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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ENC at Pri-Med

Last week I returned from exhibiting at the Pri-med Conference in New York City. This is not the first time I have exhibited at this conference and I’m always pleased with the result.

The attendees to this conference are health professionals from all realms of the medical field. Pri-Med delivers 3 days of medical updates at a remarkably low price which attracts many health professionals who work with low income patients in a community setting. It was very rewarding for us to bring the good news to all these health professionals that eggs are now 14% lower in dietary cholesterol.

In addition, current research shows that there are many health related benefits of consuming an egg; relating to its high quality protein yet low carbohydrate and calorie content, coupled with its 13 essential vitamins and minerals all for approximately 14 cents an egg.

Anna and I were very busy throughout the 3 days talking with physicians, nurses, dietitians and physician assistants about how they can now tell their patients to go back to eating an egg a day, as recommended by the US Dietary Guidelines. We were able to sign up nearly 250 health professionals who were interested in receiving the ENC newsletter, Nutrition CloseUp, as well as completing a survey which entered them into a contest to win a year’s worth of eggs for themselves and a donation to a local NYC food bank. Not surprisingly, most HPs enjoy eggs themselves and have been advising their patients that eggs are a healthful food all along.

 

Celebrate Memorial Day With Eggs!

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

~Marcia

I’m a registered dietitian, director at a supermarket chain and mom to a high-energy 16-month old. So, I understand the challenges some moms face while trying eat well despite their hectic lifestyle. Most of us have good intentions. We want to make healthy, delicious meals for our families–but, some days, our busy lives get in the way.

One thing I remind myself to do is allow ample time to re-charge and enjoy life along the way. Memorial Day is just around the corner and I’m looking forward to the long holiday weekend. I plan to take full advantage of the extra time and the chance to kick back and relax. At some point over the weekend, I’m going to cook, but I want to keep it simple. I plan to make this quick and easy appetizer. It’s one of my favorite recipes to take to a party or serve when I’m hosting. You can literally mix everything in a single bowl and dump it into the pan to bake!

I feel great about serving this for three reasons. One: it’s DELICIOUS and I always get requests for the recipe. Two: it contains spinach—a superfood packed with lutein and beta carotene for eye health, antioxidant vitamins C and E, iron and B vitamins like folic acid, thiamine, riboflavin and B6. Three: it contains eggs as a source of perfect protein and 13 essential nutrients. You may also be surprised to learn eggs are 14 percent lower in cholesterol than once thought.

Give these Cheesy Spinach Squares a try and enjoy your holiday!

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Cheesy Spinach Squares
Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook Time:  45 minutes    Makes: 20 squares
Ingredients:
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove excess liquid
3 large eggs
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 (4-ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 cup skim milk
1 (16-ounce) package 2% sharp cheddar cheese shreds
½  tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp baking soda
nonstick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a  9” x  13” glass baking dish by spraying all sides lightly with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, add spinach, eggs, onion, mushrooms, milk and cheese. Stir.  Sprinkle in salt, flour, onion powder, baking soda and stir until combined thoroughly.  Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Bake for 45 minutes or until top is golden brown. Slice into squares and serve warm or at room temperature. Within 2 hours, store any leftover squares in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. Squares re-heat easily in the microwave.

Karen Buch RD, LDN

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.

Give Eggs the Company they Deserve

When observing focus groups around the country which included physicians, nurses, dietitians and personal trainers it was interesting to see how these health professionals viewed eggs and dietary cholesterol.  Most health professionals felt eggs were a healthy food choice especially compared to available alternatives. In fact, it was often heard that eggs got a bad rap and they did not feel that the food deserved to be the icon of indulgence. What we heard is that eggs offered many valuable nutrients lacking in their patient’s diets and suggested an egg is a better choice than sweetened cereals, breakfast bars or donuts. What concerned most health professionals were what other foods people choose to eat with eggs. They generally agreed that eggs need to choose new friends and could be considered healthy if they weren’t accompanied by the saturated fat and sodium found in other breakfast foods. This striking misperception is often exemplified in restaurant menus that list egg white omelets accompanied by high fat and high sodium bacon or sausage with white toast as the healthy choice, giving the impression that egg yolks are the unhealthy element.

In fact, scientific research has shown that the egg yolk supplies about 40% of the high quality protein in an egg important for muscle building and retaining muscle especially when aging or losing weight. The yolk is also known as a naturally good source of vitamin D, lutein and choline, all nutrients that are needed for health. What makes eggs especially healthy is that they can be a great vehicle for eating vegetables and whole grains that supply many other important nutrients making an egg breakfast done right a great way to start the day. To me, the recent research that showed eating eggs at breakfast did indeed keep one satisfied for longer than an isocaloric bagel breakfast confirmed that eggs at breakfast is the healthiest choice to make.

~ Marcia

New USDA Analysis: Egg are 14% Lower in Cholesterol

There are many who think our food supply is unhealthy and getting more so. But, according to new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrition data, www.ars.usda.gov/nutrientdata many of our naturally produced foods are actually healthier than during our parent’s childhood. Beef and pork cuts are leaner, lower fat choices of milk and cheese are widely available and now the egg, already low in saturated fat, has been found to be lower in dietary cholesterol and qualifies as a good source of vitamin D. The USDA recently reviewed the nutrient composition of standard large eggs, and results show the average amount of cholesterol in one large egg is 185 mg, 14 percent lower than previously recorded.   The analysis also revealed that large eggs now contain 41 IU of Vitamin D, an increase of 64 percent.

This is wonderful news, since for a long time public health organizations have been continuing to advise people to restrict their dietary cholesterol based on old, less sophisticated research techniques than those used by scientists today. Unlike most countries around the globe who have looked at the science and decided that the evidence is lacking to continue to confuse people with guidance which restricts dietary cholesterol , the US continues to include a 300mg dietary cholesterol restriction in its dietary guidelines. The good news is that it is so much easier to include the many beneficial nutrients that an egg supplies in your diet daily without having to consider your dietary cholesterol intake. Unless of course, you often consume foods containing a great deal of solid fats and added sugar which unlike eggs and seafood that are naturally low in unhealthful fats and added sugars, can complicate your heart disease risk.  One look at the nutrition facts panel, and it’s easy to see why eating an egg daily is a healthy practice that our grandparents understood and valued.

-Marcia