What came first the chicken or the egg? We may never know, but we do know there are many reasons to make eggs an essential part of your diet.
Eggs have been a dietary staple since time immemorial and there’s good reason for their continued presence in our menus and meals. Not only do they offer culinary variety — hard-boiled over easy, omelets, deviled eggs and then some — they are also a source of protein, calcium and several vitamins and nutrients.
Looking at the nutritional breakdown, one egg contains roughly 75 calories, 5 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, 0 carbohydrates, 67 milligrams of potassium, 70 grams of sodium and 210 milligrams of cholesterol. Eggs are also a great source of vitamins A, D and B12, as well as choline, which is a nutrient that’s essential in many steps of metabolism. Except for its cholesterol content, one egg is a healthy option for breakfast lunch or dinner.
Research shows that the cholesterol in eggs doesn’t seem to negatively affect the human body compared to other sources of cholesterol. For example, eggs typically are eaten with other foods high in salt, saturated fat and cholesterol, such as bacon, cheese and butter. These foods are known to increase the risk of heart disease, and they should be eaten sparingly. Most healthy people can eat up to seven eggs a week without affecting their heart health. Some choose to eat only the white and not the yolk, which provides some protein without the cholesterol.
You might have noticed that eating eggs for breakfast may keep you feeling fuller for longer — that’s generally attributed to the high protein content in eggs. Whether you have an omelet for breakfast or a hard-boiled egg as a snack, eggs can help you stay satisfied after or between meals.
Eggs are also rich in choline, a micronutrient that is important for pregnant women and babies. Choline, a micronutrient used to build cell membranes, keeps the nervous system functioning and contributes to brain health, including memory and learning processes. One large hard-boiled egg contains 27% of the recommended daily value of choline, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Eggs are full of antioxidants that our eyes adore. For example, egg yolks are high lutein, which is a type of carotenoid that puts up a good fight against macular degeneration; a condition that leads to blurred vision and sometimes blindness. Lutein is also prevalent in leafy veggies like broccoli but experts say our bodies are much more adept at absorbing lutein from eggs, due largely to a component of fat and beneficial vitamins including A, D, and E.
Another powerful, eye-friendly vitamin found in the yolk is zeaxanthin, which is an antioxidant believed to help protect our eyes against damage from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. The retina in the backs of our eyes contains cells that allow us to see. Lutein and zeaxanthin are also the pigments that make eggs yellow, also found in plant-based foods such as corn and spinach.
Eggs are amazingly healthy. They are rich in nutrition, support heart health, brain health, mental health, weight loss efforts, and vision. They are affordable, versatile, and delicious. They truly are an incredible food!