Eggs Across The Lifespan

Eggs contain a number of nutrients that are essential throughout the lifespan:

  • High-quality protein contains building blocks needed to support healthy bones and muscles. Research suggests that exercise, along with optimal protein intake, can slow the effects of sarcopenia or chronic age-related muscle loss.
  • Choline is essential for normal liver function and brain health. It is especially important during pregnancy to support normal fetal growth and development, and most pregnant women do not consume adequate amounts of choline. Consuming eggs during pregnancy is one solution to choline consumption issues.
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that are believed to reduce the risk of developing cataracts and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, a disease that develops with age.

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Beneficial Vitamin B6

salad

There are many reasons to consume adequate amounts of B6 in your diet. Like the rest of the B-complex vitamins, B6 is water soluble and cannot be stored by your body, so it’s important to replenish your body’s supply of the vitamin on a daily basis to reap its many health benefits, including:

  • Greater supply of energy – B6 also helps the body make hemoglobin, the part of your blood that carries energy-boosting oxygen to the brain and other organs.
  • Increased brain function – All of the vitamins in the B-complex family have benefits for the brain, but B6 is especially important for regulating mood and preventing mental fatigue. This water-soluble vitamin is needed for the brain to produce serotonin, a feel-good neurotransmitter that relaxes you and lifts your spirits.

The current RDAs throughout the lifespan are captured below. In general recommendations for adult men and women are 1.3 milligrams per day.

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Vitamin B6

Life Stage  Age 

Males (mg/day) 

Females (mg/day) 

Infants 0-6 months

0.1 (AI)

0.1 (AI)

Infants 7-12 months

 0.3 (AI)

0.3 (AI)

Children 1-3 years

0.5

0.5

Children 4-8 years

0.6

0.6

Children 9-13 years

1.0

1.0

Adolescents 14-18 years

1.3

1.2

Adults 19-50 years

1.3

1.3

Adults 51 years and older

1.7

1.5

Pregnancy all ages

1.9

Breast-feeding all ages

2.0

Fortunately, there are many foods that you can eat in order to make sure that your body is getting enough vitamin B6. Major sources of vitamin B6 include cereal grains, legumes, vegetables (carrots, spinach, peas, and potatoes), milk, cheese, eggs, fish, liver, meat, and flour 1. In fact, one egg provides 0.05 mg or 3.8% DV of vitamin B6.  Add some chicken and chickpeas to the tomato and avocado egg salad recipe below for a fresh and nutritious meal brimming with B6 (and many other important nutrients) 2.

Tomato & Avocado Egg Salad

Ingredients:

  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • 2 avocados, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley OR cilantro
  • Spinach OR lettuce leaves
  • Dressing:
    • 2 Tbsp. fat-free mayonnaise
    • 2 Tbsp. reduced-fat sour cream
    • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • ¼ tsp. hot pepper sauce

Directions:

  • Mix dressing ingredients in small bowl
  • Reserve and refrigerate 6 center slices from eggs for garnish. Chop remaining eggs
  • Combine chopped eggs, avocados, tomato, onion and parsley in large bowl; toss gently to mix. Add dressing; stir gently just until ingredients are evenly coated with dressing
  • Refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors. Serve on spinach leaves, garnished with reserved egg slices

 

References:

1)      Mayo Clinic. N.p., 1 Sept. 2012. Web. 25 June 2013. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vitamin-b6/NS_patient-b6>.

2)      Office of Dietary Supplements . N.p., n.d. Web. 25 June 2013. < http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional />.

Focus on Thiamine

san

The benefits of thiamine (or thiamin), a water soluble vitamin also known as Vitamin B1, are often overlooked despite the nutrient’s importance in bodily function. Thiamin is one of the essential nutrients the body must have to convert carbohydrates  into energy, making it beneficial when the body is trying to combat stress. It also plays a crucial role in conducting nerve impulses and muscle contraction, and is therefore essential to keep the heart, muscles, and nervous system functioning as a whole.1 Last but not least, it’s important to note that thiamine aids in the flow of electrolytes in and out of nerve and muscle cells; multiple enzyme processes; and the production of hydrochloric acid which is necessary for proper digestion. 2

The U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults aged 19 years and older is 1.2 milligrams daily for males and 1.1 milligrams daily for females. The RDA for pregnant or breastfeeding women of any age is 1.4 milligrams daily.1 The importance of thiamine becomes most apparent when examining consequences of deficiency. Thiamine is not stored in the body and therefore can become depleted quickly– typically within 14 days. Beriberi, a severe chronic thiamine deficiency, can result in potentially serious complications, including poor or diminished growth in muscle and nerve tissues.

Fortunately, thiamine is widely available in a variety of foods and deficiencies are therefore typically rare in developed countries. Good sources of thiamine include whole grains, enriched wheat, brown rice, seafood, lean pork, liver, and nuts. Most fruits and vegetables also contain thiamine. When talking to patients, it is important to note that thiamine is often lost in foods after cooking or processing. Remind clients of the proper methods for preparing vegetables so they do not lose vital nutrients due to overcooking. When cooking vegetables, it is best to only add a small amount of water and keep the lid on the pan to preserve vitamins and other nutrients.

A small amount of thiamine is available in eggs, so pair them with other good sources such as milk, oats, and whole grains to contribute to adequate intake levels.  For a healthy dose of thiamine try the below creative twist on a summer favorite.

Scrambled Eggs, Tomato, Mozzarella, & Basil Sandwich

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. milk OR water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tsp. butter OR olive oil, divided
  • 4 slices whole wheat bread
  • 2 slices mozzarella cheese
  • 4 slices tomato
  • 6 fresh basil leaves or ¼ tsp. dried basil leaves

Directions

  • Beat eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in bowl until blended
  • HEAT 1 tsp. butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. POUR IN egg mixture. As eggs begin to set, GENTLY PULL the eggs across the pan with an inverted turner, forming large soft curds. Continue cooking-pulling, lifting and folding eggs – until thickened and no visible liquid egg remains. Do not stir constantly. REMOVE from pan. Clean Skillet
  • SPREAD remaining 2 tsp. butter evenly on one side of each bread slice (or brush lightly with oil). PLACE 2 slices in skillet, buttered side down. TOP evenly with scrambled eggs, cheese, tomato and basil. COVER with remaining bread, buttered side up.
  • GRILL sandwiches over medium heat, turning once, until bread is toasted and cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes

Per Serving

Excellent Source: Protein, Calcium and Choline

Good Source: Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Folate and Iron

Calories: 359; Total Fat: 18g; Saturated fat: 9g; Polyunsaturated fat: 2g; Monounsaturated fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 218mg; Sodium: 492mg; Carbohydrates: 26g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Protein: 22g; Vitamin A: 951.7IU; Vitamin D: 47.6IU; Folate: 60.8mcg; Calcium: 317.8mg; Iron: 2.4mg; Choline: 150.4mg

References:

1)        Mayo Clinic. (2012, September 1). Thiamine (vitamin b1). Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vitamin-b1/NS_patient-thiamin (accessed June 10, 2013)

2)         Nestle, M. (2001). Beriberi, white rice, and vitamin b: A disease, a cause, and a cure (review.Bulletin of the History of Medicine , 75(2), Retrieved from http://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/bulletin_of_the_history_of_medicine/v075/75.2nestle.html (accessed June 8, 2013)

3)        Web MD. (2009). Thiamine (vitamin b1) . Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-965-THIAMINE (VITAMIN B1).aspx?activeIngredientId=965&activeIngredientName=THIAMINE (VITAMIN B1)(accessed June 11,2013)

School’s Out: Balancing Kids’ Lunchtime with MyPlate

NawalToday’s blog post is written by Nawal Al-Nouri, ENC’s Dietetic Intern. Nawal studies Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and will be eligible to sit for the RD exam in December of 2013. She maintains a balanced lifestyle by staying active and exposing herself to new ideas, and enjoys cooking and experimenting with different food genres and flavors.Summer is known for a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables, but frozen sugary treats, drinks and other goodies can often sneak in to our eating habits. Learning to balance meals will help curb these cravings, while keeping these classic summer foods as occasional treats.

Summer is one of the simplest times to be active as a family. Biking or skating, swimming or surfing, amusement parks or museums—summer recess and a warmer climate are meant to help kids both increase outdoor activities and decrease screen time. Providing children a MyPlate friendly lunch can assure they are receiving the energy they need to run around throughout the day. The following ideas can be used with your clients, as well as with your own families too. Here at ENC, we advocate bundling convenience and health into one. Below are some ideas on how to develop MyPlate friendly lunches:

Go PRO(tein)-Choose  protein options such as lean meat and poultry, fish, beans, or eggs.  Scrambled Mini Pizzas and Hard-Boiled Egg Dippers egg-dipper-150x150 are fun, nutritious and easy –requiring 20 minutes or less of prep & cook time.

Make Most of Mother Nature- Watermelon, peaches, cherries, and other fruits are at peak mouth-watering season during the summer. Embrace these summer fruits to make meals colorful and full of vitamins and minerals.

Sneak in Some Green- For a fun treat, make a refreshing kid-sized smoothie chock full of seasonal fruit and spinach or kale.  Veggies and dip are a great choice too.

 Add Whole Grain- Whole grains add vitamins and texture for a balanced snack. Whole wheat crackers with cheese or a hardboiled egg on half a toasted whole wheat english muffin are two easy choices.

Do up the Dairy– It is recommended that children and adolescents consume two to three cups of dairy per day. Consider freezing low-fat yogurt with fruit for a tasty and nutritious treat or add it to the above kid-sized smoothie.

myplate_green-300x272-150x150

The key to success is to think and plan ahead, filling your fridge and pantry with smart choices. Spend some time preparing hardboiled eggs, salads, vegetables, and fruits. Turn meal preparation into a family activity—as is age appropriate, teach them how to cut and slice fruits and vegetables, peel hardboiled eggs, and prepare sandwiches. Finally, consider taking them on a picnic to reward them for their (and your) hard work.

A final tip: keep everyone well-hydrated by drinking water through the fun and active summer heat!

Pregnancy, Protein, and Promoting Growth

Adequate protein intake is essential in every life stage; however, some stages require increased protein intake for optimal health. During pregnancy, it is recommended that women consume 1.1 g/kg body weight of protein per day, which is up from 0.8g/kg prior to pregnancy. The second and third trimester are the most important times to pay attention to protein levels, as this is when the baby will be growing  fastest, placing more demand on the mother for all essential nutrients.

preg

Why is protein so crucial during pregnancy? The healthy pregnancy position paper from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes that “Unbalanced diets during pregnancy, particularly with respect to protein and carbohydrates, have been linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes, including low birth weight and other long-term effects on blood pressure.” More specifically, protein is necessary to help build the baby’s tissues and promote adequate growth in the womb.

Eggs, in particular, are a good source of all-natural, high-quality protein, which helps support fetal growth and is associated with a healthy birth weight. They also provide other nutrients that are vital to a baby’s development, such as folate, choline, iron, vitamin D and zinc.

A-Egg-in-Hand-E1823A-300x250

For a healthy diet during pregnancy, give eggs the company they deserve, and pair with plenty of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and whole grains. Also keep in mind that food safety is especially important for those who are pregnant. Eggs should be cooked until the whites and yolks are firm or, for dishes containing eggs, until an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit is reached.

Choosemyplate.gov has specific information on ways to build a healthy plate during pregnancy and lactation. USDA’s Supertracker tool can also be used to personalize information based on height, weight, and stage of pregnancy. The recipe below is a great example of combining eggs with other nutritious ingredients to boost protein, folate, iron, choline and vitamin D.

Hash Brown-Crusted Mediterranean Quiche

Makes 4 servings

quiche-150x150
Ingredients:

  • 3-1/2 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small zucchini, quartered, thinly sliced (2 cups)
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped drained oil-packed artichoke hearts
  • 4 EGGS
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (2 oz.)
  • ½ tsp. dried basil leaves
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 2 cups marinara sauce, warmed

Directions:

  1. HEAT oven to 425°F. PRESS potatoes evenly on bottom and sides of greased 10-inch quiche dish or pie plate. COAT lightly with cooking spray. BAKE in 425°F oven until potatoes are lightly browned and crisp, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven setting to 375°F.
  2. HEAT butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. ADD onion and garlic; sauté until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. ADD zucchini, bell pepper and artichokes; sauté until crisp-tender.
  3. BEAT eggs, milk, cheese, basil and oregano in large bowl until blended. ADD zucchini mixture; mix well. POUR into potato crust.
  4. BAKE in center of 375°F oven until knife inserted near center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. LET STAND 5 minutes. CUT into wedges; serve with marinara sauce.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

Calories: 452, Total Fat: 17g, Saturated fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated fat: 3g, Monounsaturated fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 206mg, Sodium: 845mg, Carbohydrates: 57g, Dietary Fiber: 8g, Protein: 19g, Vitamin A: 2701.2IU, Vitamin D: 60.2IU, Folate: 81.5mcg, Calcium: 233.5mg, Iron: 3.8mg, Choline: 158.4mg

References:

Mayo Clinic. “Pregnancy diet: Focus on these essential nutrients.” Retrieved fromhttp://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pregnancy-nutrition/pr00110/nsectiongroup=2.

American Dietetic Association. Position of the American Dietetic Association: Nutrition and Lifestyle for a Healthy Pregnancy Outcome. JADA. 2008; 108 (3): 553-561.

Eggs, Eyes, and Other Emerging Evidence

Frittata with chicken and spinach and fresh spinach
Eggs provide a wealth of nutrients that can support our health, some of which aren’t even listed on the nutrition facts label. Here’s the scoop on two of these nutrients, lutein and zeaxanthin:

What are lutein and zeaxanthin? Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids that are found in high levels in the retina and macula of the eye. Both have a yellow-orange pigment and are known for their antioxidant capabilities.

What is their function in the body? Both lutein and zeaxanthin work to filter harmful blue light in the eye and prevent the production of free radicals. Over time, these antioxidants may help reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to blurred vision and even blindness. Preliminary research also suggests that lutein and zeaxanthin may be protective against different types of cancer, coronary heart disease, and stroke.

What are common food sources? Eggs! One egg yolk contains small amounts of both lutein and zeaxanthin (an average of 0.29mg of lutein and 0.21mg of zeaxanthin). Other common sources include spinach, kale, collard greens, peas, broccoli, onions and corn.

What makes eggs special? Carotenoids that are part of a lipid matrix, such as the lutein and zeaxanthin naturally found in eggs, have been found to have increased bioavailability. In one recent study, Chung et al observed that after consuming the same total amount of lutein from multiple sources, serum lutein levels were highest after consumption of eggs compared to supplements and spinach, suggesting that these nutrients may be more bioavailable in eggs than some sources with higher content.

How much do we need?  There is no consensus on daily recommendations for lutein and zeaxanthin intake. The American Optometric Association does, however, recommend 10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin per day for healthy eyes.

Try whipping up some scrambled eggs and adding plenty of chopped spinach or kale for an extra boost of lutein and zeaxanthin! Check out the ENC website for additional research articles related to lutein and zeaxanthin.

sc-egg

References:

Chung HY, Rasmussen HM, Johnson EJ. Lutein Bioavailability Is Higher from Lutein-Enriched Eggs than from Supplements and Spinach in Men. Journal of Nutrition 2004; 134: 1887-1893.

Handelman GJ, Nightingale ZD, Lichtenstein AH, Schaefer EJ, and Blumberg JB. Lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations in plasma after dietary supplementation with egg yolk. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1999; 70: 247-51.

Ribaya-Mercado JD, Blumberg JB. Lutein and Zeaxanthin and Their Potential Roles in Disease Prevention. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2004;23(6):567S-587S.