Eggs are an important and versatile ingredient for cooking, as their particular chemical makeup is literally the glue of many important baking reactions.
Since the domestication of the chicken, people have been enjoying and nourishing themselves with eggs. As a long time symbol of fertility and rebirth, the egg has taken its place in religious as well as culinary history. In Christianity, the symbol of the decorated egg has become synonymous with Easter.
There are different types of egg available, the most common being chicken eggs while other gourmet choices include duck, goose and quail eggs.
- Eggs are a ‘complete’ source of protein as they contain all eight essential amino acids; the ones we cannot synthesise in our bodies.
- One large egg contains 6 grams of protein and all essential amino acids.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids: If you eat organic or omega 3 enriched eggs then you will be consuming even more Omega 3 Fatty Acids, but even non organic eggs contain large amounts of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. These fatty acids are good for the heat and help reduce triglycerides in the blood.
- The whites are rich sources of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper.
- Egg yolks contain more calories and fat. They are the source of cholesterol, fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and lecithin – the compound that enables emulsification in recipes such as hollandaise or mayonnaise.
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin: These nutrients are antioxidants that help to counteract the degenerative processes that affect our eyes. Studies show that consuming adequate amounts of these nutrients can reduce the risks of cataracts and other common eye disorders.
- Contain Choline: Many people do not get enough choline in their diet and one egg contains about 300 micrograms of choline. This nutrient is very much underrated and plays an important role in regulating the brain, the nervous system and the cardiovascular system.
- May prevent breast cancer: Studies show that women who eat at least 6 eggs a week lower their risk of developing breast cancer by 44%
- Promote healthy hair and nails: Eggs have high sulphur content and contain many vitamins and minerals.
- Raise HDL: High Density Lipoprotein also known as the “Good Cholesterol”. People with higher levels of HDL can reduce their risks of heart disease, stroke and other health problems. Eating 2 eggs a day for 6 weeks can raise HDL levels by around 10%
- Highly Filling food: Eggs are a high protein food so they will leave you feeling full for a longer period of time.
- Eggs are convenient: Not only are eggs easy to make, but there are a ton of different ways to make them!
The cholesterol question
For years eggs have been considered more of a health risk than a healthy food. Since they are high in cholesterol, it was recommended that people with high cholesterol levels avoid eggs. But it turns out the cholesterol content for which they have been vilified is much lower than it was 10 years ago.
This reduction has been attributed to the changes in hen feed since the BSE crisis in the 1990s. British research shows that a medium egg contains about 100mg of cholesterol, a third of the 300mg recommended daily limit. Also it is saturated fat in the diet, not dietary cholesterol that influences blood cholesterol levels the most.
If you are concerned about your cholesterol or are unsure whether it is safe for you to consume eggs please consult your general physician.