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.

Snack Ideas for Children On-the-Go

Summer is a busy time for most families kids are out of school, but camps and summertime activities keep people busy, often leading to eating on the go. Sometimes when people don’t plan ahead, less nutritious options are chosen, particularly for snacking. The great news is with a little planning, snacking can be a part of a balanced eating plan. Snacks that are portable and full of nutrients are best to maximize the nutrition of growing children.

basic-hard-boiled-eggsAccording to a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), Americans are not consuming enough fruits and vegetables.1 “Pairing fruits and vegetables with protein, low-fat dairy, or whole grain not only helps close this gap, but also creates a more well-rounded snack”. Enjoy fresh, seasonal vegetables by cutting them up and dipping into hummus. It’s easy to add an extra punch of protein to the hummus by mashing up a hardboiled egg and mixing it in. Hummus already contains folate, vitamin B6, and iron, and the addition of an egg will supplement 13 essential nutrients along with the boost of high-quality protein. One egg provides a 4 year old with almost one-third of their protein requirements for the day. Hardboiled eggs also pair well with veggies or whole grains options (such as mini pita bread). See other ideas from MyPlate Snack Ideas. Keep a few of these foods on hand or in a cooler on the go and snacks are easy and convenient.  Always remember to keep snacks age-appropriate.

Another tip is to get the family involved in snack planning and preparation. Farmers’ markets are very popular in the summer, so bring the kids and have them pick out their favorite vegetables. If kids are not familiar with the different types of vegetables available, have them pick out their favorite colors to make a colorful snack they will enjoy. Bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, and green beans are just a few of the fresh veggie options that peak during the summer months. Add more fun by using cookie cutters to make fun shaped snacks or even make it educational and discuss what other foods are the same colors.

Eggs and Veggies

These tips can be used for your own family, but also you can remind your clients that snacks can be part of a balanced diet and a great way to boost nutrients that may be missed during meals. Happy Snacking and make sure to tell us some of your favorite go to snacks!

 

References:

  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2011. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 24. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page, http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl

 

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.

 

Approaching the End of National Men’s Health Month

Chris BarryToday’s post comes from Chris Barry, PA-C, MMSc. Barry is a nationally certified physician assistant specializing in pediatrics. He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Physician Assistants, North Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants and currently serves as the Medical Liaison from the American Academy of Physician Assistants to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Barry currently serves as one of ENC’s Health Professional Advisors.

We’re quickly approaching the end of June and I hope that you had a chance to celebrate Men’s Health Month. The purpose of Men’s Health Monthwas  to raise awareness of preventable health problems and to promote the early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. Prevention is stressed throughout the medical training of today’s health professionals. As a health care provider, I have seen the many benefits of preventive medicine.  Immunizations alone have prevented countless diseases, hospitalizations and deaths.  Through regular well visits, appropriate screening tests and immunizations, many serious illnesses and health conditions can be prevented.

As a son, brother, husband and parent, living a healthy lifestyle is a personal thing for me.  My favorite moments in life are times spent with family, and I want to be able to enjoy those times as long as possible.  Taking good care of myself took on an added importance after the birth of my first daughter 8 years ago, and my second daughter 4 years ago.  My family is the center of my life.  I try to set a good example for them and I want to enjoy them as long as possible, so our whole family tries to be healthy.

Corbis-42-20089976-150x150

An important part of living a healthy lifestyle is eating well.  Whenever possible, I encourage our children to come with us to the grocery store, so they can help select fresh fruits and vegetables for our meals.  My wife and I teach them which foods are healthier than others.  This is not to say we don’t occasionally eat treats, but we teach them to eat those foods in moderation.

We also encourage our children to help (in an age-appropriate fashion) with meal preparation.  By helping make the meals, they are not only learning how to cook, but also are learning how easy it can be to prepare healthy meals.  For example, when I make omelets, my girls have fun breaking eggs and mixing them in the bowl.  They watch me while I make the omelet and they get to add their favorite ingredients.  Cooking together is a fun family activity- I highly recommend it if you have children!

omelet

Remember men’s health is celebrated in June, but you can promote it all year long by leading a balanced lifestyle including eating well, physical activity, and regular doctor visits.

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)