The eggplant, a.k.a the aubergine, is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine because of its unique taste and creamy texture, which lends itself well to many variations. Whether you like it curried, baked, fried, stuffed or part of a dip like babaganoush, the versatile eggplant is loaded with health benefits.

1. It lowers cholesterol. Chlorogenic acid is a powerful free radical which decreases LDL cholesterol levels significantly. It acts as an anti-carcinogenic anti-microbial agent, and eggplants are a rich source of this magic ingredient.

2. It boosts your brain power. Eggplants are often served with the skin on, which actually has a hidden benefit. The eggplant skin contains an antioxidant known as nasunin, which helps protect the cell membranes in the brain from free radical changes, improving memory and preventing age-related mental disorders.

3. It fights cancer. The polyphenols in the eggplant have been found to protest body cells from damage, in turn preventing growth of tumours and invasion by cancerous cells.

4. It helps control diabetes. Research shows that due to its high fibre content and low soluble carbohydrates, the eggplant is a good vegetable to add to your diet if you’re diabetic. For the same reasons, it helps control and manage weight.

5. It improves cardiac health. Studies show that anthocyanins play a big role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, and the eggplant is a rich source. Eggplants also contain potassium, fibre, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and phytonutrients which ensure good overall health.