Whether it's deep fried or mashed or cooked as a curry, the brinjal or eggplant is the trusted sidekick to any dish. It transforms a dish to a whole new level. It is a crowd favourite in its many forms such as bhorta where the brinjal is roasted over the fire and the skin is peeled and condiments such as chilli flakes, chopped onions and mustard seed oil are added, and beguni where the brinjal is fried in a batter.
Brinjals contain certain nutrients that help in preventing various types of diseases. Anthocyanins, the pigment in brinjals that gives the vegetable its luscious purple colour, is said to be good for heart health. This powerful antioxidant protects brain cell membranes from radical damage as well. It also assists in the transport of nutrients into the cell. Anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid present in a brinjal function as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Chlorogenic acid has been shown to decrease low-density lipid (LDL) levels and also acts as an antiviral and antimicrobial agent in the body. The brinjal has a compound called polyphenols, which has anti-cancer effects. Brinjal is very low in calorie and high in fibre, helping to maintain weight and satiety as well as controlling diabetes effectively. Besides, women are advised to eat brinjals during pregnancy as it protects the unborn child from possible birth defects. Moreover, brinjals contain B-complex group vitamins such as B1, B3, B5 and B6, which help with fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism. These vitamins also help to build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis, a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile. The presence of bioflavonoids aid in regulating high blood pressure and relieve stress, while the presence of Vitamin K helps to eliminate bad cholesterol that are capable of creating blood clots. Surely enough, this is a vegetable that one should include in one’s shopping list more often.
Md Oliyer Rahman, a brinjal farmer from Shahbazpur, Jessore, shares his experience of growing brinjals that he raises the sapling for two and a half months till he shifts it to an irrigated land. After two months of the plantation period, the farmers can extract the brinjal from the plant. It is generally advised to pluck the vegetable in an interval of 7-10 days total. Oliyer along with many farmers of the area, provide vegetables for Shawpno under the Shuddho project. Under this initiative, shares Oliyer, farmers get to know safe agricultural practices such as how much fertiliser or pesticides should be used and what is the interval period between pesticide application and harvesting known as Pre-Harvest interval (PHI).
Consumed in its different delicious forms, brinjals bring forth immense nutritional benefits through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, thus helping us lead a healthier life. Fortunately, enough, this nutrition-packed vegetable is available all throughout the year and thus, one can continue to consume it any time, in required amounts, to obtain the boons it offers.
A joint initiative of Shwapno and The Daily Star