Eggplant belongs to the Solanaceae family and, like many Solanaceae, contains alkaloids which at high doses can have a toxic effect: eggplant is therefore toxic and should not be eaten? Let's try to clarify.
The eggplant: what it is and how it is consumed
The aubergine is the fruit of Solanum melongena, an annual plant widespread throughout the Mediterranean basin, where it is grown for food. Eggplant is available in supermarkets all year round but it is in season from June to October and it can be found in different varieties: the color of the fruits ranges from ivory white to very dark purple, passing through different shades of lilac and the shape can be rounded, oval or elongated.
Eggplants are eaten cooked in different ways, for example grilled or in oil, or they are used for the preparation of numerous recipes, including the famous eggplant parmigiana and caponata.
La aubergine it has a characteristic bitter taste which, depending on the variety, can be more or less pronounced. To drive it away, before proceeding with cooking, the vegetable is "purged", placing the aubergine slices in a colander with salt and placing a weight on top of the slices: in this way the salt will make the water come out and, with it, the bitter principles responsible for the flavor.
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Is eggplant toxic?
The aubergine is a plant belonging to the Solanaceae family which also includes potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and other species used for pharmaceutical purposes such as Atropa belladonna, stramonium and henbane. Many solanaceae, including aubergine, contain alkaloids, molecules produced by the plant for defensive purposes and which have a marked pharmacological activity in the organism of animals: the aubergine, in particular, contains solasonina.
La solasonina, as well as the solanine present in potatoes and the tomato tomatin, have a toxic effect on the organism, but this effect depends on the dose of alkaloid taken.
The alkaloids contained in aubergine have a low toxicity and are found in the order of 60-110 milligrams per kilogram of vegetable: the toxic dose for an adult is 3 milligrams per kg of body weight which it is equivalent to consuming about 3 kg of aubergines.
Obviously as for children, the toxic dose is lower, but these are still considerable quantities: to have toxic effects, a 25 kg child should consume at least 750 grams of aubergines, equal to two medium-large aubergines.
It is therefore not necessary to avoid the consumption of aubergines for fear of their toxicity: eggplants are indeed rich in mineral salts, vitamins and antioxidants that bring benefits to our body.
As always, it is good to vary the foods and follow a balanced and balanced diet.
Read also The calories of aubergines >>