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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Building Stronger, Healthier Bones with Nutrition


Calcium is a popular supplement, especially among women trying to prevent osteoporosis. In recent years, new science is calling into question some long-standing beliefs about calcium supplementation causing health professionals to wonder if it may do more harm than good.  A 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that calcium supplements did not reduce fracture rates among older woman, and may even be associated with increased rate of hip fractures.[1]

Another area where the research is inconclusive is in the relationship between dietary intake of calcium and heart disease.  An analysis involving 12,000 men published in JAMA Internal Medicine reported that intakes of more than 1,000mg supplemental calcium per day (from multivitamins or individual supplements) were associated with a 20% increase in the risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD). They authors of this study hypothesize that the surge in calcium in the blood after supplementation may facilitate the calcification of arteries, whereas calcium obtained from food is absorbed at slower rates and in smaller quantities than from supplements.[2]

As health professionals we have a responsibility to teach patients and clients how to obtain nutrients from foods first, particularly since the scientific jury is out on this and other types of nutrient supplementation. Calcium can be found in a wide variety of foods like dairy products, sardines, salmon and dark leafy greens. Vitamin D is also imperative for bone health in conjunction with calcium because it promotes calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentration to enable normal mineralization of bone.[3] Eggs are one of the few foods that are naturally a good source of vitamin D, meaning one egg provides at least 10 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), so an egg is a great food to serve in combination with calcium-rich foods.[4]  Each serving of the recipe below is an excellent source of calcium with a vitamin D boost since it pairs eggs with calcium containing cheese and spinach.

Mini Breakfast Egg, Tomato & Spinach Flatbread Pizzas

Serves: 4-6

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

6 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. finely shredded Parmesan cheese
4 individual round flatbreads (6-inch diameter) or 3 oval flatbreads (6×8-inches)
2 tsp. olive oil (optional)
1 cup grape or cherry tomato halves
½ cup thinly slices spinach or basil leaves
¾ cup shredded Italian cheese blend

Step 1: Heat oven to 450°F. Coat large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat until hot
Step 2: Beat eggs and parmesan cheese in medium bowl until blended. Pour eggs into skillet. 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 some visible liquid egg remains. Do not stir constantly. Do not overcook.
Step 3: Place flatbread on baking sheet; lightly brush top side with oil, if desired. Top with scrambled eggs, tomatoes and spinach, dividing evenly. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Sprinkle with Italian cheese blend.
Step 4: Bake in 450°F oven until cheese is melting, about 5 to 6 minutes. Sprinkle with red pepper, if desired. Cut each pizza into 4 pieces, serve immediately.

Nutrition Information:

Per Serving

Excellent Source: Protein, Vitamin A, Calcium and Choline

Good Source: Vitamin D, Folate and Iron

Calories: 343; Total Fat: 15 g; Saturated fat: 6 g; Polyunsaturated fat: 2 g; Monounsaturated fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 296 mg; Sodium: 601 mg; Carbohydrates: 30 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Protein: 20 g; Vitamin A: 1166.5 IU; Vitamin D: 62 IU; Folate: 44.6 mcg; Calcium: 236.4 mg; Iron: 3 mg; Choline: 223.8 mg

[1] Bischoff-Ferrari H, et al. Calcium intake and hip fracture risk in men and women: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies and randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007; 86(6): 1780-1790

[2] Xiao Q, et al. Dietary and Supplemental Calcium Intake and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality The National Institutes of Health – AARP Diet and Health Study. JAMA Intern Med. 2013; 173(8): 639-646

[3] Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin D

[4]US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, 2011.USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23. Online. Available at: Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page, Accessed September 19, 2013.


Friday News Round-Up from Health Professionals

It’s always great to see HP’s in the news sharing interesting health information and advice on how people can improve their lifestyles. Here are a couple of articles that we spotted this week:

Did anyone else find any health and nutrition news particularly interesting this week?

Vitamin D: Sun, Skin & Food

It’s that time of year when the summer “glow” begins to fade as fall is right around the corner.


With the days getting shorter and many people establishing new, busy routines for the school year, time spent outside starts to dwindle, so it’s important to remind clients about vitamin D intake. As we’ve discussed in a previous post, Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to enable normal mineralization of bone. Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Aside from supporting bone health, vitamin D has other roles in the body, including modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, and reduction of inflammation.1

Sun exposure is the primary source of vitamin D for most people. It is produced endogenously when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. Whether getting this vitamin from sun exposure, food, or supplements, it is biologically inert and must undergo two hydroxylations in the body for activation. The first occurs in the liver and converts vitamin D to 25-hydroxyvitamin D, also known as calcidol. The second occurs primarily in the kidney and forms the physiologically active form of the vitamin, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, also known as calcitriol.

During certain times of the year the angle of the sun may be insufficient to synthesize vitamin D and sun exposure is limited. This is especially true in the northern latitudes during winter months, like where we are here at ENC! Good news is that vitamin D can come from the foods that we eat. Eggs are one of the few foods that are a naturally good source of vitamin D, meaning that one egg provides at least 10 percent of the Daily Value (DV). Other sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, beef liver, and fortified dairy foods.2

This kid-friendly recipe for Scrambled Mini Pizzas provides a good source of Vitamin D and is perfect for a quick meal on the go, or a nutritious after-school snack.

Scrambled Mini Pizzas

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes


2 tsp. vegetable oil 1-1/2 cups chopped green OR red bell peppers ½ cup chopped onion 1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning 4 EGGS ¼ cup milk ½ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (2oz.), Divided ½ cup pizza sauce 4 English muffins, split, toasted Directions:

Step 1: Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add bell peppers, onions and Italian seasoning; sauté until tender, 3 to 4 minutes Step 2: Beat eggs and milk in medium bowl until blended. Pour over vegetables in skillet; sprinkle with ¼ cup cheese. Reduce heat to medium. 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 heat Step 3: Spread 1 Tbsp. pizza sauce on each muffin half. Top with eggs, remaining cheese, dividing evenly.

Nutrition Information Per Serving

Excellent Source: Protein, Folate, Calcium and Choline

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

Calories: 313; Total Fat: 12 g; Saturated fat: 4 g; Polyunsaturated fat: 2 g; Monounsaturated fat: 4 g; Cholesterol: 196 mg; Sodium: 478 mg; Carbohydrates: 35 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 g; Protein: 16 g; Vitamin A: 801.7 IU; Vitamin D: 50.6 IU; Folate: 80.4 mcg; Calcium: 206.4 mg; Iron: 2.9 mg; Choline: 134.4 mg


1)       Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2010.
2)       Ovesen L, Brot C, Jakobsen J. Food contents and biological activity of 25-hydroxyvitamin D: a vitamin D metabolite to be reckoned with? Ann Nutr Metab 2003; 47:107-13.

Focus on Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral that is found naturally in some foods and fortified in others. In the body, zinc is required for the functioning of more than 300 different enzymes and plays a pivotal role in a large number of biological processes such as cellular metabolism and immune function. Zinc also supports normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood and adolescence and is required for proper functioning of the senses of taste and smell.1

With all the important roles zinc plays in the body, it is important for health professionals to be mindful of zinc intake, particularly among patients in at-risk populations or in those who eliminate certain foods from their diet such as vegetarians.   According to NHANES III most infants, children, and adults consume the recommended amounts of zinc. However, according to the same study, some evidence suggests that zinc intakes among older adults might be marginal. NHANES III found that 35-45% of adults aged 60 years or older had zinc intakes below the estimated average requirement of 6.8mg/day for elderly females and 9.4 mg/day for elderly males.2

Aside from older adults, vegetarians are also a group at risk for zinc deficiency. Meat is a high bioavailable source of zinc, while legumes and whole grains contain phytates that bind to zinc and inhibit its absorption. Since vegetarians avoid meat and typically eat proportionally more legumes and whole grains, it is important to analyze patients’ diets and possibly recommend ways in increase zinc.3 Eggs can be a good option for vegetarians who consume them. They are a source of high-quality protein and also contain 4% of the Daily Value of Zinc. While this Daily Value may be relatively low compared to other foods, by pairing eggs with other zinc containing foods, such as low-fat dairy the meal can provide both high-quality protein and zinc. We suggest scrambling 2 eggs with one ounce of Swiss cheese  and  pairing with a glass of low-fat milk to provide almost 24% DV of zinc!4


1)Sandstead HH. Understanding zinc: recent observations and interpretations. J Lab Clin Med 1994;124:322-7.

2)Ervin RB, Kennedy-Stephenson J. Mineral intakes of elderly adult supplement and non-supplement users in the third national health and nutrition examination survey. J Nutr 2002;132:3422-7.

3)Hunt JR. Bioavailability of iron, zinc, and other trace minerals from vegetarian diets. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78 (3 Suppl):633S-9S

4)Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2011. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 24. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page,

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


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


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


1) Zieve, D. (2013, June 23). Potassium in diet: Medlineplus. Retrieved from

2) Higdon, J. (2004, February). Micronutrient information center: Potassium. Retrieved from

3) U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2012. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 25. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page,