Eggs are probably one of the most pliable and versatile ingredients known to man. They can be molded and flavored a thousand different ways from the epic hard boiled version to the deviled avatar. Eggs are also one of the most nutritious food items rich in protein and vitamins. The most commonly used eggs for cooking are those that of chickens, duck and goose. Other delicacies include quail eggs, emu eggs, pheasant eggs as well as ostrich eggs.
Compared to most other sources of animal proteins, eggs have the highest content of the necessary amino acids that make up proteins. The protein content of an egg is believed to be equivalent to almost one ounce of meat but far less in calories.
Eggs constitute a balanced diet in themselves as they have a great blend of proteins, vitamins, minerals as well as fat. Eggs are usually available round the year and can are easy to cook as well. They are power packed and yet, usually are low in calories. Chicken’s egg usually contains only around 70 calories and are one of the healthiest light eats.
The various nutrients contained in the egg is split between the egg white and the yellow yolk. The protein is in the form of the albumen of the egg white and the fat is contained in the egg yolk. The yolk is the fat capital of the egg and also contains some amount of protein.
The total fat content of the egg usually does not exceed five grams. The Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acid component is usually around the two gram mark in most regular sized eggs. The cholesterol and saturated fats in the egg yolk is rather miniscule compared to the other nutrients present in the egg as a whole. The yolk is packed with vitamins, minerals and several micro nutrients that are essential for the proper functioning of the body.
Egg yolk is a great source of essential fatty acids and the popular omega 3 fatty acid that aids in brain functioning as well as maintaining proper vision.
Eggs are a great source of amino acids, the building blocks of complex protein forms. Nine of the 23 known amino acids are considered to be essential. These amino acids are not synthesized by the body and hence have to be included in the diet. Eggs are rich in essential amino acids and are considered to be templates for measuring the protein content and quality of other food items.
The Health Benefits of Eggs
The health benefits of consuming eggs are aplenty, ranging from positive effects on the nervous system to the effects it has on the cardio vascular functioning. Eggs are easy to cook and easier to digest and can be eaten by small children as well as older persons.
Eggs and the Nerves
Eggs play a vital role in coordinating and aiding in the proper functioning of the brain and the nervous system as a whole. Eggs are very high in tryptophan, one of the essential amino acids which plays a very important role in protein bio synthesis. Tryptophan also plays a vital role in the synthesis of seratonin, an important neuro transmitter.
Eggs are a rich source of choline. Choline is produced in trace quantities by the body and hence has to be supplemented via diet. Choline is essential for proper functioning of the cell membranes and also helps in reducing chronic inflammation. Choline also plays a crucial role in neurotransmission.
Eggs Influencing Weight Loss
For all those dogged by weight gain concerns, eggs are one of the lightest and most power packed food items that come with a low calorie tab. Research has shown that regular consumption of eggs, especially during breakfast, aids in the process of weight loss.
Persons who consumed egg for breakfast reported higher percentage of weight loss in the research and were also reported to be more energetic and active. Egg consumption helped in reducing hunger pangs, cravings and is a safer and healthier snacking option.
Cholesterol Concerns – Eggs and the Heart
Eggs do have a considerable amount of fat content, but that does not interfere with the healthiness of the heart. Eggs do not increase the risk of heart attack as the amount of saturated fatty acids are miniscule.
It was generally believed that consuming egg yolk increases the cholesterol content of the blood and hence is not very healthy. Contrary to long held beliefs, research has proven that eggs help in improving a person’s lipid profile. Persons consuming eggs regularly have reported a shift in the cholesterol profile. The HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) or ‘good’ cholesterol levels were seen to increase with increased egg consumption.
Eggs also help prevent clotting of the blood thereby reducing stroke and heart attack risk. Proteins present in the egg yolk prevent the platelets from agglomerating and eases blood flow.
Eggs and Eye Sight
It may not be one of the popularly quoted health benefits of eating eggs, but, eggs have a positive effect on eye sight. Eggs help prevent certain ailments of the eye such as macular degeneration that comes with age as well as cataracts.
The carotenoid, Lutein, that prevents the above mentioned ailments is present in good amount in eggs. Spinach competes with eggs when it comes to Lutein content, but the Lutein present in the yellow egg yolk is more useful to the body as its bio availability is better than that of spinach.
Egg yolk is a rich source of carotenoids that protect vision to a great extent. Apart from lutein, studies have shown that egg yolk also consists of other carotenoids such as zeaxanthin that helps prevent macular degeneration.
Vitamins and Minerals
A wide assortment of vitamins is present in eggs. Vitamins A, B And D are present in eggs. Eggs are rich in vitamins B1 or Thiamine, B2 also known as Riboflavin, B5 and B9. Eggs are unique in a way that they are the only source of dietary Vitamin D known to man.
Apart from Tryptophan, the other essential amino acids present in eggs include Leucine, Plenylalanine, Lysine, Isoleucine and Valine. Eggs also contain the amino acid lutein, which, apart from preventing vision related ailments, also has anti oxidant properties.
Eggs also contain other minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium and zinc in varying quantities, fulfilling the micro nutrient requirements of the body. The anti oxidant mineral, selenium is also present in eggs. Eggs also help keep the hair as well as nails shiny and healthy.
Raw Eggs for Health
Consuming eggs in the uncooked, raw form helps keep all the nutrients intact and works wonders on the body. Raw eggs greatly help in boosting the immune system and are as easy to digest at their cooked counterpart. By boosting immunity it helps protect the body from infections and diseases. Raw eggs are the all time favorite of persons hitting the gym, to improve stamina and assist in muscle and body building.
Raw or Cooked, Truly ‘Egg’-Septional
One of the most important positive attributes of consuming eggs is the easy availability and the convenience in cooking. Eggs are available throughout the year and can be prepared in a variety of ways without getting bored. Eggs should be made an integral part of the daily diet plan to ensure the daily fix of all the essential nutrients packed in the tiny oblong health bomb. Eggs add more value to everyday breakfast, making it more interesting and healthy.