Never underestimate the power of the all-mighty egg
They are small but when it comes to nutritional value eggs should not be underestimated. Eggs are relatively inexpensive giving you a big bang for your buck, they can be prepared in a variety of ways, even eaten raw and they are delicious (not so much the raw ones but the cooked ones taste great). Just one or two eggs a day is a great addition to a healthful diet.
What makes eggs so great?
Eggs are considered to be an excellent source of quality protein. Protein quality is determined by its amino acid profile and how easily it can be digested. We digest almost 100% of the protein in eggs!
By comparison, we absorb only about 75% – 80% of the protein in fish, chicken, and beef, and about 50% of the protein in beans.
Eggs also contain all 9 essential amino acids! These amino acids are essential because our bodies cannot make them and they are required to support normal body functioning. Therefore, these 9 essential amino acids must be supplied by food.
Just 2 medium sized eggs will give you 20 grams of protein. Considering that the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for protein is 0.36g per lb. of body weight for a sedentary woman, 20 g from just 2 eggs is pretty good. Try this calculator for recommendations on your RDI for protein and other daily nutritional needs.
You Can Ditch the Outdated Advice on Cholesterol
There has been concern about the amount of cholesterol in eggs and their link to cardiovascular disease, however, recent studies show that cholesterol should be viewed differently as it relates to cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that the consumption of up to 3 eggs per day in healthy individuals actually results in raising HDL (1) and lowering LDL, improves both HDL and LDL function and raises antioxidant levels (2), and consuming up 2 eggs per day instead of eating an oatmeal breakfast has no adverse effects on cardiovascular disease risk (3). There are no studies that specifically link cholesterol in eggs and risk of cardiovascular disease. However, you should note that people at risk of cardiovascular disease and those who have Type 2 Diabetes should limit cholesterol intake.
Eating eggs supports weight loss – Due to the low carbohydrate content but high protein and fat content, eating eggs leads to more satiety than say eating cereal. More satiety translates into less desire to eat more food.
Don’t ditch the yolk – The egg yolk contains most of the nutrients.
Amino Acids – A whole egg contains all 9 essential amino acids.
Choline – Eggs are a good source of choline. Choline is a B-complex vitamin that is necessary for supporting nerve function, brain development, liver and metabolic functions.
Choline makes acetylcholine which is required for brain and nerve function, and liver function
Choline is necessary for liver detoxification
Choline helps the liver to metabolize fats properly.
The RDA for choline is 425 mg per day for women and 550 mg per day for men. 1 medium egg provides approximately 126 mg of choline. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, the only worthy rivals to a medium egg would be 3 ounces of liver or 1 cup of toasted wheat germ.
Organic and free range eggs contain more EFAs – According to Udo Erasmus in his book “Fats that Heal and Fats that Kill”, eggs from chickens that are allowed to forage their own food contain more EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids); the yolk of the eggs contain more EFAs compared to man-made EFA-poor chicken feed.
Raw or cooked – The nutrient content in raw and cooked eggs is the same, however, there are variations in nutrient absorption. A study showed that about 50% of the protein in a raw egg is absorbed vs. about 91% in a cooked egg (4). But, when heat is applied to most food there is some loss of vitamins and minerals so there seems to be a trade-off. Your choice would be based on which nutrients are more important to you. There is also a very small risk of raw eggs containing salmonella.
Nutrition Facts (1 Medium (50g) boiled egg):
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calories needs.
Egg Sizes (standard minimum requirement) – Jumbo – 70g, Extra Large – 63g, Large – 56g, Medium – 49g
Conventional Egg Farming
Battery Cages are used in conventional egg farming. Battery cages are rows of tight confined wire cages that are identical in size. Up to 10 hens live in each of these cages spending almost their entire lives in them. Each hen gets about 67-76 sq. inches of space in these wired cages. The hens barely have space to move…they cannot expand their wings. According to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), the hens are so tightly packed together they are forced to defecate and urinate on one another. This creates a stench of ammonia and feces and thereby an environment that fosters diseases.
“The light in the sheds is constantly manipulated to maximize egg production. For two weeks at a time, the hens are fed only reduced-calorie feed. This process induces an extra laying cycle.
Male chicks are worthless to the egg industry, so every year, millions of them are suffocated or thrown into high-speed grinders, called “macerators,” while they are still alive.”
Source: The Egg Industry, April 11, 2017, http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/factory-farming/chickens/egg-industry/
I won’t add any more about the cruelty that hens endure but if you would like to know more…and you should, check out the farmsanctuary.org for more information.
Omega-3 Enriched – A source of Omega-3, usually flaxseed, is added to the chicken feed. I would opt out on paying the extra price for this one because you can get your omega-3 from other sources like wild fish, flaxseed oil/ground flaxseed, chia seeds, walnut oil, spinach, etc.
Brown vs. White – Makes no difference. The genes of the chicken determine the colour of the egg but there is no difference in nutritional content.
Your best choice:
# 1 Certified Organic Eggs
# 2 Free Range Eggs
# 3 Cage Free
Brown or White options – Makes no difference
Omega-3 Enriched – Don’t bother
Conventionally farmed eggs – Don’t even consider this one unless you have absolutely no other option.
Test for freshness – fill a container with cold water and place the egg in it. If the egg floats to the surface of the water it is stale. If it sinks to the bottom and lays on its side it is very fresh. If it sinks to the bottom and stands on one end/upright it’s still okay to eat but you should eat it very soon.
Check out the Food Network for good instructions on how to make boiled eggs just the way you like ’em.
How to tell if an egg is raw or hard-cooked – Spin it. If it spins easily it’s hard-cooked and if it wobbles it is raw.
Eggs are great! They are packed with nutrition. Choose certified organic eggs if you can. Organic is healthier for you and the hens laying the eggs you want to eat; it’s the humane thing to support.
Live healthy, be happy!
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