Why Eat Eggs?
An egg is one of nature's most nutritious creations. Eggs are protein rich, low in sodium and contain varying amounts of 13 important vitamins and minerals. In addition, eggs are inexpensive, delicious and easy to prepare. Soft, delicious, eggs are easy to chew and digest, making them suitable for people of all ages. Containing the highest quality protein available in a food, eggs also provide a wide variety of other nutrients at 70 calories per large egg. Eggs are versatile and convenient for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, and can be prepared and used in many ways. USDA analysis recently revealed that a single large egg contains 41 IU of Vitamin D, an increase of 64% from 2002, which makes eggs one of the few foods that are a naturally good source of Vitamin D!
Eggs are nutrient rich, because they have a high-nutrient content compared to their calorie count. This makes them especially helpful as a nutritious part of young children, and senior diets, as well as diets for the weight conscious. Research has found that eggs offer benefits beyond basic nutrition and may help prevent disease and promote health. Containing antioxidant vitamins, eggs can be considered one of nature's original functional foods.
Eggs supply high-quality protein, and contain the highest quality protein available in a food. Egg protein contains all the essential amino acids in a pattern that matches the human body's needs. Egg protein is used as the standard by which other proteins are measured because of its high quality. Protein is the only essential nutrient that provides nitrogen, extremely important for building and repairing muscle and organ tissues, as well as maintenance of blood, nerves, bones, and heart. One large egg contains 6 grams of protein, or 12% of the recommended daily value.
Two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, are both abundant in egg yolks, and help prevent the increasingly common eye disorder of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in Americans age 65 and older. Eggs contain the perfect mixture of antioxidant vitamins A and E combined with a fat source to assist in their absorption into the body. Studies have shown that generous intakes of these carotenoids have significantly reduced cataract risk up to 20%, and macular degeneration up to 40%.
The vitamin choline is essential for normal functioning of all body cells and assures structural development and signaling functions of cell membranes. Necessary for proper brain development in the fetus and newborn, choline may also play a role in memory function throughout life and into advanced age. Among other benefits, choline has been found to play a role in the prevention of heart disease, fatty liver, and neural tube defects. Egg yolks are an important source of choline (125 mg/large egg yolk) and provide 23% of a pregnant woman's daily needs.
After 30 plus years of being maligned for its cholesterol content, now, thanks to an ever-growing body of research studies, eggs are making a comeback. Even the American Heart Association revised their guidelines permitting people to enjoy an egg everyday as part of an average daily cholesterol intake of 300 mg. Study after study shows that dietary cholesterol has no effect on heart disease risk. The evidence indicates that saturated fat in the diet, rather than cholesterol, is the dietary factor most responsible for increasing blood cholesterol levels. USDA now reports the average amount of cholesterol in one egg is 185 mg, 14% lower than previously recorded.
For additional egg nutrition information:
The Incredible Edible Egg
Egg Nutrition Center