What is aubergine?
Aubergine (Solanum melongena) is part of the nightshade (Solanaceae) family of vegetables along with tomatoes, potatoes, and bell peppers.1 Although aubergines are widely grown around the world, aubergine fruits love warm climates, such as in Asian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean countries.2 Aubergine is called brinjal in South Asia, melongene in the West Indies, and Eggplant in America. Aubergines are grown in a variety of shapes (egg to long club-shaped) and colours: from white, green, and yellow, through shades of purple pigment to nearly black.3
Aubergine is defined scientifically as a fruit due to the seeds present in it. However, it is used as a vegetable. It is not an expensive food source; thus, many people can afford it.4
Benefits of aubergine for weight loss
Aubergine contains various compounds that contribute to weight loss, and due to its low calories, eating aubergine decreases calorie intake and helps people lose weight.3
Plant-based diets rich in fibre are helpful in maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of obesity. Aubergine is a good source of fibre and is almost completely fat-free. For this reason, aubergine is among the dietary recommendations for controlling diabetes.5
Aubergine peel has a substance called chlorogenic acid (5-O-caffeoyl-quinic-acid; CGA), which helps to prevent obesity and diabetes.3
Anthocyanin is another substance found in the skin of aubergine that helps prevent weight gain by lowering bad lipids and cholesterol (LDL) while increasing good cholesterol (HDL).3
According to the result of a study conducted on overweight volunteers, aubergine flour consumption improved antioxidant status and decreased the body fat mass of participants.2
Several studies indicate that aubergine helps to reduce the absorption of glucose in the digestive tract. As a result, aubergine prevents high blood sugar levels and weight gain.2
Chlorogenic acid and anthocyanins can be seen as building blocks in helping weight loss in humans; these can be found in vast amounts in aubergines. Besides, aubergines can suppress the absorption of glucose from the digestive system within the human body. Aubergines have HDL-increasing effects along with their effect to lower LDL cholesterol and other lipids, resulting in weight loss. Hence, the molecular level characteristics of nutrients within aubergines eventually bring healthy and weight loss features of aubergines as a whole.
Other health benefits of aubergines
Aubergines have many other amazing health benefits. More than one research study indicates the benefits of aubergine in the healing of wounds and burns as well as warts.3
Aubergines contain a high amount of antioxidants. Aubergine is a source of phenolic substances that function as antioxidants. Anthocyanins, nasunin, lutein, and zeaxanthin are among the antioxidants present in aubergine. Antioxidants fight against harmful substances called free radicals by decreasing oxidative stress. Therefore, antioxidants are important to prevent many types of chronic diseases, like heart disease and cancer.5
Aubergines have many anticancer properties. A research study showed that aubergine juice is highly toxic against cancer cells compared to normal cells. Chlorogenic acid in aubergine is shown to cause programmed death of cancer cells in various cancers in humans, such as leukaemia and lung cancer. Another substance in aubergine that helps fight against cancer is anthocyanin. Aubergines are also rich in carotenoids, which are beneficial for reducing the risk of some cancer types. It is also shown that the glycoalkaloids in aubergines help to fight against cancer.3
Aubergines are a great source of dietary fibre, and these have many health benefits in terms of cleaning unhealthy substances during digestion. Therefore, it decreases the risk of stomach and colon cancer.3
Aubergine binds to iron and prevents its loss from the body. For this reason, pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and teenage females are advised to consume aubergine.3
Aubergine water from roots or leaves is useful to treat some skin conditions, burns and coughs.3
Dry aubergine has benefits to treat bloating and gas in the stomach.
Aubergine protects brain cells by preventing the destruction of free radicals. It also provides protection against brain tumours through its antioxidant features.4
Chlorogenic acid and other phenolic compounds found in aubergines help to source mild antibodies by working as an antiviral and antimicrobial substance.4
Aubergines contain manganese, which is an essential mineral required for bone health. Aubergines also contain a considerable amount of iron and calcium, which are also needed to keep our bones healthy.5
Aubergines contain a substance called lutein. Lutein plays a role in eye health by helping to prevent age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to vision loss in older people.5
Aubergines have some benefits for the heart and vessel health as well. Along with decreasing cholesterol levels and blood pressure, aubergines boost circulation and provide protection against heart attacks.3
Although one study showed that there is no difference between eating raw aubergine and fried aubergine in terms of providing protection from heart diseases, another study found that eating cooked aubergine increases its antioxidant properties.1
In conclusion, aubergines have direct positive effects on health by reducing the risk of specific diseases. These include preventing various cancer types, healing wounds, helping digestion, preventing iron loss from the body, decreasing bloating and gas formation in the stomach, preventing heart attacks, decreasing blood pressure, and improving specific skin conditions as well as decreasing serum cholesterol levels.
Aubergines are highly rich in nutrients. Aubergine fruits contain many vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that have antioxidant properties to fight against free radicals. Moreover, aubergines contain a low amount of calories, which makes it one of the healthiest vegetables.3
Aubergines contain vitamins such as vitamin C, B1 (thiamin), B3 (niacin), B6, B12, A, D, E, and K.2
Aubergines contain a small amount of minerals such as zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium.2
The main phytochemicals present in aubergines are chlorogenic acid and anthocyanin. They are called phenolic substances, and they are present in the skin and flesh of aubergine.2
aubergines are also rich in fibres.2
A 100-gram serving of raw aubergine has:5
- Calories: 25 kcal
- Water: 92.3 grams
- Protein: 0.98 gram
- Fat (total lipids): 0.18 gram
- Carbohydrates: 5.88 grams
- Fiber (total dietary): 3 grams
- Sugar: 3.53 gram
- Folate: 22 micrograms
- Vitamin A: 23 IUs
- Vitamin C: 2.2 milligrams
- Vitamin E: 0.3 milligrams
- Vitamin K: 3.5 micrograms
- Thiamin: 0.04 milligrams
- Riboflavin: 0.04 mg
- Niacin: 0.65 milligrams
- Vitamin B6: 0.08 milligrams
- Calcium: 9 milligrams
- Iron: 0.23 milligrams
- Magnesium: 14 milligrams
- Phosphorus: 24 milligrams
- Potassium: 229 milligrams
- Zinc: 0.16 milligrams
- Manganese: 0.23 milligrams
Side effects and other concerns
Although providing many health benefits, consuming aubergine might result in some unwanted effects on your body.
Aubergines might cause allergic reactions. Among the members of the nightshade family, allergic reactions to tomato, potato, and bell pepper have been extensively reported in medical literature. On the contrary, allergic reactions to aubergines are rare compared with other members of the nightshade family. Despite allergic reactions to aubergine being rare, there are a considerable number of individuals in the Indian population who experience an allergic reaction to aubergine.6 If you experience swelling of the throat, rash, itchiness, and nausea, you might be having an allergic reaction to aubergine. In this case, it is advised to seek urgent medical help, as it might be anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.
Another side effect that might be caused by eating aubergine is solanine poisoning. Nightshade family plants contain alkaloids, including solanine, which is a toxic substance. Despite containing a small amount of solanine, eating large quantities of aubergine might result in solanine poisoning.5
Kidney stones are another concern that might be caused by eating aubergine. Aubergines contain oxalates, which speed up kidney stone formation in some individuals who are more sensitive to absorbing oxalates. If kidney stones are not treated, they might lead to acute kidney injury or kidney failure. For this reason, foods with high amounts of oxalates, like aubergine, are not advised for people who are vulnerable to kidney stones and other kidney diseases.5
Aubergines are an important source of minerals, vitamins, fibre, and phytochemicals, especially phenolic substances. Aubergines contain chlorogenic acid and anthocyanin as phenolic substances which have numerous health benefits.
Aubergines provide a wide range of benefits for health, such as decreasing cancer risk, protecting the heart, helping to lose weight, managing diabetes, boosting memory and immunity, and improving wound healing.
There is a possibility that consuming cooked aubergine might be more beneficial against fighting free radicals. Some studies suggest, however, that there is no difference between eating raw aubergine and cooked aubergine in terms of health benefits.1
Despite providing countless health benefits, there are some adverse effects caused by consuming aubergines, such as allergic reactions, solanine poisoning, and kidney stones.
- Das S, Raychaudhuri U, Falchi M, Bertelli A, C. Braga P, K. Das D. Cardioprotective properties of raw and cooked eggplant ( Solanum melongena L). Food & Function [Internet]. 2011 [cited 2023 Jan 4];2(7):395–9. Available from: https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2011/fo/c1fo10048c
- Yarmohammadi F, Ghasemzadeh Rahbardar M, Hosseinzadeh H. Effect of eggplant (Solanum melongena) on the metabolic syndrome: A review. Iran J Basic Med Sci [Internet]. 2021 Apr [cited 2023 Jan 4];24(4):420–7. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8143715/
- Naeem MY, Ugur S. Nutritional Content and Health Benefits of Eggplant. Turkish Journal of Agriculture - Food Science and Technology [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2023 Jan 4];7(sp3):31-36. Available from: https://doaj.org/article/f8a163d7a4a94a0b85764dc94f750f51
- Fraikue FB. Unveiling the Potential Utility of Eggplant: A Review. Conference Proceedings of INCENDI [Internet]. 2016 [cited 2023 Jan 4];883-895. Available from:
- Ghosh SK. Eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) and Climate Resilient Agricultural Practices. Climate Change Dimensions and Mitigation Strategies for Agricultural Sustainability [Internet]. New Delhi Publishers; 2022 [cited 2023 Jan 4];4:33-56. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/365990978_Eggplant_Solanum_melongena_L_and_Climate_Resilient_Agricultural_Practices
- Pramod SN, Venkatesh YP. Allergy to Eggplant (Solanum melongena) Caused by a Putative Secondary Metabolite. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol [Internet]. 2008 [cited 2023 Jan 4];18(1):59-62. Available from:https://www.jiaci.org/issues/vol18issue1/10.pdf