Nutrients In Eggs

Eggs are a nutrient goldmine!

One large egg has varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein, all for 70 calories.

While egg whites contain some of the eggs’ high-quality protein, riboflavin and selenium, the majority of an egg’s nutrient package is found in the yolk. Nutrients such as:

  • Vitamin D, critical for bone health and immune function. Eggs are one of the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D.
  • Choline, essential for normal functioning of all cells, but particularly important during pregnancy to support healthy brain development of the fetus.
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin, 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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Focus on Potassium

eggsAs health professionals, it is important to get a full health history from clients in order to assess nutrition and health status. An area to be mindful of is activity level and occupation, particularly as it relates to climate. Clients who exercise or work outside during the summer need to pay attention to intakes of key minerals, such as potassium.

Along with chloride and sodium, potassium is one of the most important electrolytes in the body. Electrolytes are minerals in the blood, urine, and bodily fluids that contain an electric charge. All of the cells in the body use electrolytes to carry electrical impulses and communicate with other cells, which enables bodily functions. Potassium is essential for the body’s growth and maintenance. Nearly 70% of the potassium in the body is found in fluids like plasma, blood, and sweat, while the rest is stored in the bones.2 During a hot day of outside exercise or work, potassium can be lost through sweat. When potassium is deficient in the diet, or when the movement of potassium through the body is blocked, nervous and muscular systems can be compromised.3

Fresh fruits, especially citrus and melon, and vegetables like leafy greens and broccoli, are all important sources of potassium. By comparison, eggs provide a smaller amount of potassium than many produce foods, but one large egg contains 69 milligrams of the nutrient and when paired with produce and whole grains, can offer a potassium-rich meal.  The recipe below pairs eggs with spinach and cheese, which both contain potassium, and when served with a cup of citrus fruits, this meal is a potassium powerhouse.

Baked Eggs & Spinach

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg. (10oz.) frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, squeezed dry
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup chunky salsa
  • ¼ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (1 oz.)

Directions:

Step 1: Heat oven to 325°F. Divide spinach evenly among four greased 6-oz. ramekins or custard cups. Press an indentation (about 2-inch diameter) into center of spinach with back of spoon. Place on baking sheet

Step 2: Break and slip an egg into each indentation. Top evenly with salsa, then cheese

Step 3: Bake in 325°F oven until whites are completely set and yolks begin to thicken but are not hard, 20 to 25 minutes

Nutrition information: Per Serving

Excellent Source: Vitamin A, Folate and Choline

Good Source: Protein, Vitamin D, Calcium and Iron

Calories: 121; Total Fat: 7 g; Saturated fat: 3 g; Polyunsaturated fat: 1 g; Monounsaturated fat: 2 g; Cholesterol: 192 mg; Sodium: 277 mg; Potassium: 350mg4; Carbohydrates: 4 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Protein: 10 g; Vitamin A: 7007.9 IU; Vitamin D: 42.6 IU; Folate: 91.3 mcg; Calcium: 164.8 mg; Iron: 2 mg; Choline: 140.3 mg

References:

1) Zieve, D. (2013, June 23). Potassium in diet: Medlineplus. Retrieved fromhttp://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002413.htm

2) Higdon, J. (2004, February). Micronutrient information center: Potassium. Retrieved fromhttp://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/potassium/

3) U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2012. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 25. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page,http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl

The Incredible, Edible, and Affordable Egg

ital bake

Protein has been a real buzzword lately, and for good reason. Protein is made up of amino acids, the building blocks for muscle, blood, skin, hair, and nails. In total, there are 20 amino acids, which join together in different combinations to form unique proteins in the body. Some of these amino acids, nine to be exact, can’t be made by the body, so they are known as essential amino acids, as it is “essential” that we consume these nine amino acids through the foods we eat. A complete protein source is one that provides all of the essential amino acids; these are also called high-quality proteins.1 Animal-based foods such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and cheese are considered complete or high-quality protein sources. Of all the high-quality sources of protein, eggs are the most affordable at an average of just 15 cents apiece and they deliver 13 other vital nutrients, including vitamin D, choline, riboflavin and phosphorus.2,3

Eggs are a  nutritious choice for families on a budget.  But it’s also important to pair eggs with the company they deserve, such as colorful seasonal vegetables, whole grains and dairy for a nutritious, balanced meal.

The below Italian Vegetable Custard serves four and provides a balanced, inexpensive, and quick dinner.  Looking for affordable on-the-go snacks? We’ve got several portable snack ideas for you to check out.

Italian Vegetable Custard

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups coarsely shredded yellow summer squash
  • 1 cup coarsely shredded zucchini
  • 1 can (2.25 oz.) slices ripe olives, drained, DIVIDED
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. dried basil leaves
  • ½ tsp. garlic salt
  • 6 very thin tomato slices
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced, separated into rings
  • ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (2oz.)

Directions

  • Step one: Heat oven to 450°F. BEAT eggs and flour in medium bowl until smooth. ADD yellow squash, zucchini and ¼ cup olives; mix well. SPREAD in greased 8-inch square baking pan.
  • Step two: BAKE in center of 450°F oven just until custard is set, about 10 minutes.
  • Step three: MIX Parmesan cheese, basil and garlic salt; sprinkle over custard. TOP evenly with tomato, remaining olives, onion and Jack cheese. BAKE until cheese is melted, about 4 minutes.  

Nutrition Information

Per Serving

Excellent Source: Protein, Folate and Choline Good Source: Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Calcium and Iron

Calories: 237; Total Fat: 12 g; Saturated fat: 5 g; Polyunsaturated fat: 1 g; Monounsaturated fat: 3 g

Cholesterol: 201 mg; Sodium: 424 mg; Carbohydrates: 19 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Protein: 14 g; Vitamin A: 727.9 IU; Vitamin D: 41.7 IU; Folate: 83.4 mcg; Calcium: 110.8 mg; Iron: 2.6 mg; Choline: 138.7 mg; Vitamin C: 19

References:

1)        Smith, M. (2011, August 11). Protein directory. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/diet/protein-directory

2)        United States Department of Agriculture. Economic Research Service. Retail data for beef, pork, poultry cuts, eggs, and dairy products (August 2012). Retrieved on July 23, 2013 from http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/MeatPriceSpreads/

3)        United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory. 2010. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23. www.ars.usda.gov/nutrientdata. Nutrient facts per raw serving.

 

 

 

The Power of Vitamin A

egg-spgr-150x150

Vitamin A is most commonly recognized for its beneficial effects on eye health, while its other important functions are often overlooked.  As with other vitamins, there are different forms of vitamin A – one form that is most readily absorbed in the body is known as retinol, which is found in liver, eggs, and milk. Retinoids (including retinol) have many important and diverse functions throughout the body including roles in vision, regulation of cell proliferation and differentiation, growth of bone tissue, immune function, and activation of tumor suppressor genes.  These functions are especially important with respect to pregnancy and childbirth, infancy, childhood growth, night vision, red blood cell production, and resistance to infectious disease.1

Another way for the body to get the vitamin A it needs it to convert pro-vitamin A carotenoids like beta carotene to retinol. Beta carotene is found in yellow and orange fruits and vegetables including carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and cantaloupe.  The carotenoid form of vitamin A also provides unique health benefits. Most carotenoid forms of vitamin A function as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients. There are two forms of carotenoids that play a specific role in eye health which are known as the xanthophylls lutein and zeaxanthin.2 Foods such as spinach, kale and Swiss chard are sources of foods that contain both forms of carotenoid for optimal eye health.1 Eggs provide small amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin and research shows these nutrients in eggs may be more bioavailable (better utilized by the body) than that from sources with higher content including supplements.2

While vitamin A provides the body with many benefits, it’s important to remind clients that too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing. Vitamin A is fat soluble which means the body stores it most often in the liver. This also means that vitamin A can build up to toxic levels in the body. This rarely happens from food sources because, if the body builds up supplies of vitamin A, it will slow down the conversion of beta carotene. Vitamin A toxicity usually occurs when people take too much in supplement or pill form. Toxic levels can cause liver problems, central nervous system problems, deterioration of bone density, and birth defects.4  Below is a chart that outlines the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for Vitamin A as well as the upper limits.3

RDA   for Preformed Vitamin A (Retinol)

Age Males: mcg/day (IU/day) Females: mcg/day (IU/day)
0-6 months 400 (1,333 IU) 400 (1,333 IU)
7-12 months 500 (1,667 IU) 500 (1,667 IU)
1-3 years 300 (1,000 IU) 300 (1,000 IU)
4-8 years 400 (1,333 IU) 400 (1,333 IU)
9-13 years 600 (2,000 IU) 600 (2,000 IU)
14-18 years 900 (3,000 IU) 700 (2,333 IU)
19 years and older 900 (3,000 IU) 700 (2,333 IU)
Pregnancy (18 years  and   younger) 750 (2,500 IU)
Pregnancy (19 years and older) 770 (2,567 IU)
Breastfeeding (18 years and younger 1,200 (4,000 IU)
Breastfeeding (19 years and older) 1,300 (4,333 IU)

 

Tolerable Upper Intake Level   (UL) for Preformed Vitamin A (Retinol)

Age Group UL in mcg/day (IU/day)
Infants 0-12 months 600 (2,000 IU)
Children 1-3 years 600 (2,000 IU)
Children 4-8 years 900 (3,000 IU)
Children 9-13 years 1,700 (5,667 IU)
Adolescents 14-18 years 2,800 (9,333 IU)
Adults 19 years and older 3,000 (10,000 IU)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to lutein and zeaxanthin, eggs contain the retinoid form of vitamin A and in fact, butter, cheese, and eggs are among the top 10 sources of vitamin A for U.S. adults.  Carrots, tomatoes, leafy greens, and sweet potatoes are also found in the top 10 pro vitamin A-containing foods in the U.S.4Try this recipe that perfectly pairs eggs with kale and sweet potatoes and get all the benefits vitamin A provides.

Eggs over Kale and Sweet Potato Grits

Servings: 4
Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 cups fresh kale, chopped
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • ¾ cup grits, quick cooking
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 4 eggs

Directions

  • Step 1: Heat oven to 350°F. Coat 4 individual soufflé dishes (or 2-quart casserole dish) with 1 tsp. vegetable oil. Make 3-4 slits in sweet potato; cook in microwave until just soft. When cool enough to handle, peel, cut into chunks, and puree in a food processor.
  • Step 2: Heat remaining vegetable oil in sauce pan, and sauté kale about 5 minutes. In a medium sauce pan, boil water and milk, add grits and sweet potatoes; cook 5 minutes
  • Step 3: Remove from heat; stir in sautéed kale. Divide grits mixture evening among 4 soufflé dishes (or place all in casserole dish). Make 4 depressions in the grits mixture with the back of a large spoon. Carefully break one egg into each hollow. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes until eggs are cooked. Let cool 10 minutes before serving

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories: 280; Total fat: 9g; Saturated fat: 2g; Protein: 12g; Carbohydrates: 38g; Cholesterol: 185g; Dietary Fiber 4g; Sodium: 410mg

Each serving provides: An excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamine, niacin, folate, phosphorus, and iodine, and a good source of protein, fiber, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium

References

1)       Evert, A. (2013, February 18). Vitamin a: Medlineplus medical encyclopedia. Retrieved fromhttp://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002400.html

2)       Goodrow EF, et al. Consumption of one egg per day increases serum lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations in older adults without altering serum lipid and lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations.JN 2006; 136(25):19-24.

3)       Higdon, J. (2007, November). Vitamin a: Micronutrient information center. Retrieved fromhttp://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/vitamins/vitaminA/index.html

4)       USDA Database of Vitamin A (mcg RAE) and Vitamin E (mg AT) for National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2000. 2006. Beltsville, MD: Agricultural Research Service, Food Surveys Research Group.

I’ll Take My Folate…Sunny Side Up

Jim-House-150x150Today’s post is from James House, Ph.D. Dr. House is studying the relationship between water soluble vitamin nutrition, the metabolism of amino acids, and how they relate to optimal growth and health of individuals. He also maintains a strong focus towards the development of functional foods of animal origin.  He is also a member of ENC’s Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP).

Folate (folic acid, vitamin B9) is a water soluble B vitamin, traditionally associated with the consumption of green, leafy vegetables.  However, since the late 1990’s, several jurisdictions, including the US and Canada, have mandated the inclusion of synthetic folic acid into enriched white flour, as well as other cereal-based foods.  The main reason for this population health initiative was to effect a reduction in the number of babies born with a neural tube defect (NTD).  Evidence is accumulating that the initiative, combined with strong campaigns to encourage folic acid supplement usage by women of child bearing age, has been effective in reducing the occurrence and recurrence of NTDs.  However, the folic acid fortification strategy is not without its concerns.  The recent surge in the demand for gluten-free foods, coupled with a demand for foods lower in refined carbohydrates, challenges the usefulness of enriched wheat flour as the fortification vehicle.

_S Generic Eggs in Wooden Dish E2307

Eggs, on the other hand, are good sources of protein, naturally gluten-free, and contain little in the way of carbohydrate.  Furthermore, one large egg can supply 10% of the Daily Value for folate.  This value can be increased approximately 250%, up to 60 µg per egg, by increasing the synthetic folic acid content of the laying hen diet.  The hen converts the relatively inexpensive and synthetic form of folic acid in her diet to the more metabolically active form, called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate – this is the major circulating form of folate in the human bloodstream.  Previous research has documented that the folate found in egg is highly available (>100% relative to folic acid), in comparison to plant-based folates (generally <50%).  Therefore, folate-enriched eggs offer an additional food-based vehicle for the addition of this important water-soluble vitamin to the human food supply.  Beyond folate, other opportunities exist for egg fortification, including recent work examining the potential to enrich eggs with vitamins D and B12.

 

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 />.