Eggplant

Health Wellness

I didn’t learn to appreciate eggplants until my 30’s. My initial exposure to eating eggplant was in heavier dishes, such as eggplant parmesan or moussaka. I wasn’t able to recognize or appreciate the flavor until trying baba ganoush. It took me awhile to experiment with making and cooking eggplant dishes, but now I try to make something with eggplant about twice a month when they are in season.

A kin to the tomato, bell pepper and potato, the eggplant is a nightshade that grows hanging from the vines of a plant. It is technically a fruit but is classified as a vegetable. The eggplant tastes bitter and slightly sweet (but it slows the absorption of blood sugar and is a useful regulator of glucose and insulin activity in the body.) Ayurveda considers it as heating. Chinese medicine considers it to be cooling (clearing heat) and to remove blood stagnation.

As for nutrients, eggplants are an overall source of many vitamins and minerals. They contain fiber, folate, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, thiamin, niacin, magnesium, and vitamins C, K and B6. Eggplants are also loaded with antioxidants, which are known to help defend a variety of diseases and conditions. One study found that eggplant skin is loaded with a potent phytonutrient and antioxidant called nasusin, which is an antioxidant that protects brain cells from free radicals and damage.

While eggplants contain decent amount of fiber, for some eggplants can irritate the digestive tract and are recommended to reduce or avoid if you have GI tract inflammation.

Tomatoes

Health Wellness

There are different philosophies on tomatoes. Here is a brief summary. Ayurveda (but not all Ayurvedic nutritionists) advises not eating them, since the cause toxic build-up and stimulate heat and desire. Chinese medicine claims tomatoes can cool the blood on hot days. Those in the Mediterranean embrace the tomato, where apparently in the northern part of Europe the tomato is considered by some to be poisonous. Take your pick.

 

Tomatoes are acidic, meaning they are stimulating and sour. To some, tomatoes can irritate the digestive tract and are recommended to avoid if you have GI tract inflammation. These irritating qualities can be enhanced when cooked or sun-dried, since the flavors become more pungent and hot. The tomato flesh in general is easy to digest, and the seeds and skins can be irritating for some.

As for nutritional value, tomatoes have a high concentration of the antioxidant lycopene. It also has high levels of potassium and vitamins C, K and A, along with others.

I personally embrace them, but also eat them in balanced quantities. Tomatoes can aggravatePitta in the digestive tract. However, their cooling properties are refreshing on warm days. My personal favorite is the Early Girl tomato. I don’t have a problem grabbing and taking a bite in Early Girl tomatoes. They are juicy and have a sweetness that makes my mouth water.