Eggplants are delicious, nutritious, and versatile. They can be used as a vegetable, appetizer, salad topping, pizza topping, pasta sauce, soup base, and even dessert. But did you know that eating just 1/4 cup of raw eggplant can cause diarrhea?
Eating eggplant can be dangerous if you aren’t careful. In fact, eating just 1/4 of a medium-sized eggplant can cause severe stomach cramps and diarrhea. This is why I recommend cooking eggplant before consuming it.
In this article, we will talk about the major side effects of eggplant
Nutrition In Eggplant
Eggplants are rich in vitamin A, B6, K, folate, manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, calcium, selenium, and dietary fiber. They are also high in antioxidants such as carotenoids, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, and alpha-tocopherol.
Eggplants contain lower amounts of fat and sodium.
One cup of cooked eggplant contains about 150 calories, 9 grams of protein, and 10 grams of carbohydrates.
The USDA recommends consuming one-half cup of raw eggplant per day. This amount provides approximately 5% of the daily recommended values for vitamin A, 2% of vitamin C, 3% of vitamin E, 4% of calcium, and 8% of potassium.
Benefits of Eggplant
Eggplants are one of the most popular vegetables around the world. They are used in salads, soups, curries, stews, stir-fries, fritters, and even desserts. Here are some uses of eggplants you might not know about:
- Eggplants are good for weight loss because they contain antioxidants and other beneficial compounds that help reduce cholesterol and fight against cancer.
- Diabetics can eat eggplants because they help lower blood sugar.
- They are healthy for heart patients because they prevent plaque buildup in arteries.
- They are good for skin health because they contain vitamins A and B6.
- They can improve digestion because they contain enzymes that aid in the breakdown of food.
- They are good for kidney health because they contain high amounts of potassium.
Side Effects of Eggplant
1. Eggplant & Allergies
Eggplants are members of the nightshade family. They contain proteins called lectins that make some people very sick. These proteins can trigger allergy symptoms including hives, swelling of the tongue, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and low blood pressure. Some people can develop anaphylactic shock. This happens when the immune system overreacts to allergens like those found in eggplants. Anaphylactic shock can lead to death.
The best way to avoid problems caused by eating eggplants is to know what foods you are sensitive to. If you think you might be allergic to eggplants, talk to your doctor about testing.
2. Eggplant & Inflammation
The nightshade vegetable group consists of eggplants, tomatoes, and potatoes. These plants contain alkaloids called solanine and chaconine, which cause inflammation in the body. Solanine is found in most members of the nightshade vegetable family. Chaconine is present in some types of tomatoes and potatoes.
People who eat foods containing nightshift vegetables often experience symptoms such as skin rashes, hives, asthma attacks, swelling in the mouth and tongue, difficulty breathing, dizziness, stomach ache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, joint pains, and headaches.
Symptoms usually start within 2 hours to 6 days after eating the food, although it can take longer depending on how much you ate. Some people develop severe reactions and even die.
3. Can Stimulate Menstruation
Eggplant contains compounds called indole alkaloids, which are known to stimulate menstruation. These compounds are found in abundance in the seeds, skin, stems, and leaves of the plant. They are also present in some fruits such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and aubergines.
The amount of indole alkaloids varies according to the variety of eggplant. For example, the Japanese varieties have lower levels of indole alkaloid compared to the Italian varieties.
4. Excessive Fluid Loss
Eggplant is one of the best foods you can eat to treat water retention. This is because it increases urine production. In fact, eggplant is often used as a natural remedy for urinary tract infections.
However, pregnant women should avoid eating eggplants since they cause excessive fluid loss. If you do want to consume eggplants during pregnancy, make sure that you don’t eat too much of them. Also, try to choose the smaller ones rather than the large ones.
5. Eggplant Side Effects During Pregnancy
Brinjal, commonly known as eggplant, is one of the most popular vegetables in India. But consuming it while pregnant could cause adverse effects such as miscarriage, preterm labor, low birth weight babies, and even death. A study published in the journal Food Science & Nutrition found that women who consumed high amounts of brinjal had a greater risk of delivering prematurely compared to those who ate less.
The researchers analyzed data collected from 2,865 pregnant women across five states in India. They discovered that women who consumed more than 3.5 cups per week had a 9% increased risk of delivering early compared to those who didn’t eat brinjal. Women who consumed more than 5.5 cups per week were twice as likely to deliver prematurely.
In addition to potentially causing miscarriages, eating too many brinjals may also increase the chances of having a baby born with low birth weight. The authors note that there are no safe levels of intake for brinjal. If you’re thinking about adding brinjal to your diet, consult your doctor first.
6. May cause Acidic Problems
Eggplants are delicious, nutritious vegetables that are packed full of vitamins and minerals. But did you know that eggplants may cause acidic problems?
If you’re prone to heartburn, acid reflux, or stomach ulcers, avoid eating raw eggplants because they contain compounds called solanine, which irritate the lining of your digestive tract.
To prevent this problem, cook eggplants thoroughly until soft before consuming them. Or better yet, eat them cooked.
7. Too Much Potassium And Fibers Is Bad
Eggplant contains many nutrients such as potassium, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, phosphorus, folate, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, dietary fiber, beta-carotene, lutein/zeaxanthin, lycopene, selenium, calcium, and protein. These nutrients are very important for our health. However, too much intake of some nutrients can lead to toxicity.
Too much potassium can cause hyperkalemia, a condition where there is too much potassium in the blood. Symptoms include muscle weakness, irregular heartbeat, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and confusion. If you consume about 3,500 mg per day, it could be dangerous.
Excessive consumption of fibers can increase the risk of constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, and colon cancer. Studies show that people who eat high amounts of dietary fiber tend to have lower rates of heart disease. Fiber helps keep us regular and healthy. But excessive intake can lead to bloating, gas, diarrhea, and even abdominal pain. Here are some sources of dietary fiber.
Moderation is always better than overindulgence. Remember that moderation applies to everything in life. We don’t want to become addicted to anything, including food.
8. Solanine poisoning
Eggplants contain solanine, a toxic alkaloid that causes severe gastrointestinal problems when consumed. Solanine poisoning occurs when the amount of solanine ingested exceeds the body’s ability to detoxify it. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, dizziness, confusion, seizures, coma, and death.
If you’re planning to eat eggplants, be aware of this potentially dangerous toxin. To avoid poisoning, cook them until tender, and remove the skin before eating.
9. Can cause severe illness in young children
Eggplant contains naturally occurring compounds called nitrates. When cooked, those nitrates turn into nitrites, which are potentially harmful to infants and toddlers.
Nitrites are formed when we eat foods containing high amounts of nitrates. These foods include some types of produce, such as spinach, tomatoes, peppers, and celery. They’re also found in cured meats like bacon and lunch meat.
The FDA recommends limiting the intake of processed meats because they contain high levels of nitrates and nitrites. However, there is no safe level of nitrite consumption.
As a precaution, parents should limit the amount of raw eggplant that kids eat.
10. Interfere With Antidepressant Drugs
Eggplants contain a chemical known as tyramine, which increases blood pressure. This effect is amplified when taken along with certain medications such as antihypertensives, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, diuretics, MAO inhibitors, phenothiazines, tricyclic antidepressants, and sympathomimetics. Such interactions are especially likely to occur when people eat large quantities of eggplant together with antidepressant drugs.
The Food and Drug Administration warns against combining antidepressants with foods containing tyramine, including eggplant, cheese, wine, beer, red meat, smoked fish, aged cheeses, salami, hot dogs, liver, yeast extract, soy sauce, anchovies, pickles, figs, raisins, dates, and bananas.
11. May Give False Positive Result In Carcinoid Tumors Test
Eggplants contain a chemical called solanine, which may cause false positive results when used in certain tests. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends against eating eggplants due to this risk.
If you’re concerned about consuming too much solanine, consider avoiding eggplant and other solanine-rich foods altogether. However, if you must eat them, be aware that they may give false positive results in some carcinoid tumor tests. This means that patients who test negative for cancer may still have the disease.
To avoid giving false positives, ask your doctor to perform additional testing, such as blood work, CT scans, or endoscopy.
If you did eat eggplants, you should wait at least 24 hours before eating them before testing again. Otherwise, you risk getting another false positive result.
Eating eggplants can be beneficial to your health. But, you need to know how to prepare them properly so that you don’t get sick from their toxins.
If you want to enjoy eggplants without worrying about their potential risks, try these tips:
- Cook them thoroughly.
- Remove the skin before eating. If you do not remove the skin, you will absorb more of the toxic chemicals.
- Avoid eating them raw.
- Eat only small portions.
- Be sure to wash all surfaces where you prepared the eggplants.
- Don’t let children eat them.
- Limit the number of eggplants you consume.
- Wait at least 24 hours after eating eggplants before taking any new tests.
- Consider avoiding eggplants entirely if you are on medication.
Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.