Top Health Benefits of Eating Eggs
Eggs have been eaten by humans for thousands of years. The female animals of many different species produce eggs, but by far the most common choice for consumption is the egg of the chicken.Eggs are one of the few foods that should be classified as "superfoods."
Both the white and yolk of an egg are rich in nutrients - proteins, vitamins and minerals with the yolk also containing cholesterol, fat soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids. Eggs are an important and versatile ingredient for cooking, as their particular chemical make up is literally the glue of many important baking reactions.
Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet.
A whole egg contains all the nutrients required to turn a single cell into a baby chicken.
A single large boiled egg contains (1):
- Vitamin A: 6% of the RDA
- Vitamin B5: 7% of the RDA
- Phosphorus: 9% of the RDA
- Folate: 5% of the RDA
- Vitamin B12: 9% of the RDA
- Vitamin B2: 15% of the RDA
- Selenium: 22% of the RDA
- Eggs also contain decent amounts of vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B6, calcium and zinc.
This comes with 77 calories, 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of healthy fats.
There are several health benefits that can be derived from eggs,
- Strong muscles: The protein within eggs helps keep muscles working well while slowing the rate at which they are lost.
- Skin benefits: Some vitamins and minerals within eggs help promote healthy skin and prevent the breakdown of body tissues. A strong immune system also contributes to a healthy look overall.
- Eyesight: Lutein and zeaxanthin help to prevent macular degeneration, the leading cause of age-related blindness. Other vitamins also promote good vision.
- Brain health: Eggs contain vitamins and minerals that are needed for the regular functioning of cells, including the brain, nervous system, memory, and metabolism.
- Weight loss and maintenance: The high quality of protein within eggs might help keep people energized and feeling fuller for longer. Feeling full prevents snacking, which reduces overall calorie intake.
- Good energy production: Eggs contain all the daily vitamins and minerals that are needed to produce energy in all the cells of the body.
- Lower risk of heart disease: Choline plays an important part in breaking down the amino acid homocysteine, which is associated with the development of heart disease.
- A healthy immune system: Vitamin A, vitamin B-12, and selenium are key to keeping the immune system healthy.
- Healthful pregnancy: Some nutrients within eggs help to prevent congenital disabilities, such as spina bifida.
They Help Your 'Good' Cholesterol
This “good” cholesterol, called HDL, seems to go up in people who have three or more eggs a day. Of course, LDL, the “bad” type, goes up, too. But the individual pieces of each get bigger. That makes it harder for the bad stuff to hurt you and easier for the good stuff to clear it away.
They Can Lower Your Triglycerides
Your doctor tests you for these along with HDL and LDL. Lower triglycerides are better for your health. Eating eggs, especially those enriched with certain fatty acids (like omega-3s), seems to bring down your levels.
A Valuable Source of Choline
Choline is a macronutrient that is essential for several important physiological functions including neurological development, nerve function, muscle control and metabolism. You don’t see choline listed on any nutritional labels, and many of us are unaware of the important benefits of this nutrient. No need to worry however, because the egg has your back.
Eggs are one the richest dietary sources of choline. One medium sized egg contains approximately 100 mg of choline. There are no strict daily intake guidelines for choline, however it is recommended that women take in 425-500 mg of choline daily, unless they are pregnant or nursing, it which case it is slightly more. Adult men are advised to take in approximately 550 mg daily. One egg a day gets you well on your way to that goal.
Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer
Dietary modifications are a well-respected means of reducing your overall risk of developing cancer. Most anti-cancer diet are rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. You can increase the effectiveness of your preventative diet by adding eggs on a regular basis. Case studies show that the choline found in egg yolks to be associated with a reduced overall risk of breast cancer. Additionally, other studies show that women who consume two or fewer eggs per week have a slightly elevated overall risk of developing the disease.
How to select and store
Choose eggs from free-range or organically raised chickens. Eggs should always be visually inspected before buying. It is best to check for cracks or liquid in the box to ensure there are no broken ones. Eggs are best stored in the refrigerator where they may remain for up to one month (check the best-before-date on the box). Eggs with higher omega-3 fatty acid content are best eaten as early as possible to keep these oils fresh.
The following possible health risks are associated with the consumption of eggs:
- Bacteria: People are advised to avoid eating raw or undercooked eggs. Bacteria can enter the egg through pores in the shells. In the U.S., all eggs graded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are washed with a sanitizing rinse during the screening stage at a processing plant.
- Pasteurization: In the U.S., egg products are also required by law to undergo a process called pasteurization. During this process, eggs are rapidly heated and kept at a high temperature for a period of time to kill off any Salmonella bacteria.
- Storage and cooking: Eggs should be avoided if their shells are cracked or if they are past expiration date.
Most advisory bodies recommend that eggs are stored in the refrigerator. The USDA state that if eggs are left out at room temperature they can sweat, making it easier for bacteria to move into the egg and grow. When cooking eggs properly, they must be cooked thoroughly until the yolks are firm. Scrambled eggs, for example, should not be runny.