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Eggplant contains only about 20 calories per cooked cup, 2.5 grams of fiber, and anthocyanins, the antioxidants that give eggplant its purple hue.

Not only do these antioxidants have heart health and cancer fighting properties, but preliminary research in rats published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2010 also found that anthocyanins may offer protection against obesity and diabetes.

The entire eggplant, including purple skin and white flesh, is edible and tastes best when cooked (the raw fruit has a bitter taste). Eggplant tends to soak up a lot of oil in dishes, so be extra aware of your portions, especially when you’re dining out and can’t control how much olive oil is added to the dish.

Just because it’s a vegetable doesn’t mean the eggplant can’t be the main show. Due to its fleshy skin, eggplant can act as a meat substitute and is the star of many Mediterranean dishes.

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