Power Food: Eggplant Parmesan Bites

Our Power Food this week is Eggplants! Eggplant is a Heart Hero because it helps you feel full and helps your body remove junk from your liver to keep your heart healthy. The name “eggplant” originates from the 18th century when farmers with small, white fruit, shaped like hen’s egg were popular. Eggplants belong to the nightshade family of vegetables, which also includes tomatoes, bell peppers, and potatoes, and all edible members of that family are actually fruits. Some varieties of eggplant produce white, lavender, green or red-striped fruit that can be elongated, rounded or pear-shaped. People in the U.K. called them aubergines. The word “aubergine” goes all the way back to the ancient Indian language Sanskrit. The eggplant is believed to have originated in India, where it is considered to be the King of Vegetables. The vegetable can be consumed grilled, baked, boiled, stuffed or combined with meat and other vegetables. They are often used as a substitute for meat in vegetarian diets due to specific texture and taste of its flesh.

Health Benefits of Eggplants

Eggplants, like many other vegetables, are great sources of dietary fiber, a necessary element in any balanced diet.  1 cup of chopped eggplant only has 20 calories and 11% of your daily fiber needs! Fiber is essential for gastrointestinal health, as well as for the regular movement of the bowels. Fiber bulks up your bowel movements so they pass more easily through the digestive tract, while also stimulating peristaltic motion, the contraction of the smooth muscles that move food through the body. Finally, fiber stimulates the secretion of gastric juices that facilitate absorption of nutrients and the processing of foods. Fiber has also been linked to a reduction in heart disease as well, since it eliminates some of the “bad” cholesterol that can clog arteries and veins, resulting in atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.

Simple Eggplant Parmesan Bites

This updated take on the Italian classic features bite-sized nuggets of eggplant coated in Parmesan breadcrumbs and fried to crispy, golden brown perfection. And the dip-worthy complement to this snack sensation? The tangy homemade marinara sauce that transforms from raw ingredients to a saucy slam-dunk in just 10 minutes. Follow this recipe and more from our friends at Just A Taste.

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