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Natural Sources of Nasunin

The main natural source of nasunin is the skin of eggplants. It is also found in the purple radish, red turnip, and red cabbage1. It is the substance that provides the dark pigment in the fruit of the eggplant. Its job is to protect the eggplant from environmental damage especially from the sun and other radiant sources of energy. No other common food sources contain significant amounts of this powerful phytonutient.

Two Eggplants

Currently, those who want to get nasunin into their diets must rely on the eggplant or a few other vegetables. Many people think eggplants are tasteless bland and even relatively strange. In Renaissance England the humble eggplant, because of its unusual shape, was viewed as causing madness for those who over-indulged2.

Eggplants have many uses in recipes and dishes. It can be fried or baked in olive oil and spiced with salt and pepper. It makes an excellent ingredient in Italian dishes where it is finely complemented by tomato sauces, with basil and oregano. It is commonly found in salads where the inner pulp acts as a sponge, absorbing significant amounts of added dressings and oils.

When buying eggplants try to select those that are small and firm (but not hard). The lighter colored skins contain less nasunin, so take this into account in the grocery aisle. Eggplants should be stored at about 50° F (10° C). This means that the best place for them is probably the refrigerator. They should store well for up to a week if not sliced, cut, or bruised.

Next Page: Supplementing Nasunin Intake

  1. Horticultural Reviews Vol 28 (p162)
  2. InDepthInfo on the History of Eggplants

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