This traditional Italian dish might seem like an unhealthy option, what with the mountains of cheese and fried eggplant. But it’s actually one of the easiest dishes to makeover for a more nutritious, but still delicious dinner.
For starters, eggplant is a great addition to any anti-aging diet, because it contains a wide range of vitamins and nutrients, like fiber, copper, manganese, potassium, and vitamins B1, B6, B3, and K. It also contains several different antioxidants, such as nasunin, which has been shown to fight free radical damage in the body and protect against cell damage. Eggplant may even benefit your anti-aging diet by improving cardiovascular health—research on lab animals showed that the phytonutrients in it can reduce cholesterol levels, improve blood flow, and relax blood vessel walls.
The key step that makes this anti-aging recipe healthier is to use actual tomatoes, rather than traditional pasta sauce. Tomatoes hold a lot of weight in an anti-aging diet, because of their lycopene content. Lycopene is an antioxidant that has been linked to improved bone health and a reduced risk of heart disease and has been shown to improve the skin’s ability to protect against UV damage. Plus, by making your own sauce, you’re limiting the amount of sodium and processed ingredients.
Another reason why this anti-aging recipe is a healthier alternative to traditional eggplant parmesan is because it uses egg whites instead of whole eggs, to reduce the fat content, and the eggplant is baked, not deep fried. This anti-aging recipe also calls for parmesan cheese instead of mozzarella, because it’s a hard, stronger flavored cheese, so a little goes a long way—unlike mozzarella, you don’t need to layer it on thick to get the cheesy taste.
“Eggplant,” The World’s Healthiest Foods web site; http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=22&tname=foodspice, last accessed February 4, 2015.
“Tomatoes,” The World’s Healthiest Foods web site; http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=44, last accessed February 4, 2015.