Eggs have constantly been a part of our diets for ages, and they are known as the original superfood of mother nature. However, it is only now that we are learning the full extent of their nutritional values. With the evolution of science and our interest in health care, we are now discovering how beneficial they are in promoting lasting health benefits. Eggs contain 13 essential vitamins and minerals, which are an integral part of a healthy diet. They are also one of the best natural protein sources and help us be at our best every day.
The popularity of eggs is that India’s entire section of people is informally called ‘eggetarians’. They are primarily vegetarians who also consume eggs. The versatility an egg can bring to the table is mind-blowing. Be it scrambled or sunny side up, most people like to have their eggs a certain way. Eggs bring along enormous benefits.
This article will shed light on some of the advantages of consuming eggs and the nutritional benefits of eggs.
Nutritional Values of an Egg:
100 grams (approx. two large hard-boiled chicken eggs);
- Calories: 155 kcal
- Protein: 12.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 1.12 g
- Fat: 10.6 g
- Choline: 294 mg
- Vitamin D: 87 IU
- Cholesterol: 373 mg
Nutritional Facts of Eggs:
- A single large egg has only about 77 calories. It is a relatively small number when you consider the impressive nutrient profile.
- Eggs contain all the nine essential amino acids needed by the body. Therefore, they are a perfect source of natural lean protein with around 6 grams of protein per egg.
- The egg white and yolk are equally nutrient-rich. However, while the egg white has a significant portion of protein, the yolk contains the rest of the nutrients.
- Eggs are one of the few food items that can fuel the body with vitamin D.
- 100 grams of eggs contains 60% of the daily recommended value of choline.
- Similarly, they are rich in B vitamins. The amount of vitamin B12 and riboflavin constitute 46% and 42% of the daily recommended value. Pantothenic acid (B5) makes up 28 percent of it.
- Eggs also contain a significant amount of vitamin A (19% of DV) and vitamin E (7% of DV).
- The mineral profile of eggs constitutes a good mixture of phosphorous, zinc, iron, sodium, magnesium and potassium.
- Eggs are readily available and affordable. But the humble eggs are a powerhouse of nutrition.
Egg and Cholesterol
There is an ongoing debate about eggs. Can regular consumption lead to high cholesterol?
It is no surprise that high blood cholesterol can lead to complications. So naturally, people began to avoid eggs. But this is proved to be wrong. To understand why you need to de-villainise cholesterol first. Some cholesterol is necessary for the body to create hormones, bile acid and vitamin D. Hence, the body produces liver cholesterol. Beyond that, the foods we consume contribute to blood cholesterol.
The body functions smartly and compensates when one cholesterol becomes higher or lower, thereby regulating it. Therefore, eating eggs has very little to no effect on blood cholesterol levels. A healthy person can enjoy up to 7 eggs a week with no risks. One needs to reduce the consumption of saturated fats especially sides, to the egg like bacon, ham and sausages to prevent a spike in cholesterol levels.
Health Benefits of Including Eggs in Your Diet
1. It is an excellent source of protein
Protein is undeniably the most critical component of a diet. Eat an egg a day to help reach your optimal protein intake.
2. Reduces risk of heart diseases
Yes, the cholesterol in an egg can lower heart ailments. It is because studies prove that eggs increase HDL or good cholesterol in the body. Higher amounts of HDL means a lower probability of strokes and other diseases.
3. Provides choline to the body
Though choline is an underrated nutrient and not discussed much, we need it for brain development, prenatal health, and nerve function. The body does not produce sufficient amounts by itself. Fortunately, eggs are an excellent source of choline. Just two eggs can make up to more than half of the daily recommended value.
4. Improves eye health
Egg contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two powerful antioxidants that settle in the retina. They tend to counteract the effects of ageing of the eyes. The risk of cataracts and macular degeneration reduces significantly. The egg yolk contains most of these antioxidants.
5. Aids in weight loss
Since eggs are protein-dense, they can keep you full for longer hours. Also, in terms of satiety, eggs are one of the top-ranking foods. Therefore, consistently eating eggs will eventually lead to consuming overall lower calories, thereby aiding weight loss.
6. Promotes bone and teeth health
Phosphorous in eggs is crucial for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. Also, eggs are one of the few food items that contain vitamin D. This vitamin further enhances the absorption of calcium and phosphorous in the body.
7. Contains healthy fats
The yolk of an egg contains healthy fats and several fat-soluble nutrients. Therefore, you can safely eat one yolk a day to ensure all the nutrients are absorbed in the body.
Egg Bhurji Recipe
An Egg Bhurji is a classic Indian version of scrambled eggs. It goes beautifully with roti, rice or bread.
- Eggs – 2 large
- Onion – 1
- Coriander leaves – 2 tbsp
- Green chilli – 1
- Tomato or capsicum – 1 (optional)
- Ghee (homemade is preferable) – ½ tsp
- Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
- Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
- Garam masala – 1 tsp
- Red chilli powder – ½ tsp
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- Salt – to taste
- Crack the eggs in a bowl and add salt and turmeric to them. Beat the mixture well and set it aside.
- Heat a pan with ghee and add cumin seeds.
- Add chopped onions and green chilli to the pan and sauté till golden colour.
- Next, add the ginger-garlic paste and cook until the raw smell goes away.
- If you include tomatoes or capsicum, add it at this step.
- Pour in the egg mixture and lower the heat.
- Stir continuously while gently scrambling the eggs.
- Add in the garam masala and red chilli powder when the eggs are almost cooked.
- Mix the spices well into the egg and garnish with coriander leaves.
- Adjust the quantity of salt or spices if needed.
Tips to Remember When Consuming Eggs
- The best way to add eggs to your diet is by boiling or poaching them. Hard-boiled eggs are the healthiest option. Add a dash of salt and pepper, and you get a nourishing dish. While making scrambled eggs, minimise the amount of salt and butter used. Substituting butter with ghee can improve nutritional value.
- Although fried eggs are tasty to eat, they can increase the fat by up to 50 per cent.
- Avoid eating raw eggs or dishes that include uncooked eggs. Uncooked eggs carry the risk of salmonella infection. It is more prevalent in children, pregnant women and older people.
- There is a high probability that eggshells have bacteria on them. Hence, remember to maintain hygiene when handling eggs. Also, do not consume eggs with broken shells as they may be infected.
- For healthier varieties, look for omega3 infused eggs. You get them from hens brought up on special feed that increases the quality of these eggs. However, their prices may be significantly higher than the regular variety.
- Ensure to follow the best-before date given on the packaging. Since the eggshells are porous, always store them in cartons to avoid absorbing unnecessary odour.
- To check if an egg has gone bad, simply fill a bowl with cold tap water and place your eggs in it. If they sink to the bottom and lay flat on one side, they are fresh and good to eat. A bad egg will float because of the large air cell that forms at its base.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
A. Egg whites are rich in protein and low in cholesterol. Hence, egg whites are better in some ways for those who need to watch their diet. But the yolk of the egg contains some essential vitamins, minerals and healthy fats necessary for the body. So, for a well-rounded nutritional diet, eat whole eggs. However, if you have a high risk of cholesterol or heart ailments, opt for egg whites alone.
A. Yes, eggs are entirely safe to consume when pregnant. But, most importantly, ensure that you eat fully cooked eggs. Avoid any dishes that have uncooked or semi-cooked eggs in them. It is because pregnant women are more prone to salmonella infection. But, apart from that, eggs are indeed an excellent choice to meet the nutritional requirements of pregnancy.
A. Brown and white eggs have similar nutrients, and their health benefits are not dependent on their shell colour. Other factors, such as the hen’s diet, can influence egg nutrition. Some producers enrich their hens’ diet with vitamins, omega-3, and other nutrients, which can lead to more nutrient-rich eggs. Farming conditions and production methods can affect the overall colour of the eggshell. People may want to choose eggs from hens that have less stress and more freedom to roam.
A. In India, mostly we do not sterilise eggs. Also, the risk of salmonella infection is much lower since the hens are mostly unfertilised. So, it is not necessary to keep eggs in the fridge if you consume them within a week. However, to increase the shelf life of eggs, it is best to store them in the refrigerator.
A. Yes, adequately cooked eggs with blood spots are harmless. The hen’s ovaries contain many tiny blood vessels. Sometimes, they rupture and attach to the yolk. Though it is infrequent, it is possible to find eggs with blood spots occasionally. To avoid doubt, you can discard the portion containing the blood.