Is Chinese eggplant good for you?

Chinese eggplant, also known as Oriental eggplant or Japanese eggplant, is a versatile and nutritious vegetable that is popular in many Asian cuisines. With its deep purple skin and tender white flesh, Chinese eggplant has a sweet, delicate flavor that lends itself well to stir-fries, curries, and grilled dishes. But is this exotic veggie actually good for you? Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional benefits of Chinese eggplant.

Nutrition Facts

One cup of cooked Chinese eggplant (about 155g) contains approximately:

  • 33 calories
  • 7g carbohydrates
  • 2g protein
  • 0g fat
  • 4g fiber
  • 5% DV vitamin C
  • 3% DV vitamin B6
  • 8% DV folate
  • 5% DV potassium
  • 3% DV magnesium

Chinese eggplant is low in calories and contains no fat or cholesterol. It provides fiber, vitamins C and B6, folate, potassium, and magnesium. The skin of Chinese eggplant contains potent antioxidants called anthocyanins which give the vegetable its deep purple color.


Here are some of the top health benefits of eating Chinese eggplant:

Rich in Antioxidants

Chinese eggplant contains high levels of antioxidant compounds like nasunin and chlorogenic acid. These antioxidants protect cells from damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals. By reducing oxidative stress in the body, antioxidants may help lower the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and cognitive decline.

Supports Heart Health

The fiber, potassium, and antioxidant content in Chinese eggplant all contribute to improved cardiovascular health. Fiber helps lower cholesterol levels. Potassium supports healthy blood pressure. And antioxidants reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which are risk factors for heart disease.

Aids Digestion

With 4g of fiber in just one cup, Chinese eggplant provides a significant amount of your recommended daily fiber intake. Fiber keeps your digestive system running smoothly by adding bulk to stool and promoting regular bowel movements.

Helps Control Blood Sugar

The fiber in Chinese eggplant helps regulate the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream, preventing unhealthy spikes in blood sugar levels. Maintaining stable blood sugar is especially important for people with diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Supports Brain Function

Chinese eggplant provides choline, an essential nutrient that plays a role in brain development, memory, mood, and muscle control. Choline also helps prevent the buildup of homocysteine, high levels of which can increase the risk of dementia.

Strengthens Bones

The vitamin K found in Chinese eggplant improves calcium absorption and supports bone mineralization, which may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Aids Weight Loss

With only 33 calories and 4g of fiber per cup, Chinese eggplant is an excellent addition to any weight loss diet. It provides bulk and satiety with minimal calories, keeping you feeling full for longer.

Selection and Storage

When buying Chinese eggplant, look for specimens with smooth, taut, shiny skin and no soft or brown spots. The stem should be green and fresh-looking. Avoid eggplants with wrinkled, dull skin. Store unwashed Chinese eggplants in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.


Chinese eggplants can be eaten with the skin on, as it tenderizes during cooking. Simply rinse under cool water right before use. Trim off the stem end and slice, dice, or chop the eggplant as needed for your recipe. Salting before cooking is unnecessary.

Chinese eggplant can be prepared many ways including:

  • Grilling
  • Roasting
  • Sauteing
  • Stir-frying
  • Steaming
  • Baking
  • Breading and frying
  • Stewing or braising

It pairs well with other ingredients like garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, chili peppers, basil, tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers. Chinese eggplant absorbs flavors readily so seasoning it aggressively is recommended.


Chinese eggplant is generally very safe to eat, but there are a few precautions to keep in mind:

  • Allergies – Eggplant belongs to the nightshade family, so people with sensitivities to nightshades like tomatoes or bell peppers may react to it.
  • Kidney stones – Eggplant contains oxalates which can contribute to kidney stone formation in those prone to them, although Chinese eggplant is lower in oxalates than other varieties.
  • Pesticide residue – Buy organic when possible and thoroughly wash conventional eggplant.
  • Solanine – Do not consume leaves, stems or sprouts of eggplant which contain the toxin solanine.

Healthier Cooking Tips

To maximize the nutritional value of Chinese eggplant, follow these simple tips:

  • Leave skin on – The skin contains beneficial antioxidants.
  • Steam, roast, grill – Healthier cooking methods than frying.
  • Don’t overcook – Cook just until tender to preserve nutrients.
  • Season with herbs and spices – Avoid excessive oil, salt, sugar.
  • Pair with vinegar – Helps absorb more antioxidants from eggplant.

How Much to Eat

There are no specific recommendations for how much Chinese eggplant to eat. Enjoy eggplant as part of a balanced diet with plenty of other fruits, veggies, whole grains, healthy proteins and fats. Aim for 1-2 cups per week to gain its great nutritional benefits.

Easy Recipes

Here are a few simple, delicious recipes to enjoy Chinese eggplant:

Sesame Chinese Eggplant


  • 2 Chinese eggplants, sliced into rounds
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Toss eggplant slices with soy sauce, vinegar, oil, ginger and garlic.
  3. Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  4. Roast for 15 minutes, flip eggplant and roast another 10-15 minutes until tender.
  5. Remove from oven and drizzle with honey.
  6. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and red pepper flakes.

Chinese Eggplant Stir Fry


  • 1 Chinese eggplant, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth


  1. Heat oil in a skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
  2. Add eggplant and stir fry 2 minutes.
  3. Add bell pepper, carrot, green onions, garlic and ginger. Stir fry 2 more minutes.
  4. Whisk together soy sauce, vinegar and vegetable broth. Pour over vegetables.
  5. Cook, stirring frequently, until veggies are crisp-tender, about 5 more minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil.

Grilled Chinese Eggplant


  • 2 Chinese eggplants, sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with olive oil and season with salt.
  2. Grill over medium-high heat 3-4 minutes per side until tender and charred.
  3. Remove from grill and sprinkle with garlic, thyme and paprika.
  4. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.


Chinese eggplant is a versatile, low calorie vegetable that offers a variety of benefits. It contains antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and compounds that promote heart health, aid digestion, regulate blood sugar, support brain function, strengthen bones, and assist with weight loss. Chinese eggplant is easy to find, prepare, and incorporate into many different recipes. Enjoying it regularly as part of a nutritious diet can enhance your overall health.

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