Eggs and their benefits
The humble egg has had good press and bad press over the years, but it has emerged as a modern-day superhero, because of its nutritional makeup. If we take into consideration that the egg is going to become a chick, it brings into perspective how amazing they really are. As a result of this, in recent years limits on the number of eggs we eat in a week have been lifted, unless there are health conditions which prevent this.
Egg protein (the white) is of a better quality with a better balance of essential amino acids than other protein foods. This means that the amino acids in eggs are more usable by the body.
Egg yolk contains omega 3 and it is considered instrumental in helping with joint and skeletal health, mood, eye health and mucosal membrane development. One large hard-boiled egg contains, as a percentage of the RDA, an average of:
- 22% Selenium
- 15% Vitamin B2
- 9 % Vitamin B12
- 9% Vitamin Phosphorus
- 7% Vitamin B5
- 7% Vitamin D
- 6% Vitamin A
- 5% Folate
- Plus Vitamin B6, E, K, Calcium and Zinc.
Approx. 77 calories, of which protein = 6g, and fats = 5g.
The nutritional benefits of an egg are many including contributing to:
- Skeletal health
- Night vision
- Mucus membrane health
- Lowering the likelihood of coronary artery disease and stroke
- Skin health
- Anti-oxidant effects
Eggs and Heart Health
Research has shown that although eggs contain LDL, the type of cholesterol that is associated with contributing to heart disease, they also contain HDL which contributes to protecting against heart disease. Also, the type of LDL (Type A) is less likely to be plaque forming in the arteries. So, put into simple terms nature has balanced the books. Also, our livers are producing cholesterol, so when we eat eggs, the cholesterol produced by our livers reduces to compensate.
Individuals with familial hypercholesterolemia should limit their use of eggs, however.
Free range eggs vs. ‘other’ eggs
The purpose of this article is not to discuss the ethical reasons for eating free-range eggs or caged hen eggs. There have been various studies into the nutritional contents of free range eggs and caged eggs. There are factors that need to be considered when looking at this comparison:
- Breed of chicken.
- Type of environment both samples are kept in, e.g., pasture, size of the cage.
- Type of food available.
All these factors affect the quality of the egg. Therefore if a free-range egg had a poor pasture, the egg quality would be different to that of a hen living in a better pasture or well-fed cage.
Studies have shown that free eggs do contain a better content of Omega 3, vitamins A, D and E.
Eggs and weight loss
It has been found through a small study group of 160 individuals that by eating eggs instead of a breakfast bagel or other bread, satiety was achieved and lasted for longer (until lunchtime). Further studies are needed but it does indicate that eggs could help with weight loss if used appropriately. The study also demonstrated that eggs themselves will not induce weight loss.
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