Eggs are the quintessential breakfast food. Their immense versatility allows for them to be enjoyed in so many different ways, appealing to a variety of tastes. Today, chefs are using the basic egg in new and interesting ways. Poached eggs are on pizza, toasts and pasta dishes; baked eggs are paired with spicy tomatoes and savory veggies; and simple scrambles are prepared with a touch of creamy cheese and in-season produce.
Despite its tasty nature, the egg has always caused a bit of confusion when it comes to health. Some swear by eating egg whites only, while others choose to “indulge” in the both the white and the yolk. Let’s take a closer look at those egg myths, discuss the real health benefits of eggs, and show you that eggs can be a nutritious and delicious addition to your diet.
Eggs are an excellent source of high quality protein (one medium egg contains around 7g–about 12% of your daily intake). They are considered a “complete” source of protein, given that they contain all 9 essential amino acids–those that our bodies are unable to create and must obtain from our diets.
The egg white contains more than half of the total protein of the egg, along with vitamin B2, B6, B12, and D. The white also contains minerals such as selenium, iron, zinc and copper.
The egg yolk does contain fat, cholesterol and more calories than the white. However, this doesn’t mean you should skip the yolk! Essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K are only found in foods that contain fats. These vitamins are important for vision, bone strength, and immunity and act as antioxidants in the body to fight harmful free radicals. Skipping the yolk causes you to miss out on all these important benefits of eggs.
You may also be wondering about which type of eggs to buy, and if there any nutritional differences between the various types. In terms of health, pastured eggs are the current gold standard. Pastured eggs are produced by hens that are raised with free access to the outside, and therefore, consume a more nutritious diet. This results in eggs that contain more heart-healthy omega-3 fats and more vitamins (including A and E). Pastured eggs also contain less cholesterol and saturated fat than a conventional, cage- raised egg, making them the best choice. If you are unable to find pastured eggs, look for omega-3 enriched eggs, organic eggs, or free-range eggs (in that order) to get close to the same nutritional profile receive similar benefits.
Although egg yolks do contain dietary cholesterol, they are low in saturated fat. Research has found that the consumption of whole eggs in moderation does not raise blood cholesterol levels or contribute to heart disease or stroke in healthy adults. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that consumption be limited to one whole egg per day, or 7 whole eggs per week.
Yet, the Academy also states that among individuals with Type II diabetes, increased dietary cholesterol intake is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. If you suffer from this condition, stick to whites only.
Enjoy eating more than 1 egg a day? Make the most of the protein by using one whole egg and keeping the rest to just the whites.
Eggs are a major source of choline, an important nutrient for brain development. Choline is used to build cell membranes and has a role in producing signaling molecules in the brain, along with various other functions. Americans do not currently consume enough choline in their diets.
This nutrient is especially important for consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is needed for development of the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Choline may also help protect against neural tube defects.
As a high protein food, eggs help to keep us feeling full. With only 76 calories, eggs are a healthy way to start the day. They also act as a fulfilling snack. Keep a few hard-boiled eggs in the fridge to grab next time you need a quick or portable snack. They are easy to eat and will hold you over until your next meal
Due to their high satiety, eggs can even help us to lose weight. A study published by the Rochester Center for Obesity Research found that participants who ate eggs for breakfast consumed more than 400 less calories during lunch than those who ate a bagel. Energy intake following the egg breakfast also remained lower throughout the day, as well as for the next 36 hours.
Many studies have researched the effect of egg consumption on disease rates, and results have shown a protective effect, especially in reducing the risks of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, eye disease and liver disease. Eggs also can function to keep the skin healthy and improve brain health.
Eggs can be consumed scrambled, poached, over easy, fried, hard-boiled or in omelet form. Whichever form you prefer, eggs can be prepared alone, or with some of your favorite foods. Try adding an ounce of shredded cheese and chopped veggies to a scramble or top avocado toast with a poached egg.
Breakfast for dinner? Shakshuka, a traditional baked eggs dish, combines spicy tomato sauce with runny yolks and feta cheese.
Feeling creative? Top a veggie pizza with a fried egg or make “egg in a hole” toast or avocado dishes.
To master the perfect homemade eggs check out this link: https://cooking.nytimes.com/guides/18-how-to-make-eggs
Eggs are an inexpensive, simple, delicious protein that contains a plethora of health benefits. Furthermore, they are easy to prepare and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even as a snack. Time to grab a bowl and get crackin’!
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