Eggs have been black listed for many centuries... But years of research has finally put eggs back at their rightful place on our plates…
Big nourishment in a small package
Eggs have been a valuable part of the human diet since pre-historic times. They are widely used in many types of dishes including sweet and savoury. Eggs supply protein and various important nutrients to the human body. One large egg contains about 314 kilojoules and 4.5 grams of total fat, including 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat and 2 grams of monounsaturated fat. Eggs contain at least 13 vitamins and minerals. Today, eggs are recognized not for their cholesterol content, which has been shown not to be a risk factor for heart disease, but rather for its numerous contributions to health.
Eggs and heart disease
In contrary to popular belief, eggs do not normally raise blood cholesterol levels. Studies indicate that eating one or more eggs a day, as part of a well balanced diet, has little effect on blood (plasma) cholesterol levels and does 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.
Extensive studies done by Dr. Donald J. McNamara has also shown that there is no difference in relative heart disease risk between individuals consuming one egg a week and those consuming one egg a day . The evidence to date indicates that egg intake is not independently related to heart disease risk, and has resulted in most countries not including a dietary cholesterol restriction for eggs in their dietary guidelines.
The Heart Foundation (Australia) recommends that all Australians can consume up to six eggs a week, in a healthy, balanced diet low in saturated fat, without increasing their risk of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). The Heart Foundation (South Africa) recommends that those at risk (individuals with a family history of heart disease and those suffering from diabetes or heart disease) should not consume more than 200 mg cholesterol daily and therefore 3 to 4 eggs per week – but those without risk can happily enjoy 1 egg daily provided that their diets are well balanced and otherwise low in cholesterol.
Health benefits of eggs
Eggs can help you lose weight
Egg is a high biological protein source – this means it contains all the essential amino-acids required by the human body. These amino-acids boost satiety and may therefore enhance weight control while maintaining muscle mass during weight loss.
Research has also shown that eggs have a high satiety index – by including eggs at breakfast, subjects consumed less calories at lunch time which led to better adherence to their diet and subsequently weight loss over time.
Eggs may enhance memory
Eggs are an excellent source of choline, which is found in the yolk of the egg. Choline enhances brain and nerve function and supports the liver’s overall function. It also boosts the function of the pancreas, kidneys and bladder. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine noted choline's importance in 1998 and categorized it as a vital nutrient although studies show that less than 10% of the world’s population consumes the recommended Adequate Intake (AI) for choline.
Eggs protect your eyesight
Lutein and zeaxanthin are two important antioxidants found in egg yolk. When consumed, they concentrate in the macula of the eye and protect against age related macular degeneration due to exposure to ultra-violet light. Researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Nutrition Research Centre reviewed research and found that zeaxanthin-rich foods such as egg yolks, spinach and broccoli are associated with a 20 percent reduction in risk for age-related macular degeneration and a 40 percent reduction in risk for cataracts.
Eggs keeps your teeth and bones strong
Eggs contain vitamin D, phosphorous and calcium important for healthy bones, teeth and cell membranes.
Eggs are high in nutrients and low in calories
Two large eggs provide 630 kJ which is 7.5% of an 8400 kJ diet, yet it provides a variety of essential nutrients in percentages of the requirements greater than the energy contribution. Eggs are an especially valuable source of choline, riboflavin, selenium, and high quality complete protein with a high content of essential amino acids, as well as moderate amounts of vitamin B12, phosphorous, potassium, vitamin A & E and folate. Restricting eggs in the diet has no known health benefit but could contribute to a number of negative health consequences…An egg a day is now more than okay!
Make sure you handle eggs with care. Store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them — and don't forget to cook them thoroughly. But don't ruin eggs' nutritional value with extra-fat cooking. The best cooking methods for eggs are to boil or poach them. A small amount of vegetable oil or non-stick cooking spraying can be used for frying or scrambling. Try these healthy egg recipes and start ‘eggs’periencing good health!
Egg & Vegetable bake
(serves 4 people)
Wash vegetables and cut into thin strips.
Brown in a pan with a little olive oil.
Beat the eggs and season.
Place vegetables in a lasagne dish.
Slowly add the eggs.
Add the thyme and rosemary.
Keep an eye on the cooking 30 minutes at approx. 150°C and 180°C.
(serves 4 people)
4 hard-boiled eggs, medium or large
1 tin of sweet corn
1 orange pepper, cut into pieces
Spring onion, chopped
2 tbsp plain yoghurt
1 tbsp mustard
½ tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp mayonnaise
Hard boil the eggs in the usual way
Plunge them into cold water, peel them, cut them small and place them in the bowl
Empty the sweet corn and cut half a cucumber into thin slices
Add the vegetables to the eggs
Mix the curds with the mustard, juice, mayonnaise, salt and pepper
Mix the sauce in with the salad and add salt and pepper to taste
Cut the rest of the cucumber into slices and place them in a dish
Then make the salad
Baked tomato eggs
(Serves 4 people)
4 large ripe tomatoes
60ml basil pesto
120ml grated parmesan cheese
Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the centres. Sprinkle with salt and leave to drain for 15 minutes upside down on a paper towel.
Put the tomatoes in an ovenproof baking dish.
Add 15ml of pesto to each tomato, then top with 30ml of the Parmesan cheese.
Carefully break an egg into each tomato and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Replace the tops on each tomato and bake at 180°C for 20-30 minutes until cooked to your liking.
Remove and serve immediately.