With so many fancy “superfoods” to choose from, you can be forgiven for thinking that the only way to eat clean and healthily is to stock up on exotic products that nobody had even heard of five years ago.
We dispelled this myth in a recent blog post, and it’s our mission to prove that you can get all the nutrients you need from less glamorous items that lurk in your fridge and cupboards. What better place to start than with the humble egg?
Eggs are filled with so much goodness that they are often referred to as ‘nature’s multivitamin’. Every egg contains a small amount of a huge variety of vitamins and minerals that are needed by the human body, including calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, manganese, Vitamin E, Folate and many others.
One large egg contains:
- Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): 9% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 15% of the RDA.
- Vitamin A: 6% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 7% of the RDA.
- Selenium: 22% of the RDA.
Eggs also contain choline, a lesser-known vitamin that is important for healthy brain function. The yolks are rich in two antioxidants called Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which have powerful protective functions for the eyes, reducing the risk of Cataracts and Macular Degeneration, the leading causes of blindness in the elderly.
It’s hard to believe that all of these essential nutrients are packed into just one little egg, containing around 75 calories, six grams of protein and five grams of fat, and with only trace amounts of carbohydrates. It’s crucial to know that most of the vitamins and minerals come from the yolk, as many people assume that the yolk just contains fat, whereas the white of the egg consists of pure protein. This is a common misconception.
Aren’t eggs high in cholesterol, though?
Eggs sometimes get a bad reputation because they contain cholesterol, which people believe is harmful to their bodies. While this is true to an extent - one large egg contains around 212 mg of cholesterol which is a large amount compared to other foods - however this doesn’t mean that it will create bad cholesterol in the blood.
To understand this we need to know what role cholesterol plays in the body. Our livers actually create cholesterol on a daily basis, so the less cholesterol you eat, the more your body produces itself. Studies have shown that eating eggs actually improves the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) in the blood and change the bad cholesterol (LDL) into a large subtype which isn’t associated with a risk of heart disease. In addition to this, studies have analysed the risk of eating large amounts of eggs and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and found no association between the two.
What would your personal trainer say?
If you’re ever unsure about which types of food you should be putting into your body, it’s always worth talking to a personal trainer. DW’s resident health and fitness expert, Carly Tierney, explains why you should incorporate eggs into your diet.
“Humble eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods around. They contain a huge number of vitamins and minerals that our modern diets lack. They are cheap, easy to prepare, are versatile and taste awesome. Really, eggs are pretty much nature’s perfect food. In terms of nutrition, they are hard to beat!”
Carly added that eggs are high in quality protein, with all the essential amino acids in the right ratios…
- Proteins are the main building blocks of the human body
- Getting adequate protein in the diet is very important and studies show that currently recommended amounts may be too low
- Eggs contain all the essential amino acids in the right ratios, so our bodies are well equipped to make full use of the protein in them
- Eating adequate protein can help with weight loss, increase muscle mass, lower blood pressure and optimise bone health
“Eggs are also incredibly fulfilling and tend to make you eat fewer calories by staving off hunger in between meals, helping you to lose weight. Eggs have the ability to induce feelings of fullness and reduce subsequent calorie intake. So, if you eat eggs for breakfast you are far more likely to feel fuller for longer than if you ate cereal or toast alone.”
How to keep your eggs fresh
Because they’re so cheap compared to other so-called “superfoods”, you can stock up on eggs until your heart’s content. There’s a long-running debate over the best storage methods, with many people insisting that you should keep your eggs in the fridge. So how come the supermarkets put them in the middle of a non-refrigerated aisle?
A couple of years ago the Daily Mail commissioned a scientific study, whereby two batches of eggs were kept in different conditions over a two-week period - one in the fridge and one at room temperature. As it turned out, there was absolutely no difference between the two, with both batches remaining bacteria-free.
While one single study doesn’t necessarily put the argument to bed, it’s worth noting that some egg storage methods are better than others. Ironically, the door of your fridge – where designers tend to position in-built egg holders - is possibly the worst place to keep your eggs, as the regular movement of the swinging door is said to thin the whites, while at the same time increasing the risk of a breakage.
Generally speaking, eggs will retain their quality for up to five weeks, but always make sure you take note of the expiration date on the box. Eggs may be highly nutritional, but they can make you really ill once they go out of date.
Healthy egg recipes to live by
Eggs aren’t just for breakfast, there are a plethora of delicious recipes that you can create any time of the day for a healthy and filling meal packed full of goodness. Here are five that we absolutely love.
An incredibly nutritious North African and Middle Eastern dish brought to our attention by Patricia of Sporty Over Forty, this one-pan dish uses tomatoes, onion, red peppers, garlic cumin and harissa, then with eggs dropped in towards the end of cooking.
Patricia also reminded us of the importance of using free-range eggs with highest welfare standard so the chickens have been allowed to have a good quality of life. This means that the chickens will be happier and your eggs will be more nutritious.
Mini egg muffins
Hannah Gets Hench.
Prepare these muffins for breakfast, or make a batch and store them in the fridge for a quick snack on the go. Chop up ingredients and fry them gently. Whisk eggs and pour into baking moulds. Pop in the oven for around 10 minutes and leave to cool before serving.
Whisk the eggs and heat up in a large pan as you would with an omelette, swishing the mixture round the side of the pan to prevent it from becoming too thick. Once it is cooked, remove from the heat and add your filling. Kate used cauliflower rice, peppers, courgettes, ⅓ avocado and a handful of spinach, but you could also add in black beans, onions or mushrooms. Roll into a tasty burrito and enjoy your paleo, gluten-free breakfast!
- 5 eggs
- A mix of veggies (e.g. peas, diced carrot, diced onion, finely chopped green beans and cherry tomatoes)
- 2 medium sliced and diced potatoes or sweet potatoes
- Oil/Cooking spray
- Mixed herbs
- Salt and pepper
- Drizzle about 1/2 tbsp oil/spray into a pan and saute the potatoes first.
- After 5 minutes add the rest of the veggies and saute for another 3-5 minutes. Add a splash of water if it starts to stick.
- Meanwhile beat the eggs, add the seasoning and herbs.
- Spread the veggies out in the pan and try to arrange them a little so there is an even mix of them across the pan.
- Pour the eggs into the pan and swirl it around a little so the veggies are covered.
- Cook for 5 minutes on a medium heat and then put under the grill to cook the top surface. Cook until the top is golden and firm to the touch.
uses two eggs, a banana and some cinnamon to create a delicious pancake batter.
Mix the ingredients up and add them to a hot pan, cook as you would a normal pancake and serve with honey and some fresh berries.
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