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Making the Most Out of the Eggs You Eat

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • One large egg contains 13 essential vitamins and minerals, including 70 calories of high-quality protein. Eggs can play a vital role in managing body weight, increasing muscle strength, and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Moreover, eating eggs also aid brain function, sustain eye health and do much more besides.
  • People with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or the elderly must take special care with regard to their egg consumption, with no more than 3-4 eggs a week, or only eating egg whites advisable for these groups.

 

Eggs are traditionally associated with breakfast and they are seen as a great source of protein. One large egg contains 13 essential vitamins and minerals, in addition to 70 calories of high-quality protein. Moreover, nutritional research indicates that eggs can play a vital role in managing body weight, increasing muscle strength, and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Moreover, eating eggs also aids brain function, sustaining eye health, and doing much more besides. Eggs offer many physical benefits when they are poached, boiled, scrambled or steamed, although being sure to consume them properly is crucial if you wish to get the utmost benefits.

Understanding eggs

Eggs contain 2 nutrients that are beneficial to brain health: choline and lutein. Choline plays an important role in the early stages of fetal brain development, especially in the area of the brain responsible for memory and learning. At the same time, lutein has a key part to play in maintaining eye health, while it also aids learning and knowledge retention. Research carried out at the University of Illinois has shown that there is a relationship between lutein levels in the brain – found by screening macular pigment optical density (MPOD) – and a child’s ability to take on information. The researchers found that MPOD had a positive effect in terms of childhood learning.

The benefits of eggs

Although quite high in cholesterol, eggs can actually have a positive effect in terms of managing the body’s cholesterol levels. Eggs are also a great source of high-quality protein, and contain a large number of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin B12, iodine, folates and Omega-3. Moreover, eggs are cheap and readily available. The healthiest method of cooking eggs is to boil them. Eating an egg a day can have a range of health benefits, but these may differ significantly from person to person.

Eggs and their relationship with health disorders

A randomized study in people with metabolic syndrome showed that those who ate 3 eggs a day encountered positive changes in terms of HDL-cholesterol levels and insulin sensitivity, while another study into weight control among people with type 2 diabetes concluded that fat and glucose levels were improved when eating 2 eggs per day over a period of 12 weeks. Moreover, breakfasts containing eggs, which are therefore full of protein (35% energy; 26.1g egg protein), helped to maintain healthy blood glucose levels in those suffering from type 2 diabetes.

Obesity is a health concern that can be caused by numerous complex factors and current recommendations regarding weight management say that a healthy diet should be supplemented with regular exercise. A healthy diet means eating nuts, grains, fruit, vegetables, proteins and other low-fat or fat-free products in moderation, with the high levels of protein found in eggs particularly beneficial as they make us feel full, while also aiding weight loss. A study of an overweight group of adults, comparing those who ate bagels for breakfast against those who ate eggs, found that those who ate eggs were more likely to feel energized, while their BMI rating decreased by 61% as their weight fell by 65% over the 3-month trial period. From another sample group of type 2 diabetics, those who ate 2 eggs a day, 6 days a week reported that their appetite was reduced and that they felt fuller after eating the eggs when compared with those who did not partake in the same diet.

Groups who should exercise caution regarding their consumption of eggs

The following groups should be especially careful in terms of their egg consumption, eating just 3-4 eggs a week or only eating egg whites:

Eggs can be extremely beneficial to health when prepared in the correct way. This means that any frying of eggs in oil should be avoided because this can lead to high cholesterol, which could turn a potentially healthy meal into something much more damaging to your health.


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