top are not edible and should be removed. Eggplant has a very bitter flavor when eaten raw. You should cook it prior to consumption. The deep purple skin is edible and full of fiber, but you can also remove it before cooking. Brush your eggplant slices with olive oil prior to grilling to avoid sticking. Cube it or cut it into long strips for sauteing. You can also batter it and fry it for a delicious appetizer.
Dietary Fiber Content
A 1-cup serving of cooked eggplant provides 2 g of dietary fiber. You need 25 to 38 g of fiber throughout your day, depending on age and gender, reports MayoClinic.com. Eggplant contains soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel that moves through your intestines. Insoluble fiber helps move food through your gut and increases stool bulk. You need both types of fiber in your diet for maximum digestive health.
Benefits of Fiber
A study conducted in 2008 by the University of Massachusetts showed that an eggplant-based diet may help manage Type 2 diabetes. This may occur because eggplant is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates. Fiber from eggplant controls the absorption of glucose, or blood sugar. If you have, or are at risk for, Type 2 diabetes, fiber can help you maintain stable blood sugar levels. Fiber may also help lower your LDL, or "bad" cholesterol. This may reduce your blood pressure and decrease your chance of cardiovascular disease.
Negative Effects of Fiber
Consuming large amounts of eggplant may have negative effects on your body if you are not used to eating fiber. Rapidly increasing your fiber intake may cause gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation, according to MayoClinic.com. Increase your fiber intake gradually, as tolerated, to avoid any adverse effects. Enjoy a 1/2-cup serving of eggplant and increase that amount to 1 cup for your next serving if the fiber content does not bother you.
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Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.