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The mighty aubergine

The aubergine, or eggplant, is an unusual vegetable but it has a deep purple beauty and it looks a bit like a very shiny shoe.

It might not be a vegetable that’s used very often but we’ve got a few reasons why it’s a worthwhile addition to everyone’s vegetable repertoire! Not many people know that it is grown hanging on vines just like tomatoes! Funnily enough it does come from the same nightshade family as tomatoes alongside bell peppers and potatoes.

The aubergine has many vitamins and minerals but once again it’s the magical phytonutrients that give it some special qualities. Nasunin (a phytonutrient), which can be found in the skin is a very potent antioxidant and has been shown to help protect brain cells. It is also an iron chelator which just means it helps to remove excess iron from the body.

Whilst iron is a very important mineral it is something that can build up within the body and contribute to health problems such as increased cardiovascular risk and cancer. This may be more relevant for men and post- menopausal women who have a reduced capacity to excrete any excess.

It is also thought that the compounds within it help to reduce cholesterol and dissolve arterial plaque.

Bit of forewarning… It is thought that some types of arthritis can be aggravated by the nightshade family so caution is warranted there but otherwise it’s a good excuse to make some Baba Ganoush!

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