Health benefits of eggs
Eggs are delicious – they can be scrambled, boiled, fried and poached on their own or used as ingredients in a large variety of dishes. The translucent part (also know as the “white”) & yolks of eggs are loaded with nutrients and because of this they are considered a superfood. Many of the eggs eaten by people come from chickens, however duck, quail and even ostrich eggs are consumed around the world.
A large egg contains:
Protein: 6 g
Carbohydrate: 0.4 g
Fat: 4.8 g
Cholesterol: 180 mg
Below are some of the main benefits of eggs.
1. Have a high protein content
Protein is used in the body to build & repair muscles tissues and is made up of amino acids of which there are twenty. Nine out of these twenty are know as essential amino acids because the body is unable to produce them and so they need to be obtained from the diet. Eggs contain all the essential amino acids so by consuming them your protein requirements are met. Adults require between 45 and 60 grams of protein per day; a large egg contains roughly 6 grams of protein, its quality being rated better than that obtained from milk, fish and meat. Consuming 3 eggs would therefore cover around 30 – 40% of your daily protein requirements.
2. Can help reduce weight
The Satiety Index is a scale used to measure how full a certain type of food makes you and is based on white bread having a ranking of 100.
Eggs have a ranking of 150 and therefore keep you fuller for longer (due to their high protein content) than other breakfast food choices such as croissants (47), muesli (100) and cornflakes (118). They also have a very low sugar content.
Various studies have been undertaken where people who used to consume primarily carbohydrate based breakfasts began to include protein in the form of eggs and this resulted in noticeable weight loss because they ended up eating up to 400 calories less per day.
3. They are packed with nutrients
Apart from protein, eggs are full of nutrients and because of this are considered one of the most nutritious foods anyone can eat. They (especially the yolk) contain:
- Vitamins A, B2, B5, B6, B12, D, E & K
- Iron (haem form), zinc, calcium, folate and phosphorus.
- Some contain Omega-3
Having a diet which includes eggs means you are less likely to suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies since most of the nutrients your body needs to function optimally are accounted for. This results in strong bones, health hair & nails and a better immune system.
4. They do not increase blood cholesterol
Many people are worried that eating eggs will raise their LDL (the bad kind) cholesterol, however this is usually not the case. Yes, eggs are rich in cholesterol (containing around 65% of your RDA) but it is saturated fat that is mainly to blame for high blood cholesterol, not cholesterol obtained from diet. Consuming eggs will not raise cholesterol levels of most people.
According to research documented by Authority Nutrition, eggs can actually raise HDL (the good kind) cholesterol levels and turn LDL cholesterol from small into large form, which reduces your risk of heart disease.
Most of the cholesterol in eggs is found in the yolk so if you would feel more at peace, leave it out and consume the white part only. Many supermarkets sell egg whites on their own in cartons for this specific reason.
5. Eggs promote better eye sight
As you get older your eyesight worsens which results in all kinds of issues from cataracts to blindness. Eggs contain the antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthine which maintain good eye health. These antioxidants lower the chances of suffering from a cataract and retinal degeneration. Eggs also contain large quantities of Vitamin A – lack of Vitamin A is the largest known cause of blindness.
6. Beautiful skin
Egg whites are an excellent ingredient for homemade face masks as they can help to tighten and tone your skin. Using a face mask containing egg whites once or twice a week will help shrink pores and this gets rid of excess sebum (which makes your skin oily and therefore more prone to spots). Egg whites also contain lysozome, an enzyme that destroys the cell walls of acne causing bacteria. The high protein content helps repair damaged skin cells and promotes the growth of healthy new cells. A face mask containing 1 egg white, a squeeze of lemon and a few drops of honey will do wonders to your skin.
7. Improved brain function
Choline is an important nutrient which promotes the development of the brain from a young age and has an effect on memory, even in adults. Pregnant women need constant supplies of choline, since reserves in their body get depleted so they should aim to include eggs in their diet.
How should I consume eggs?
Where possible, you should opt for organic & free range eggs as these provide the best nutrition. If you are able to get Omega-3 enriched eggs then go for these as they come with added benefits.
Always make sure to thoroughly cook eggs to reduce the chances of salmonella surviving. Also, try avoid cooking them in oil and butter; instead opt for boiled or poached eggs. You can also enjoy them in an omelet with mixed vegetables or in the form of huevos rancheros, a health mexican recipe.
You can consume 2 – 3 eggs per day without any health related issues. However as mentioned above, if you are concerned about cholesterol then only consume the egg whites.