Called “Obe-Igba” by the Yorubas and “afufa” or “ahara” by the Igbos, Solanum melongena or garden egg as we know it is a highly valued delicacy and constituent of the African food.
A member of the aubergine family, garden eggs comes in different colours – pink, white, yellow, green, black, sometimes striped, shapes and sizes.
Culturally garden egg is said to represent fertility and blessing- this explains why it is common to find it being served during wedding ceremonies in some communities across the African continent.
Garden egg is generally said not to contain huge amount of protein and other nutrients, but very rich dietary fibre and potassium, a necessary salt that helps in maintaining the function of the heart and regulates blood pressure.
In Nigeria, garden eggs are usually at their best from August through October when they come to the market in droves and can be either enjoyed fresh alone or with groundnut or cooked into a sumptuous sauce, which is eaten with boiled yam or plantain
Other health benefits of garden eggs include:
- Garden egg positively helps with heart problems and it helps to make the weight reduction diet more successful.
- It helps to lower eye pressure in persons with glaucoma without side effect even with high consumption.
- It is high in potassium, a necessary salt that helps in maintaining the function of the heart and regulate blood pressure.
- It helps in the treatment of stomach ulcers.
- Eating garden egg is good at reducing blood cholesterol.
- Pregnant women need more of vitamins and minerals which are available in garden egg vegetables.
- The leaves can serve as a natural blood tonic in anemic patient. The leaves also provides women with micro nutrients which help in improving blood level.
- Garden egg is one of the anti-cancer fruit which has been helping for over decades.
- It provides the body with both fat soluble vitamins and water soluble vitamins, which are rich in Thiamin (Vitamin B6) required for normal growth and proper functioning of the heart and nervous system.
- Garden egg helps prevent blood clots with the help of vitamin K and biaflavonoids, which strengthen capillaries.
- Garden egg helps in the control of high blood pressure and relieves stress.
- It is beneficial for constipation and good for colon health.