The very fact that World Egg day is celebrated every year on the second Friday of October shows how important eggs are to human beings. This day is an international event that celebrates the versatile egg, creating awareness to the public on its various health benefits. Eggs, which are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, have many health benefitting properties, making them a true super food in every sense. Many people avoid eggs because of the high cholesterol content in the yolks. However, research indicates that it is okay for healthy individuals to eat an egg every day without having to worry about heart diseases. According to the American Heart Association, egg yolks contain lutein that provides protection against the development of early heart disease.
Nutritional profile of eggs
Just as mentioned previously, eggs are a storehouse of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that form the essentials of a healthy and well balanced diet. A large egg provides almost 70 calories and 6 grams of protein. In fact, eggs are believed to be one of the best protein sources available. They are a wonderful source of an array of vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K and B group vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate. Eggs also contain an impressive list of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, fluoride and selenium. Eggs are high in nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin that have powerful antioxidant properties. Eggs also supply high amounts of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in the form of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Why eggs are good for you
Eggs are one of the super foods packed with nutrients. In fact, eggs can be considered the perfect food as they provide your body with pretty much every nutrient it needs. Here are some the proven health benefits of this wonderful food:
Eggs are high in protein
Eggs are the perfect choice for those who lead an active and healthy lifestyle as they are a rich source of protein. The protein along with the various other nutrients in eggs provides the energy that helps you remain active for a long time. Eggs are also considered to be a complete protein as they contain all the nine essential amino acids that form the building blocks for the body. In addition to boosting your energy levels, the protein found in eggs also help to build and maintain healthy muscles, build and repair cells and body tissues, prevent infections, balance body fluids and form strong nails and hair.
Eggs do not affect cholesterol levels badly
Although eggs are high in cholesterol, eating them does not necessarily increase the cholesterol levels in the blood. According to a study, eggs have been found to increase the HDL or good cholesterol levels, which is associated with lowering the risk of many health problems like heart disease, stroke and more.
Eggs are a good source of choline
Choline is one of the B group vitamins, necessary for various functions of the human body. It plays a major role in building cell membranes, signaling processes, nervous system activity etc. One way to get adequate amounts of this vitamin in your body is by eating eggs as they are an excellent source of choline.
Eggs are good for your eyes
Eggs have high concentration of Lutein and Zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that are found in the retina of the eye. According to studies, consuming foods rich in these nutrients can help in reducing the risk of two serious eye disorders namely cataract and macular degeneration. Eggs are also high in vitamin A, which is also associated with improved and healthy vision.
[Read more about benefits of spinach]
Eggs for beautiful skin
The two antioxidants – lutein and zeaxanthin, found in eggs provide protection against UV damage and free radical damage that may lead to wrinkles, fine lines, brown spots, and even cancer. The various vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in eggs play important roles in maintaining skin health. Egg is a wonderful source of amino acids that help in the production of collagen and elastin, which are proteins that provide strength to your skin tissues. Vitamin A in eggs aids in the growth of new tissue and development of new skin cells, which speeds up the process of wound healing.
Eggs help you lose weight
Eggs are high in protein and they fill you up very quickly. They are found to have a high score when it comes to satiety index (measure of the ability of foods to cause a feeling of fullness and thus prevent the intake of more calories). This property of eggs makes them an ideal weight loss food. Studies reveal that having eggs for breakfast increases satiety in people suffering from obesity and may even help promote weight loss.
Eggs supply the benefits of iron
Deficiency of iron can lead to symptoms like headaches, tiredness, anemia and irritability. Iron is an important mineral that plays an important role in energy metabolism, carrying oxygen to all body parts, boosting immunity and several other bodily functions. The high iron content in eggs is easily absorbed by the body and helps in preventing the problems caused by iron deficiency.
Eggs promote brain health
As mentioned previously, eggs are rich in choline which promotes the development of brain in the fetus and newborn babies. They also help to improve memory function in older people. Choline is a precursor for a neurotransmitter known as acetylcholine that helps you remember things. According to researchers, the daily consumption of eggs may help in improving the overall cognitive performance. Eggs are also rich in folate that acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, helping to inflammatory conditions such as memory loss and cognitive decline.
Eggs improve bone health
Eggs are excellent sources of important nutrients that provide nourishment to your bones. Egg yolks contain a good amount of vitamin D that helps in improving the health of your bones. The high levels of sulfur in eggs promote the creation of collagen, which provides a strong infrastructure to the bones. Collagen gives flexibility to the bones, thus preventing them from breaking easily.
Eggs can prevent breast cancer
The researchers in Harvard University found that the regular consumption of eggs could help lower the risks of developing breast cancer in adults. The high concentration of choline found in egg yolks has been found to lower the risk of breast cancer by about 24 percent. Studies reveal that women who ate eggs regularly as teenagers had lower chances of developing breast cancer as adults.
Eggs for healthy hair and nails
Eggs contain high levels of sulfur, a very important nutrient that is associated with many vital functions of the body. It is also needed for the production of keratin and collagen, which helps in the growth and maintenance of healthy and strong hair and nails.
Eggs and heart health
In spite of the fact that egg yolks contain a lot of cholesterol, it does not affect the blood cholesterol levels drastically. In fact, eggs are found to be good for the health of your heart as it is rich in protein and heart benefitting vitamins like folate, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. According to a study, the regular intake of diet containing eggs can lower the risk of heart attack, blood clots and stroke.
Eggs help to build muscles
Eggs play an important role in providing a healthy and balanced diet for everybody, especially bodybuilders. Protein is important for the growth and building of muscles. Eggs, being an excellent source of protein can therefore help in increasing your muscle mass. Eggs are also rich in other nutrients that are required for muscle building and recovery.
What are healthy ways to cook egg?
As we mentioned that eggs may contain high cholesterol, however it should not be matter of worry. Lot depends on how you cook eggs. Cooking of eggs will decide how healthy it would be. Here are some tips for healthy eating of eggs:
- Never add extra oil to poached eggs.
- Ensure that yolk which has vitamin biotin is cooked fully, but not exposed to high heat.
- Boiled eggs are best way to eat egg. Boiled eggs is good breakfast meal and good if source of protein.
- People too conscious about cholesterol and fats may avoid egg yolk. But one also lose on fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin D and Vitamin A present in egg yolk.
- Adding milk to scrambled egg recipes would add more fats. You may use water instead.
- Add vegetables to your omlette.
Eggs are a highly nutritious food source that has been consumed by people all over the world for several thousands of years. They are inexpensive, easily available, easy to eat, highly versatile and well-tolerated by people of all ages. With scientific research that proves the importance and benefits of eggs to the human body, there is no reason why this nutritious food should not be included in your daily diet.Image Credits: Flickr - Claire