Eggs have been part of the human diet ever since ancient times, when early civilizations, such as Egyptians started domesticating wild fowls. Now, eggs are a mainstay in many people’s meals due to their outstanding nutritional content.
The protein in eggs is the highest-quality protein found in any food. Eggs also contain essential nutrients like vitamin B12, eye health-promoting antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein, cancer-fighting amino acids tyrosine and tryptophan, and choline, which aids in fetal brain development.
The fact is that a lot of the seemingly healthy egg varieties you see in supermarkets are actually nothing more than an advertising trick.
One example is omega-3 eggs, or “nutrient-enhanced eggs,” which actually come from chickens that are given poor-quality sources of omega-3 fats that are already oxidized. They also perish much faster than non-omega-3 eggs.
In order to ensure the quality of your eggs, I urge you to keep an eye out for organic, pastured varieties from local farmers who allow their hens to forage freely outdoors.
- PROTEIN If you start your weekday with cereal or toast instead of eggs, here’s a wake-up call: Did you know eggs have 6 grams of high-quality protein? And did you know a protein-packed breakfast helps sustain mental and physical energy throughout the day? That’s good news, especially if you’re a body-building chess champion.
- GOT CHOLINE? Eggs are rich in choline, which is a weird word but it’s a “good weird” because choline promotes normal cell activity, liver function and the transportation of nutrients throughout the body. Think of it as a commuter train for vitamins and minerals.
- ZERO CARBS NO SUGAR Eggs contain zero carbs and no sugar. That means you can eat a well-rounded breakfast during the week without feeling round yourself.
- AMINO ACIDS Eggs have all 9 essential amino acids. Seems like a lot but remember – they ARE essential.
- MORE FOOD FOR THOUGHT Unlike most cereals and yogurt, eggs don’t come with a complicated, jam-packed ingredient list because they only contain one ingredient. It’s called “eggs.” And at 15¢ a serving, eggs are the least expensive source of high-quality protein.* That’s right, 15¢.
- NO GLUTEN? NO PROBLEM. Let’s not forget that eggs are naturally gluten-free. Always have been, always will be. And that’s awesome because there isn’t exactly a glut of gluten-free breakfast options.
Free-Range, Pasteurized, Cage-Free Organic… Do These Words Mean Anything?
You may have spotted these words on some egg cartons, which seem to convince and assure consumers that the products come from reliable, high-quality sources.
But in reality, these terms DO NOT guarantee the conditions in which the chickens are raised. For example, some “cage-free” hens are allowed to forage, but only in unpleasant environments, such as barren lots. Or they may have been fed an unnatural diet of grains and synthetic additives.
You may have also been enticed to buy eggs with smooth white shells, but this actually has no effect on the eggs’ nutrition value. In fact, if you want to find out the real nutritional value of your egg, I advise you to check the yolk. Dull, pale yellow yolks are a sure sign that the eggs are produced by caged hens raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and were not allowed to forage for their natural diet.
Eggs are good for……………………….
Weight management: The high-quality protein in eggs helps you to feel fuller longer and stay energized, which contributes to maintaining a healthy weight.1
Muscle strength and muscle-loss prevention: Research indicates that high-quality protein may help active adults build muscle strength and help prevent muscle loss in middle-aged and aging adults.2
Healthy pregnancy: Egg yolks are an excellent source of choline, an essential nutrient that contributes to fetal brain development and helps prevent birth defects. Two eggs provide about 250 milligrams of choline, or roughly half of the recommended daily intake for pregnant and breastfeeding women.3
Brain function: Choline also aids the brain function of adults by maintaining the structure of brain cell membranes, and is a key component of the neuro-transmitter that helps relay messages from the brain through nerves to the muscles.4
Eye health: Lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants found in egg yolks, help prevent macular degeneration, a leading cause of age-related blindness. Though eggs contain a small amount of these two nutrients, research shows that the lutein from eggs may be more bioavailable than lutein from other food sources.5
For additional information and benefits of eggs, visit www.eggnutritioncenter.org
1 Weigle DS, et al. 2005. A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations. Am J Clin Nutr. 82:41-48.
2 Evans WJ. 2004. Protein Nutrition, Exercise and Aging. J Am Coll Nutr. 23(6)601S-609S.
3 Zeisel SH. Choline: Critical role during fetal development and dietary requirements in adults. Annu Rev Nutr, 2006; 26:229-50.
4 Moeller SM, et al. 2000. The Potential Role of Dietary Xanthophylls in Cataract and Age-Related Macular Degeneration. J Am Coll Nutr. 19(5):522S-527S.
5 Chung HY, et al. Lutein bioavailability is higher from lutein-enriched eggs than from supplements and spinach in men. J Nutr. 2004; 134:1887-1893.
Quick and Simple Recipe: Microwave Coffee Cup Scramble
|2||Tbsp. shredded Cheddar cheese|
|Salt and pepper|
|Step 1||COAT 12-oz. microwave-safe coffee mug with cooking spray. ADD eggs and milk* (Optional) ; beat until blended.|
|Step 2||MICROWAVE on HIGH 45 seconds; stir. MICROWAVE until eggs are almost set, 30 to 45 seconds longer.|
|Step 3||TOP with cheese; season with salt and pepper.|