Egg Nutrition And The Health Benefits Of Eggs

food-316412_1280Eggs are an extremely dense source of nutrition you should consider.  They are quick,convenient, and can be prepared many ways.  With the recent suggestion of the  Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee,  the myth that eggs are bad for you can start to fade into the past.

Egg Nutrition And The Health Benefits Of Eggs

Let’s start out with eggs nutrition and then we’ll get to the calories in an egg.  The protein in eggs is outstanding at 6.3 grams for one large egg.  This egg protein is also quickly absorbed by the body (1.5 to 3 hours) and contains over 17 amino acids.  Eggs score pretty high in vitamins D, A, Riboflavin and B12 .  They are high in minerals as well with one egg providing 28% of the DRI of selenium and 18% of your daily iodine needs.  There are approximately 78 calories in one egg.

Eggs are very high in choline.  One large egg contains up to 35% of the Daily Recommended Intake suggestions.  Choline is considered an essential nutrient.  It was once thought the body manufactured all the choline it needed, but current research is proving we need additional choline supplementation to our standard western diet.  Choline is a methyl donor, meaning it helps support methylation-one of the most basic processes of life. Building DNA, nerve signaling, and liver detoxification are just some of the body’s activities that use methylation.  Choline helps keep cell membranes fluid.  Choline is also the precursor of acetylcholine which is responsible for basically powering your nervous system.  It keeps your heart beating, and is necessary for telling the muscles in my fingers to contract so I can type this post.  A study posted in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition basically stated that  higher choline intake is “related to better cognitive performance”.  Choline intake has the ability boost your memory and learning as you age.

Eggs are fairly high in cholesterol, a fact that led many to believe that limiting your egg intake would help lower cholesterol levels in the body.  Eggs were fairly stigmatized until recently when in early 2015 the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a government panel that meets every five years, dropped the recommendation that Americans limit intake of dietary cholesterol such as eggs or shrimp.  They changed the recommendation based on research that states that dietary cholesterol has little or no effect on blood cholesterol for most.  In an article on the New York Time’s blog: 

““For many years, the cholesterol recommendation has been carried forward, but the data just doesn’t support it,” said Alice H. Lichtenstein, the vice chairwoman of the advisory panel and a professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University.

Dr. Krauss said that some people experience a rise in blood cholesterol after eating yolks and other cholesterol-rich foods. But these “hyper-responders” are such a minority — roughly a few percent of the population — that they do not justify broad restrictions on cholesterol intake.”

Add to this the fact that the human brain is 60% fat with around 25% being cholesterol.  Cholesterol is also used to insulate nerves much like the insulation on copper wires prevents wires from shorting out.

In addition to the committee’s recommendations are other studies that are reporting that there is insufficient evidence for dietary fat guidelines put in place in the UK and the United States.  Eggs contain omega-3 fatty acids, inflammation busting fat that is low in the western diet.

Fresh Eggs vs Store Bought

Check in most grocery stores and you’ll find some high omega-3 eggs for sale.  Basically the hens that lay these eggs are fed feed high in flaxseed which is high in omega-3 fatty acids.  Factory farming of egg laying chickens is not necessarily the ideal environment to produce a quality egg.  In fact, because of the poor conditions of egg “factories”, most workers have to wear masks to avoid breathing dust contaminated with bacteria and feces.  Store bought eggs tend to have more bacteria on the eggshell than a fresh one.  Its not a stretch of the imagination to question the freshness of flaxseed (which is apt to go rancid because of its high oil content).  This isn’t going to produce the highest quality egg.  It’s unnecessary as well.  All eggs have omega-3 fatty acids.  In fact, [Tweet “…eggs from home raised or pastured chickens contain two to ten times more omega-3 than store bought”]  They also contain 2/3 more vitamin A, twice as much vitamin E and three to six times the vitamin D of store bought.  Pastured eggs are the way to go if you are looking for optimal nutrition.  Local farms, farmer’s markets and even health food stores are great places to purchase pastured eggs.  You might even consider raising your own.  Raising chickens for eggs in an urban setting has been rising steadily for years.  They are fairly easy to keep and the thrill of a morning fresh egg is one of life’s simple pleasures.

Cooking Eggs

There are so many ways to cook eggs from simple frying and scrambling to fancy frittatas.  One of my first ways to perfect eggs was how to hard boil eggs:

Place eggs in a pan with cold water an inch above the eggs.  Heat on high until the water boils.  Remove from heat, cover and let sit ten minutes.  Transfer the eggs to cold water or pour cold water in the pan to stop the cooking process.

Another favorite way to prepare eggs is baked eggs.  Here’s my take on the popular baked egg in an avocado.  You get all the health benefits of eggs plus fiber and additional omega-3s from the avocado.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Halve an avocado, remove the pit.  Remove a small amount of flesh to accommodate an egg.  I like to mush the bottom of the avocado slightly so it has a flat spot to rest on in the pan.

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Crack an egg into a small bowl and pour into the hole in your avocado.  I like to place some onion and pepper I sliced thin with a mandoline in the hole before the egg.

I usually top with a little cheese since everything goes great with cheese.

bakedeggcheese

Place in an oven safe pan, dish, whatever and bake for 10 to 15 minutes-basically when the white sets to your liking, its ready.

bakedeggcheesedone

Eggs are pretty incredible when you consider the health benefits they pack into their high nutrients and the many delicious ways to prepare them.  From helping to reduce inflammation to boosting your memory, eggs are food for health.