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Egg Nutrition

In recent years there have been many studies done on the egg--nutrition experts decried it for its cholesterol content and advised that eggs not be included in a healthy diet except in very small amounts. Now, these health experts are rethinking the nutritional value of eggs and acknowledging that eggs have a lot more valuable nutrients than they originally thought.  In fact, there is almost a complete reversal on the value of egg nutrition. There is, in fact, no evidence that eating eggs every day has any negative impact on cholesterol or your risk of heart disease.

Eggs have so many nutrients that they have a positive effect on your health. That doesn’t mean you should go crazy and start eating them a dozen at a time, but it does mean that including one or two eggs a day in your diet can have many benefits. Eggs have the maximum level of high quality protein available plus they have just about every vitamin  and mineral essential to human health. They are full of various B vitamins plus vitamins A and D. Egg yolks have large amounts of vitamin B12, riboflavin, and choline, which helps in the brain development of fetuses and may have benefits in preventing memory decline as we age.

Eggs contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are in the carotenoid family (same as beta-carotene). These two substances help eyes stay healthy and are being studied for their benefits in preventing macular degeneration. Lutein is also available in some vegetables but the form it takes in eggs is better able to be used by the human body. Sometimes eggs also contain omega-3 fats, which are known as the “good fats,” though it is dependent on what diet chickens are fed as to whether their eggs contain these fats or not. The term “pastured eggs” is used to describe these kinds of eggs.

Eggs are the best source of high quality protein available with 6 grams in every egg. This protein is found not only in the egg whites but in the yolk as well. Proteins are known as the building blocks of muscle plus they contain the amino acids essential to keep our organs operating efficiently and at an optimum level. An egg has 5 grams of fat--1.5 grams saturated and 2 grams monounsaturated, and one half of one gram of carbohydrate. Eggs have no trans fats. Contrary to popular belief, eggs can be an integral ingredient in a low-saturated fat diet. You can keep the fat down even more by preparing your pan with cooking spray, olive or canola oil, and combining eggs with meals high in vegetables, fruits and complex carbohydrates.

One egg contains 72 calories with folate, iron and zinc in addition to the protein, choline and other vitamins already mentioned. With 212 mg cholesterol, an egg falls into the range of cholesterol recommended by the Dietary Guidelines of the American Heart Association for 300 mg or less of cholesterol a day. Not only that, it has been found that eggs do not contribute to artery hardening or heart disease--instead, eggs increase our lipid levels or “good cholesterol.”

According to the USDA Nutrient Content of Food Report, eggs provide a much greater percentage of nutrients to the diet than they do calories. Eggs have only 1.3% of our calorie intake, but they provide 6% riboflavin, 5% folate, 4% vitamins E, A, and protein. This means eggs can be called nutrient-dense and that egg nutrition should be a essential component of a healthy diet.


 

 


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