By- Meena Ganagani,Practicing Clinical Nutritionist,Mumbai.
Eggs are a very good source of inexpensive, high-quality protein. More than half the protein of an egg is found in the egg white, which also includes vitamin B2 and lower amounts of fat than the yolk. Eggs are rich sources of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper. Egg yolks contain more calories and fat than the whites. They are a source of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and lecithin, the compound that enables emulsification in recipes such as hollandaise or mayonnaise.
Both the white and yolk of an egg are rich in nutrients, including proteins, vitamins and minerals. The yolk also contains cholesterol, fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamins D and E) and essential fatty acids. Eggs are also an important and versatile ingredient for cooking, as their particular chemical make-up is literally the glue of many important baking reactions. (1)
Are eggs good for you?
Without a doubt, there are a multitude of benefits to eating eggs every day. Not only do eggs provide high quality protein, they also contain 11 vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. And this means they can make a valuable contribution to daily nutrient requirements. Most of the protein in an egg can be found in the egg white, while the yolk contains healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. (2)
- Strong muscles: The protein in eggs helps maintain and repair body tissues, including muscle.
- Brain health: Eggs contain vitamins and minerals that are necessary for the brain and the nervous system to function effectively.
- Energy production: Eggs contain all the nutrients that the body needs to produce energy.
- A healthy immune system: The vitamin A, vitamin B-12, and selenium in eggs are key to keeping the immune system healthy.
- Lower risk of heart disease: The choline in eggs plays an important part in breaking down the amino acid homocysteine, which may contribute to heart disease.
- A healthy pregnancy: Eggs contain folic acid, which may help prevent congenital disabilities, such as spina bifida.
- Eye health: The lutein and zeaxanthin in eggs help prevent macular degeneration, the leading cause of age-related blindness. Other vitamins in eggs also promote good vision.
- Weight loss and maintenance: The protein in eggs can help people feel full for longer. This can reduce the urge to snack and lower a person’s overall calorie intake.
- Skin health: Some vitamins and minerals in eggs help promote healthy skin and prevent the breakdown of body tissues. A strong immune system also helps a person look and feel well.
To experience the health benefits of eggs, a person should eat them as part of a balanced diet. (3)
Not All Eggs Are the Same
It is important to keep in mind that not all eggs are created equal.
Hens are often raised in factories, caged and fed grain-based feed that alters the final nutrient composition of their eggs. It is best to buy omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs, which are more nutritious and healthier. However, conventional supermarket eggs are still a good choice if you can’t afford or access the others. (4)