The popularity of low-fat diets has put several nutritious foods in the black list. Eggs are a great example of a healing food that has been unfairly pushed away, mostly because of the fatty yolk. But eggs, and especially the yolk, have so much to offer, particularly if they come from hens that are raised in a natural environment, instead of being confined in cages. If eggs are banned from your household or you are a yolk-less omelet kind of person, the following egg facts could change your mind.
Cholesterol and Healthy Fats
The yolk is a rich source of cholesterol and omega 3 fats, which should be part of every healthy diet. There is plenty of research proving that omega 3s are super important for cardiovascular health and a strong immune system. Also, cholesterol is a fundamental component of every cell of our body, so practically, we cannot exist without at least some cholesterol in our diet. If however, you are still concerned about cholesterol, the good news is that compared to supermarket eggs (coming from caged hens) pastured eggs contain 1/3 less cholesterol, while there can be up to 13 times more omega 3s, so we get the best of both worlds.
Choline for Optimal Brain Function
The egg yolk is rich in choline, a fatty substance and the building block of one of the most important brain neurotransmitters called acetylcholine. Getting extra choline is ultra important for memory, verbal and logical reasoning and the ability to concentrate. A serving of 100 grams of egg yolk contain 683mg of choline, which is the highest amount of choline you can get from any whole food, for the least amount of calories.
Optimal amounts of choline can help infants and young children develop a robust memory for life, but research suggests that taking extra choline during pregnancy can take the baby´s brain power to another level. Adequate choline can also protect from developing a fatty liver. Due to the lower estrogen levels, men and postmenopausal women need more choline in their diet in order to keep their liver in good health. Choline supplementation is finally used to boost cognitive and mental functions of seniors who struggle with senility or Alzheimer´s.
Since the egg yolk is quite fatty, it is the perfect place to store fat-soluble vitamins. Indeed, nature made sure that the egg yolk is rich in vitamin A, E, D and also water-soluble beta carotene, B12 and folate, all very important nutrients. Compared to eggs coming from caged hens, pastured eggs are again the leaders when it comes to vitamin content and should be your first choice. For example pastured eggs pack three times more vitamin E, three to six times more vitamin D, seven times more beta carotene and 66% more vitamin A. Not bad for a humble egg!
Eggs are mostly famous as a powerhouse of protein, making them popular among athletes and body builders. But the truth is that everybody needs protein. From the average person to seniors, children and pregnant women, protein is a nutrient absolutely essential for every age group. A single egg packs in total six grams of protein, four of which are housed in the egg white. This lovely package comes with least possible calories, just 80 for a large or 55 for a small egg.
Given this immense concentration of essential nutrients, there is little room to doubt that eggs are one of the most nutrient dense foods you can get your hands on and a literal nutrient bomb. Despite the bad rap, eggs certainly deserve a second chance in our diet and our kitchen.
Mother Earth News. 2007. Meet real free-range eggs. www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/free-range-eggs-zmaz07onzgoe.aspx?PageId=4
Mother Earth News. 2009. More great news about free-range eggs. www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/free-range-eggs-zmaz09fmzraw.aspx
Eleni Roumeliotou is a clinical nutritionist, geneticist and founder of Primal Baby, a health sanctuary for all things fertility and pregnancy. Eleni passionately helps women, who are trying to conceive or are already expecting a baby, to optimize their diet and lifestyle in order to conceive naturally and have the healthiest baby possible. Her passion is to empower women to take control of their fertility and their baby´s health, safeguarding the wellbeing of the next generation, one baby at a time. You can read all of Eleni´s Mother Earth News articles here.
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