Health & Nutrition

A Dozen Reasons to Eat Eggs

posted on : 11 Feb 2014
These little numbers have a sunny side after all. Once cruelly banished because of their high cholesterol content, eggs have scrambled back onto our plates. Apparently, news has spread that eggs contain nearly 25 per cent less cholesterol than was previously thought. Plus, scientists now know that cholesterol-containing foods normally don’t raise heart disease risk in healthy people. Here are 12 more reasons to egg yourself on:

You’ll see a brighter future. You absorb more lutein (which may prevent macular degeneration or age-related blindness) from eggs than from veggies, research from Tufts University in Boston finds.

 Eggs have protein power. Two deliver 25 per cent of your day’s needs. (The white has more than the yolk.) That’s one protein portion on the Food Guide pyramid. The yolk rivals a multivitamin. It has ample amounts of the vitamins A and D, as well as folate and calcium.

 They’ll help solve your energy crisis. One egg contains 22 per cent of the RDA for riboflavin, which turns food into energy.

 You get build-in calorie control. Two boiled eggs have only 150 calories.

 Eggs build brains. Moms-to-be take in more than half a day’s worth of choline from one egg – choline helps fetal brain growth.

They cut your losses. Eggs are rich in vitamin K, key for blood clotting, says Gail Frank, R.D., of Long Beach, California, a spokes-women for the American Dietetic Association.

They’re fish out of water. You can get heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids from eggs as well as from seafood. Some eggs have up to 350 milligrams each – as much as 30gms of sardine.

 You won’t harden your heart. Of the 4.5 grams of fat in a yolk, less than 2 are saturated. To keep overall fat down, stick to a one-yolk omelette; fill it out with whites and healthy add-ins — leafy greens, carrots, peas.

 They’re safer than you might think.  Cooking the white and yolk until firm to destroy any possibility of salmonella poisoning.

They’re cheaper than meat. Thirty rupees will buy you about 100gm mutton which, after cooking, will reduce to 50gm. For the same money you can have half dozen eggs.

Eggs are an all-day option. Try this healthy fried rice recipe for dinner: Heat ½ tsp oil in a non-stick pan. Beat in 3 whites and 1 whole egg. Once thickened, remove. In the same pan heat ½ tsp oil add 3 cups cooked brown rice and 2 tbsp soy sauce; stir-fry 2 minutes. Stir in eggs and ½ cup each of diced bell peppers (capsicum) and cooked peas. Stir-fry 2 minutes.
 
For the last 50 years, health authorities have widely cautioned us against eating eggs. It was thought that their high cholesterol content would raise blood cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease.

But such fears were not based on much actual science. In fact, dietary cholesterol has relatively little effect on blood cholesterol in most people (saturated and trans fats are the bigger culprits). And more recent research has largely exonerated eggs and even suggested that they may provide some heart benefits.

For instance, in a study from the University of Connecticut, 40 middle-aged people with coronary risk factors ate either three eggs or cholesterol-free egg substitute daily, while also restricting carbohydrates. After 12 weeks, total and LDL (“bad”) blood cholesterol did not change in either group. Moreover, though both groups showed improvements in a range of cholesterol-related factors due to the carbohydrate restriction, the egg eaters had a greater boost in HDL (“good”) cholesterol as well as increases in the size of both HDL and LDL particles (bigger is better), which was attributed, at least in part, to compounds in eggs called phospholipids.
Because the study – which was funded by the American Egg Board – lasted only a few months, the long-term effects of eating so many eggs are still unknown, however.

Another study in BMJ found no relationship between eggs (one a day) and heart disease or stroke.

An exception: Eggs may increase heart disease risk in people with diabetes.

Bottom line: Eggs are an excellent and relatively inexpensive source of protein and also provide vitamins A and D, some B vitamins, iron, zinc, and other healthful substances, including choline and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.

For most people, eating an egg a day, on average – or perhaps more – has no ill effects. It may even be beneficial.

Eggcentricities

Most people wrongly believe dietary cholesterol raises blood cholesterol. (In fact, saturated fat raises it.)

Now that you know how to eat eggs safely, here are some lighter tidbits about them:

Shell colour is determined by the breed of the chicken. Brown eggs are not more nutritious than white. Some chickens lay blue and green eggs.

The colour of the yolk depends on what the chicken ate: Wheat and barley produce a light yolk, corn a medium-yellow yolk, and marigold petals, a deep yellow. Darker yellow yolks often have more carotenoids.

A blood spot indicates that a small blood vessel on the yolk’s surface broke while the egg was forming. It does not mean the egg is fertile. It is harmless, but you can remove it with the tip of a knife.

A cloudy albumen (white) indicates a very fresh egg. It’s due to carbon dioxide inside the egg that has not yet escaped.

Another sign of freshness – the stringy white strands inside some eggs, called chalazae. They keep the yolk centered in the albumen and lessen over time. It’s okay to eat them.

A gray-green tinge around a hard-boiled egg yolk is caused by a reaction of iron and sulfur compounds. It’s harmless but means the egg was cooked too long or not cooled quickly. Eggs scrambled at too high a temperature or sitting too long on a steam table may also turn a harmless green.    

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