The Nutritional Power of Eggs
Easter is just around the corner, and in many homes, eggs will be dyed, painted, hidden and enjoyed. So, it seems like an ideal time to have a closer look at this amazing food!
Eggs are incredibly high in nutrients; they are loaded with high quality protein, vitamins, minerals, good fats and various trace nutrients. Not only, do they make quick, easy and nutritious meals, they are also very tasty, and, as research shows, they help you feel fuller, leading you to eat fewer overall calories!
So what exactly makes an egg so healthy? An average egg weighs about 60 grams and contains 6g protein, rich in essential amino acids. These building blocks are required for proper growth and repair. The protein in eggs has such a good balance between those amino acids that it is even regarded as a reference protein, the protein most easily metabolised by the human body. This makes eggs a great source of protein for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.
Eggs also support eye health, due to high levels of two important antioxidants, called lutein and zeaxanthin. These two compounds protect the eye from damaging influences and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, a disease that can lead to blindness. Furthermore, eggs are rich in iron, selenium and vitamins A, B12, B2, B5 and E, all of which are important micronutrients and are vital for our health.
Eggs contain also a substance called choline, which is often grouped with the B vitamins. Choline is vital in maintaining brain cell structure, for liver function, nerve function and for maintaining metabolism and memory. Most people are not getting enough of this incredibly important nutrient, and eggs are an excellent source.
In the past, eggs have been labelled the enemy due to their cholesterol content; indeed, it is still a popular misconception that eggs raise your blood cholesterol and are “bad for your heart”. However, emerging and continued research shows that the effects of cholesterol-rich foods on blood cholesterol are small and not significant. Eggs even modulate your blood cholesterol positively by raising the HDL (the good) cholesterol and modulating the LDL (not good) into a benign form. Public health bodies, such as the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and British Heart Foundation, no longer recommend limiting egg consumption.
Eggs also contain healthy fats and are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for normal body function. The body cannot produce these essential fats, so they must be provided through the food we eat. Research, comparing the fatty acid composition of egg yolk from different farming types showed that organic eggs had a better fatty acid profile than conventional or free range farmed eggs. By buying organic eggs, you can rely on a few facts that are important, not only for the individual consumer, but also for our environment.
Organic food is produced in a way that keeps the production more natural, and reduces the risk of harmful chemicals leaching into nature and damaging wildlife. Animals are kept in certain ways; chickens are free to roam, have access to the outdoors and have sufficient space. No drugs such as antibiotics and hormones are given to the animals. Genetically modified (GM) crops and ingredients are banned in organic production. Therefore, products sold as organic must be free from genetically modified material. To ensure that these regulations are observed, any organic product sold in the EU is certified and the standards of licensed farms are inspected regularly. All of this gives you the assurance that organic standards are observed. And last but not least: many people prefer organic food because they say it just tastes better.
Organic eggs, available in our online shop at www.greenearthorganics.ie, are one of nature’s healthiest and tastiest food! Enjoy them and have a Happy Easter!
Monique Hegner, Nutritional Therapist