Egg Resources for Health Professionals

ENC serves as a resource for health professionals in need of current nutrition information to share with their patients.

Below are various tools available for professional education and/or to be shared with consumers.

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Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Eye Health

Recent news on the benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin caught my eye (pun intended). Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids that can impact, among other things, visual health by decreasing the risk of macular degeneration, an age-related eye condition. Lutein and zeaxanthin can be found in green leafy vegetables – such as spinach, kale, collard greens, and broccoli – as well as eggs. However, research suggests that the lutein and zeaxanthin in eggs are more bioavailable than when from plant sources. This is probably due to the lipid matrix of the egg yolk, which facilitates absorption of the fat soluble carotenoids. And nutrient bioavailability is an important consideration for human health. It doesn’t much matter if a food is high in a given nutrient if that nutrient is inaccessible to the body upon consumption.

The amount of lutein and zeaxanthin in eggs is variable, and is largely dependent on the feed that the hen consumes. Some egg producers fortify the hens’ diet with marigold extract or purified lutein in an effort to raise the content of these vitamins in eggs. As a consumer you can get a rough idea of the lutein content of an egg by observing the color of the egg yolk. Lutein imparts an orange-yellow color to the yolk. Yolks from hens not supplemented with additional carotenoids tend to have a more yellow color.

For more information on lutein and zeaxanthin and their impact on eye health, the articles below are recommended. With an aging population comes a rise in age-related health conditions such as macular degeneration.  So you’re likely to hear more and more about these carotenoids in the future.

 

Vishwanathan R, Goodrow-Kotyla EF, Wooten BR, Wilson TA, Nicolosi RJ. Consumption of 2 and 4 egg yolks/d for 5 wk increases macular pigment concentrations in older adults with low macular pigment taking cholesterol-lowering statins. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;90:1272-9.

Moeller SM, Jacques PF, Blumberg JB. The potential role of dietary xanthophylls in cataract and age-related macular degeneration. J Am Coll Nutr 2000;19:522S-527S.

Eight Ideas for Making Family Mealtime a Success

Hi Readers!  Today we have one of our Registered Dietitian Advisors, Eileen Behan, blogging.  Enjoy!

~Marcia

It’s after 6 pm; you just walked in and have a hungry family to feed. Many American families solve the nightly dinner dilemma by grabbing drive-through, eating pizza or fending for themselves before splitting up to spend the evening doing homework, answering e-mails, or watching television. Most families recognize the family meal to be important they just need some help making it work. I have found preplanning and keeping the refrigerator or freezer stocked with ready- to cook food is one important strategy.

The importance of the family meal is not a new idea.  A 2000 White House Report by the Council of Economic Advisors, found that children who eat with an adult five times in a week are less likely to be involved in high risk behaviors such as smoking, taking drugs and using alcohol.

Food historian Margaret Visser considers eating together to be so important she writes in her book The Rituals of Dinner: the Origins, Evolution, Eccentricities and Meaning of Table Manners that one definition of family is “those who eat together.”

Keep in mind perfection is not the goal -the real goal is spending time together and reconnecting. It won’t be a surprise to any of us to hear time constraints, and “picky eaters” are common obstacles to the family meal. To make family meals happen turn off the television, cell phones and computers. Reducing screen time and eating family meals has a secondary benefit of reducing the risk of obesity

Here are some meal planning ideas I suggest for busy families:

  • Preplan meals and cook on the weekend so you have a ready-to-heat meal during the week.
  • Buy something pre-made a rotisserie chicken for example then balance the meal with a side dish, and a salad.
  • You can do the same with fast food too,  buy a sandwich or burger on the way  home and serve it with a fruit plate and cooked frozen or fresh vegetables.
  • Keep ingredients for “emergency meals” on hand, have eggs for a quick omelet, frozen meat, poultry, or fish and an assortment of vegetables canned, fresh or frozen.
  • To keep the meal balanced always serve a fruit or vegetable or both with every menu.
  • Involve the whole family in meal planning, ask children to grade vegetables, A-F, to determine those they like.
  • For the picky eaters always serve something you know they will eat that might be bread and butter or pasta and cheese. If you know the vegetable won’t be popular put out a bunch of grapes or a bowl of sliced fruit.
  • For ideas on incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your menu visit the For the Love of Food Project at www.fortheloveoffood.org
  • If dinner doesn’t work try breakfast as the family meal. To make breakfast successful preplan the night before, have the ingredients for scrambled eggs and toast ready to go and serve with a fruit salad, a sliced grapefruit or frozen fruit defrosted in the refrigerator overnight or try the recipe for my family’s favorite called Blueberry Puff below

Once dinner is on the table sit down, and ignore the dishes or laundry until after the meal. Mealtime presents a good way to catch up, but sometimes that’s easier said then done. To find out how the day went ask everyone to list their high and low points as a conversation starter. To keep meals pleasant don’t focus on who is eating what, focus on basic manners and good behavior. Then enjoy your meal and your family.

Blueberry Puff

I prepare this when I want a hot breakfast but don’t have time to flip pancakes or tend eggs. If extra servings are needed, don’t double the recipe, make two separate batches instead.

Makes 2 servings

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil

2 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the butter or oil  in a 1-quart baking dish and put it in the hot oven  for 1 to 2 minutes, until the butter melts and the dish is hot. Remove the hot dish from the oven and swirl the butter or oil so that it evenly coats the bottom of the sides of the dish.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk, and flour and beat well, using a wire whisk or a fork, Pour the batter into the warm dish and scatter the fruit over the top.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until puffy and golden brown around the edges. Serve immediately with maple syrup.

Nutrients per serving using butter: 287 calories, 12.4 g fat, 6.0 g saturated fat, cholesterol 206 mg,137 mg sodium, 32.3 g carbohydrate, 1.7 g fiber.

Refueling After Exercise

In a recent blog post, I mentioned the growing acknowledgement of the importance of protein for physical performance. Much research published in recent years suggests that protein, long downplayed as a key nutrient for better performance, may play a larger role than previously thought.

But what about post-exercise? What should an active person consume after a hard workout to re-load and replenish, to minimize tissue damage, and to restore energy stores for the next workout? Once again, newer research is pointing to protein (as a part of a carbohydrate/protein blend of nutrients) as a key to recovery.  Much of the research performed in the 1970s through the 1990s pointed to carbohydrate as the principle nutrient for exercise recovery, and I don’t mean to minimize the benefits of carbs for active folks. However, many studies now indicate that a mixture of carbs and proteins (some say a 3:1 mixture of carb:protein is best, though the exact ratio is still open to debate) can more quickly convert an individual from the catabolic (or tissue breakdown) state that occurs during exercise to an anabolic (or tissue build-up and repair) state that is preferred during exercise recovery.  High protein shakes and products of that nature are preferred by many athletes after a hard workout. They are convenient and they will provide carbs and protein. But one shouldn’t forget “real” food either. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chocolate milk and hard-cooked eggs are starting to gain favor with athletes as well. Products like these taste great, they’re familiar to most folks, and they deliver additional micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) that can aid in tissue recovery.

Some food for thought whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a new exerciser seeking to make fitness gains while minimizing risk of injury and overuse.

National Egg Salad Week

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One would think I’d be tired of eggs by now but, the funny thing is I’m not. In fact, I kind of tired of chicken but because eggs are so versatile, they can be used in so many ways without repeating the same preparation. I love to read recipes that aren’t too complicated and suggest ways to use leftovers in creatively. One such list of recipes can be found athttp://www.dietsinreview.com/diet_column/04/5-ways-to-use-leftover-easter-eggs/ which offers suggestions about ways to use the leftover eggs from Easter egg celebrations. How brilliant that every Easter is followed by National Egg Salad Week! Even better, that this works for the leftover eggs from Passover as well.

Protein and Breakfast

Like most registered dietitians, I struggle to keep up with scientific developments. So much is controversial and hard to discern the effects of independent variables. I attended the “Great Debate” held years ago at USDA in Washington D.C. where the high carbohydrate diet pattern and the low carbohydrate diet pattern were hotly debated. Poor Dr. Atkins who saw the value of a lower carbohydrate intake in his patients was ridiculed for not having published his clinical findings. However, when the successful findings supporting a low carbohydrate intake began to be published doubters still doubted the findings. I think he was on the right track but the real story is low carbohydrate, high quality protein.

It is easy to feel comfortable supporting the benefits of a high protein breakfast. Susan Dopart in her blog suggests that eating a strong protein breakfast within an hour of waking up can increase your metabolic rate, lower insulin resistance and stabilize blood sugar for the rest of the day. One thing I know from personal experience is that eating an adequate amount of high quality protein at breakfast keeps me from being hungry much longer than the bagel or cereal breakfast I had been consuming daily.

This is very useful when I am traveling for business or exhibiting at conferences and can’t be sure when I will be able to take a lunch break. I am not insulin resistant but have a family history of diabetes and I can feel when my glucose levels are low. High quality protein like that in eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt is my way of keeping an even temper and focus on my activities and preventing myself from eating too many calories or undesirable foods that lack nutrients. This was also demonstrated by researchers at University of Connecticut in a study of  “Eating protein-rich eggs for breakfast reduces hunger and decreases calorie consumption at lunch and throughout the day” published in the February 2010 issue of Nutrition Research. Researchers found that men who consumed an egg-based breakfast ate significantly fewer calories when offered an unlimited lunch buffet compared to when they ate a carbohydrate-rich bagel breakfast of equal calories. Ratliff, J., Leite, J.O., de Ogburn, R., Puglisi, M.J., VanHeest, J., Fernandez, M.L. (2010) Consuming  eggs for breakfast influences plasma glucose and ghrelin, while reducing energy intake during the next 24 hours in adult men. Nutrition Research, 30, 96-103.

I think it’s time to move on from the high carbohydrate dogma that dietitians were trained to promote and see the value of high quality protein especially at breakfast both for the satiety it provides and the muscle synthesis signaling that helps maintain muscle mass.