I LOVE eggs!
From the time I was 9 months old my mother began feeding me 2 soft boiled eggs for breakfast and to this day no breakfast is complete, in my opinion, without some form of egg protein.
Fortunately, today, most of us know that eggs are one of the most complete sources of protein found in nature.
In fact, egg protein is of such high quality that the USDA lists eggs in the “Meats” category of the Food Pyramid. Unfortunately though, the only other thing that the majority of us also know about eggs is that they contain cholesterol and it is for this reason that many of us have chosen to eliminate this superfood from our diets.
But the fact of the matter is that, besides being a great vegetarian source of protein, eggs are also a great dietary source of all essential amino acids, folic acid, retinol, vitamin B12, Iron, calcium, and potassium. In fact, eggs are such a complete food that most of us can incorporate them into our low cholesterol diets, in place of meat, in order to maintain, and in some cases, improve our cardiovascular health.
Eggs Are A Heart Healthy Food
The fact that eggs are an excellent dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids is the reason why they can be called heart healthy. Though omega-3 fatty acids serve many functions, they are best known for their ability to protect us from cardiovascular diseases and thus enable us to live longer.
Currently, many of us are changing our diets in order to reduce the amount of cholesterol we consume. This is mainly due to the highly publicized finding that high dietary cholesterol levels play a role in the development of heart disease. However, there has also been a great deal of misunderstanding within the publicizing of this finding which has led many people to consume a diet rich in vegetable oils as opposed to animal fats. Therefore, the relative levels of omega-3 fatty acids consumed by the average American have changed in favor of omega-6 fatty acids which are present in vegetable oils.
These omega-6 fatty acids are not as healthy as omega-3 fatty acids, and can in fact interfere with the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids because they compete for the same enzymes. But, most alarming is the fact that over consumption of omega-6 fatty acids has been linked to heart attacks, thrombotic stroke, arrhythmia, arthritis, osteoporosis, inflammation, mood disorders, obesity, and some forms of cancers such as prostate cancer and breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Sources:
The recommended omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is 4:1 or lower. But, currently, the average American consumes a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 that can be as high as 50:1. Therefore, the American Heart Association has been advocating a diet richer in omega-3 fatty acids since 1996.
Eggs As Part Of A Weight Loss Diet
Some dieters are wary about the cholesterol content of eggs and thus don’t include eggs into their weight loss plans. But, studies have indicated that it is not so much the amount of dietary cholesterol that is eaten, but the amount of saturated fats that causes the excess deposition of cholesterol in the arteries.
Other studies have shown that eating as much as two whole eggs a day does not effect overall cholesterol levels. In a study conducted by Dr. Nicola Harman, from the University of Surrey in Guildford researchers found that, “Eating two eggs a day, as part of an energy-restricted weight-loss diet, does not increase levels of ‘bad’ or total cholesterol. Dr Harman conceded that the study was small, but said that their results should give people who are trying to lose weight the confidence to include eggs as part of their daily diet”.
Eggs As Part Of A Healthy Pregnancy
Eggs provide ideal nutrition to both the mother and the developing fetus. Besides being rich in protein, folic acid, Iron, omega-3 fatty acids and a host of B vitamins, eggs are one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D and retinal which is essential for healthy vision development and bone growth.
The average egg contains about 75 calories: 60 calories from the yolk and 15 calories from the white which means that eating eggs can help pregnant women meet their nutritional needs while managing their overall weight gain. But, the main reason why pregnant women should consider adding eggs to their diets is because egg yolks contain choline which is an important nutrient for the development of the fetal brain.
Choline is found only in egg yolks and eating just 2 whole eggs a day will give you 100% of your daily recommended amount of choline and just 150 calories. But, if you’re still worried about your cholesterol intake during your pregnancy consider this: studies are beginning to indicate that the human body may not absorb much cholesterol from eggs because lecithin, a compound found in eggs, works in the intestines to block the absorption of most of the cholesterol naturally present in eggs. Source
Not All Eggs Are Created Equal!
Not surprisingly, the diet of the chicken greatly effects the nutritional quality of its eggs. Chickens that are fed a diet high in polyunsaturated fats and kelp meal, which is essentially seaweed, lay eggs that are especially high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Likewise, free-range chicken eggs are known to contain higher amounts of vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids and lower amounts of cholesterol than standard factory eggs. Source
Did You Know?
Prior to the invention of antibiotics, egg whites were used as an effective home remedy for the prevention of infection in minor cuts and burns. Egg whites contain a substance called Conalbumin which fights the bacteria that often find their way inside the egg through the shell. This same substance helps prevent infections in humans.
100 Delicious Recipes Featuring Eggs
Besides being one of the healthiest foods available to mankind, eggs are also an extremely delicious and versatile cooking ingredient. Though there are literary hundreds of thousands of ways to cook an egg, the following list of recipes, posted by endlesssimmer.com, attempts to simplify this matter by introducing us to just 100 of the tastiest egg recipes that any one of us can prepare in the comfort of our very own kitchens. Enjoy!