Have an Egg-citing Easter

At no other time of the year are eggs so popular than at Easter time, so what better time than this, to look at why eggs make such a fantastic edition to your menu. Although it is eggs of the chocolate variety that line the shelves of supermarkets at this time of the year, we mustn’t forget their slightly distant family member, the classic hard shelled hen egg. Not only are they far fewer in calories than those chocolate ones, but you may be surprised to hear of just how beneficial eggs are to our health, which is why they shouldn’t just be celebrated at Easter time, but the whole year round.

Eggs may not be considered the most egg-citing of foods out there, so just in case you need a few reasons to eat them let’s see exactly how egg-cellent they actually are!

Eggs contains only 70-75 calories and are low in fat and high in protein, which make them an ideal addition to the dieters’ plate and for those people wanting to manage their weight. Protein is known to keep us fuller for longer and stave off hunger pangs, and the good quality protein in eggs is no exception. For this reason, eggs have been shown to facilitate weight loss when eaten as part of a healthy diet, but unfortunately this does not apply to the chocolate versions!

Eggs are one of the very few foods that naturally contain Vitamin D, a vitamin essential for healthy bones and strong immunity. Our main source of vitamin D comes from the sun and

unlike so many other things in life these days, unfortunately we have not yet mastered the art of controlling the sun through our mobile phone, which means that due mainly to lack of sun, 1 in 5 UK adults are deficient in Vitamin D. This means we need to boost our levels of vitamin D however we can, and eggs can help us do this.

Not all protein is created equally. Some is poor quality protein and some is good, and the protein found in eggs is one of the best! Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and there are ten amino acids that are classed as ‘essential amino acids’ meaning these proteins cannot be made by the body and must be eaten in our diet. There are actually only nine essential amino acids for adults, but the tenth one is considered essential for children. There are some foods, known as ‘complete foods’ that actually contain ALL ten essential amino acids and this is where eggs come in, as eggs are a ‘complete food’ and contain all ten making them a real powerhouse of goodness. Delamere Dairy goats’ milk also contains all ten essential amino acids in higher quantities than cow or soya milk, so when eating eggs and drinking goat milk you can be safe in the knowledge you are getting all those essential proteins needed for good health.

Eggs contain two carotenoids called Lutein and zeaxanth. Carotenoids are organic plant pigments and these two specifically, have shown to be very beneficial in reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in those people age 65 years and older) as well as reducing the risk of developing cataracts.  Although these two carotenoids are also found in other food sources such as green leafy vegetables, eggs are a particularly good source of lutein and zeaxanthin because research suggests that it may be more easily absorbed by the body compared with the lutein and zeaxanthin from other sources because of the egg yolks’ fat content, which allows easier absorption by the body.

When it comes to the yolk and the white of the egg, both have their benefits, however it is the yolk that is the winner when it comes to nutritional goodness, as it contains most of the

vitamins and minerals as well as the two carotenoids named above. The white however contains the most protein, containing about 60% of the eggs total protein with the other 40% found in the yolk. It’s therefore a real travesty to throw the yolk out as many people often do now when following the latest diet crazes. It is far better to consume the egg in its entirety.

One egg contains 13 essential vitamins and minerals in varying amounts including selenium needed for healthy immunity, Vitamin B12 required for good energy levels and a healthy nervous system and vitamin A, essential for healthy eyes and vision. It is most likely this huge range of nutrients found in eggs, has had an impact on the results of a recent large study on eggs, which concluded that eating one egg a day reduces the risk of stroke by 12%.

Eggs are also a good source of iodine, which is needed for the production of thyroid hormones and the healthy functioning of the thyroid gland. If the thyroid gland isn’t functioning correctly it can cause symptoms such as low mood, tiredness, weight gain and muscle cramps, so getting a good source of iodine in your diet is important. One egg provides you with about 20% of your daily iodine requirements. Other good sources of iodine include shellfish, seaweed and cranberries.

Not only are eggs a fantastic source of nutrients, but they are also such a versatile food and incredibly fast and easy to cook in all their varieties. They can easily be transformed into something more exotic by the addition of smoked salmon, chorizo, avocado, chives or the sprinkling of Delamare Dairy goats’ cheese.

With Easter fast approaching, it is however only fair to balance your egg consumption with a couple of chocolate ones thrown in for good measure and if you opt for the dark chocolate ones with a high cocoa content your body will thank you even more. With dark chocolate providing a good source of iron and an abundance of antioxidants, which are good for mood and disease prevention, you need not feel too guilty when tucking in.

References

Meta-analysis of Egg Consumption and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke, 2016. Journal of the American College of Nutrition
• Advances in the Value of Eggs and Egg Components for Human Health, 2005. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
• Nutritional and functional roles of eggs in the diet, 2000. Journal of the American College of Nutrition

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