Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Food for Thought: the Awesome Egg!

April 21st, 2009 · 7 Comments · Science of Nutrition

About the Awesome Egg :: via Kitchen Stewardship

Are eggs healthy? Eggs have gotten a bad nutrition rap over the years.  People got afraid of the cholesterol in eggs, then their fat.  Egg white omelets are all the rage in “health food” circles.  (Click here to read about why I try to eat good food instead of not eating food.)  I’m here to tell you why eggs – whole eggs – are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat, and they’re not too bad on the budget, either! (top photo source)

Egg Nutrition Facts

Eggs will give you the following nutritional benefits:

  • Protein: 5.5 g (11% DV)
    • “97% digestible, practically a nutrition miracle, and its amino acids are superior in promoting growth and tissue health.” (source)
  • Fat – and more than half is UNsaturated
  • Good source of ALL vitamins except C, especially:
    • B complex
    • Fat-soluble vitamin A
    • Useable vitamin D (in the news currently – we don’t get enough vitamin D that our bodies can assimilate!)
    • Vitamin E
  • Good source of ALL necessary minerals, especially:
    • Iodine
    • Phosphorus
    • Zinc
    • Selenium
    • Calcium
  • Significant amounts of iron
  • Folate (pregnant women need lots!)
  • Choline – not found much elsewhere
  • lutein and zeaxanthin (antioxidants)
  • EPA and DHA (yes, the brain boosters found in breastmilk and mimicked in formula) – not as much in supermarket eggs as farm fresh

All those nutrients can improve your health:

  • Eyes (prevents leading cause of blindness)
  • Brain Development (unborn babies and other humans) and mental acuity
  • Thyroid health
  • Strong bones
  • Antioxidants (cancer-fighting)
  • Nerve function
  • Wound healing, fighting infection
  • Helps you feel fuller, longer
  • May be associated with a decrease in blood pressure
  • Contributes to heart health
  • May prevent breast cancer
  • Healthy hair and nails

Sources:  1 2 3 4 5 6 7

I just have to repeat the amazing parts of the egg:  Vitamin D is found in very few other natural food sources.  Americans are severely deficient in Vitamin D, especially in winter months.  Synthetic vitamin D, like that found in store milk, is not well utilized by our bodies.  Yay, eggs!  Choline is also found in very few other foods.  Read on for its benefits!

What is choline?

“One egg yolk has about 300 micrograms of choline. Choline is an important nutrient that helps regulate the brain, nervous system, and cardiovascular system.” (source)  Anyone out there care about their brains?  Nervous system?  Heart?  These are serious areas for egg help!  More than 90% of Americans are choline-deficient.  Yikes!  This is especially a big deal in pregnant women and young children, because choline builds brain health.  Two eggs provide about half the recommended daily supply of choline.  Three oz. of chicken, less than 1/6.  Eat more eggs!

Our brains are largely fat, and choline keeps the cell membranes there healthy. Who doesn’t need improved “mental acuity” (Nourishing Traditions)?

Choline also reduces inflammation “linked to a wide range of conditions including heart disease, osteoporosis, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s, and type-2 diabetes.”  Pairing eggs with spinach completes the duet needed to combat inflammation.  Here is how we do that in scrambled eggs.

Choline has improves overall heart health because it neutralizes homocysteine, a molecule that can damage blood vessels.  This keeps the cholesterol moving in the blood stream. Scared of the cholesterol in eggs (almost 2/3 of recommended daily value)?  See below for more.

Read here for lots more on choline.

Egg Yolks, too?

Oh, yes.  Yolks too.  Guess what’s found in the egg yolks?  Everything.  Egg whites only have half the protein of the egg and a little salt.  All the many bullet points under “nutrition” above are in the yolk. I don’t want to skip the yolks!  That means missing out on brain, heart, and nerve health!  Plus Vitamin D and all the other vitamins and minerals.  And don’t forget the taste.  Mmmm.

Eggs you can pour aren’t going to have all the benefits of eggs you can crack, by the way.  Anything with powdered egg may have oxidized cholesterol, something you don’t even want to know about!

Don’t Worry About the Cholesterol in Eggs

Why not?

  • First, dietary cholesterol (what you eat) only translates into about ¼ of your blood cholesterol.  The rest is made by your body because of other conditions.
  • Second, “saturated fat [and trans fats] in the diet, not dietary cholesterol, is what influences blood cholesterol levels the most.”
  • Third, recent research shows that egg consumption may improve overall cholesterol health.
  • Fourth, “A 2007 study of 9,500 people reported in Medical Science Monitor showed that eating one or more eggs a day did not increase the risk of heart disease or stroke among healthy adults, and that eating eggs may be associated with a decrease in blood pressure.” (source)

If you really want to worry about cholesterol in eggs, you can buy more expensive eggs.  I’ll explain more about how to decipher the packages in the grocery store later this week.

For now, eat more eggs! Multiple sources stated they are literally THE healthiest food available on our earth!

Monday Mission: Eat More Eggs!
Kids Make Potato Salad
Recipe Connections: Egg Ideas

An Easy Read: 10 Health Benefits of Eggs

Other Super Food Health Benefits:

Looking for other Food for Thought?

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7 Comments so far ↓

  • Sonia

    Katie I love your blog! It’s got me started on sooo many good and healthy meals! I have recipes that call for egg whites and I just hate to waste the yolk! I’m worried about screwing up the recipe though. Do you have to make any changes if you use the whole egg for recipes that call for just the egg whites? (ie. if it says 2 egg whites, use just 1 full egg? what if it says 1 egg white?) This is the big reason I haven’t just thrown the whole egg in! lol Please help if you can! :) Thanks!

    Katie Reply:

    Sonia,
    I would say that depends on the recipe. If it’s an egg dish that is calling for egg whites to be “healthy”, then I’m sure you could just keep the overall quantity of egg the same and use whole eggs. If it’s a cake or something that wants egg whites, you’re going to mess it up. ;) Egg yolks and whites have really different consistencies and actions. Yolks make great mayo, Caesar dressing, ice cream, and white are good for meringue, white cakes, glazes, etc. No need to waste either white or yolk – just find a recipe that calls for the other half OR have scrambled eggs with the extra yolks within a few days!

    Hope that helps! :) Katie

  • olivia

    I’ve got the opposite problem I have many recipes that only use the yolk. So I have about 10 egg white in the freezer waiting to be used! I only use them for maple syrup meringues at the moment. Need to find more ways to use them up.

    Katie Reply:

    Olivia,
    Coconut macaroons use 3-4, and you can use one to hold together granola bars and such. Often I just throw them into scrambled eggs so I don’t waste ‘em. Brush on bread or rolls for a fancy glaze. :) Katie

    olivia Reply:

    Thanks, I’ll try some of these :)

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I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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