Eggs. You can’t beat em.
Well you can, physically, with a fork or whisk. But metaphorically, as a source of nutrition, it’s hard to find a better food with as good a nutritional profile as eggs.
They have it all. Protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, versatility, convenience, affordability and taste.
Eggs are a great source of protein and fat, both of which are necessary in our daily diet for optimum health. Without enough protein in our diet, our bodies would cease to function.
Protein is the basic building blocks of our bodies, so it is essential that we get adequate amounts daily in our diet. Not only for building and repairing muscles in the gym, but also to grow strong hair and nails, to produce hormones, brain chemicals and antibodies to help fight infection.
How much protein we need in our daily diet depends on a few factors. Mainly body size and activity level. Adult protein requirements in Ireland for a moderately active man weighing 70kg is 70g daily, and for a moderately active woman weighing 55kg is 55g daily.
However, these RDAs are quite conservative, and if you are more active person and especially if you have a body composition goal (to build muscle and/or lose body fat) then you should be aiming to eat up to 50% more protein than these recommendations.
On average, a large egg contains 6g of protein. So for example, a three egg omelette 3 would provide nearly 33% of the RDA for a less active woman.
Not only is it protein dense, egg protein is of very high quality and is pretty much the perfect protein source.
Contrary to popular belief, half of the protein content of the egg is in the yolk and the other half in the white of the egg. So if you throw out the yolk then you are also throwing out half of the protein.
The other essential macronutrient in the yolk is fat. All of the fat is contained in the yolk. Hence the reason why disposing of the yolk is popular among those following a low fat diet or those who prefer to their get their fats elsewhere, such as out of a tub of nut butter!
The fat in the yolk of an egg is a combination of saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, which include heart healthy omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. All three types of fats should be included in a healthy balanced diet.
Consuming sufficient omega-3 essential fatty acids in our diet is well known to reduce risk of heart disease as well as playing a vital role in our brain health, with low intakes being linked to depression.
Omega-3 literally oils the brain and helps mood-elevating neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, move freely between brain cells so they can do their job.
Pasteur reared eggs and omega-3 enriched eggs contain a significant higher amount of fatty acids. However, the designer eggs also come with a designer price tag, so it is still recommended to get sources of omega-3 elsewhere in your diet from oily fish such as salmon, walnuts, brazil nuts, and flaxseeds.
Not only does the yolk contain heart healthy omega-3 fats, the yolk is also the power house of the egg and contains most of the eggs essential micronutrients.
Eggs are incredibly nutritious. If you think about it, a single egg contains all the nutrients needed to make a baby chick (don't overthink that one, bleugh). A single egg contains the following RDAs:
• Vitamin A, 5%
• Vitamin B2, 14%
• Folate, 6%
• Vitamin B12, 11%
• Vitamin B5, 7%
• Phosphorus, 10%
• Selenium, 23%
And a decent amounts of Vitamin D, E, K, B6, Calcium, Zinc and Iron.
All of the above essential micronutrients are required daily in our diet to fight disease and to obtain best health. Eggs also contain other nutrients such as lutein, zeaxanthin and choline, which can help reduce the risk of age-related blindness and enhance brain and development function in children.
If the egg is such a power house of nutrients then why has eating too many eggs got such a rotten rep and why is there a recommended limit on their consumption?
Back in the 1960s, science suggested that the dietary cholesterol in eggs directly contributed to high blood cholesterol, which is not deemed to be a good thing.
However, this research was based on diabetic patients.
This misinformation somehow got scrambled over the years and current dietary guidelines have not been updated to reflect the latest research.
In healthy people, who consume a healthy balanced diet, dietary cholesterol is NOT directly linked to coronary heart disease.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no upper limit on the amount of eggs we should consume in our diet to prevent cholesterol. In a healthy individual who eats a healthy well balanced diet, there is no evidence to suggest that anything up to 6 eggs a day does any harm.
To sum it up, eggs are a high-quality source of protein, fats, micronutrients, and are possibly the most nutritious food on the planet.
How do you take yours?
Thanks for reading,