While eggs are commonly associated with breakfast and protein, many individuals aren’t aware of the nutrient package the whole egg provides. This includes a variety of important vitamins and minerals required for the body to maintain health. In fact, a majority of these nutrients are found in the yolk, so today’s post focuses on the nutrient contribution of the egg’s sunny center.
From magazine recipes to restaurant menus, egg white options are everywhere. However, it’s important to know what is lost when skipping the yolk. At least a portion of the following nutrients are found in part in the yolk and, in some cases, entirely in the yolk alone:
- Vitamin A and Vitamin E: these fat-soluble vitamins act as antioxidants. Vitamin A also plays a part in supporting our immune system and eye health.
- Vitamin D and Phosphorus: both of these nutrients work to promote bone health and structure, among other things such as immune function and DNA development.
- Vitamins B12 and B6: the B-vitamins have many roles within the body and are necessary for energy metabolism, immune function, and production of DNA and red blood cells.
- Iron: without iron, adequate oxygen would not reach our body’s cells. Helping with cell growth and immune function are other roles of this mineral.
- Choline and Folate: these minerals are important for normal cell functioning and cell division. Choline assists with fetal brain development during pregnancy and folate helps prevent birth defects.
- Zinc (0.4 mg): this mineral is key for immune functioning and wound healing, and it also helps with growth and development in childhood and during pregnancy.
In addition to these important vitamins and minerals, the egg yolk also contains 2.7 grams, almost half, of the egg’s high quality protein as well as antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.
Interested in learning more? This fact sheet shows a side-by-side nutrient comparison of the white, yolk and whole egg, for easy reference. Additionally, don’t forget to check out ENC’s new patient handout, The Yolk: A Nutrient Goldmine.