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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What’s for Dinner Wednesdays: A Slice of the Sunshine Vitamin

With days growing shorter and fall approaching, it becomes increasingly difficult for many Americans to meet their vitamin D requirements.  Research shows 40 percent of people 65 years of age and older, even those living in sunny climates, are not getting enough vitamin D. So, today’s post focuses on a very “sunny” side of eggs—their natural vitamin D content.

Eggs are one of the few foods that are a naturally good source of vitamin D, which plays an important role in calcium absorption, helping to form and maintain strong bones.  The USDA recently reviewed the egg nutrient data and results show that one Grade A, large egg contains 41 IU of vitamin D, 65 percent higher than the amount reported in the last nutrient analysis. One large egg provides 10 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin D. Other natural dietary sources of vitamin D include fatty fish and fish oils, beef liver, mushrooms and fortified milk. Some brands of orange juice, margarine and other products can also contain added vitamin D.

Adding more vitamin D, along with high-quality protein and 12 other essential vitamins and minerals is simple with eggs, and below is one of our favorite recipes—Italian Vegetable Custard. This dish is especially perfect for anyone with an abundance of tomatoes and zucchini in their garden this time of year. While one serving (1/4 of the recipe) already provides about 10% of the DV, boost vitamin D content further by adding a half cup of your favorite mushrooms which also naturally contain vitamin D.


Italian Vegetable Custard

Makes 4 servings

What You Need

  • 4 EGGS
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups coarsely shredded yellow summer squash
  • 1 cup coarsely shredded zucchini
  • 1 can (2.25 oz.) sliced 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 Monterrey Jack cheese (2 oz.)

Here’s How

  1. HEAT oven to 450°F. BEAT eggs and flour in medium bowl until smooth. ADD yellow squash, zucchini and 1/4 cup olives; mix well. SPREAD in greased 8-inch square baking pan.
  2. BAKE in center of 450°F oven just until custard is set, about 10 minutes.
  3. 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 Info (Per Serving)

calories: 237, total fat: 12g, saturated fat: 5g, cholesterol: 201mg, sodium: 424mg, carbohydrates: 19g, dietary fiber: 2g, protein: 14g, vitamin A: 727.9IU, vitamin D: 41.7IU, folate: 83.4mcg, calcium: 110.8mg, iron: 2.6mg, choline: 138.7mg

Fun Fact Friday: Looking Closer at Eggs and Eye Health

Did you know that August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month as well as National Cataract Awareness Month? In honor of these eye health observances, we’re taking a closer look at the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin.

Lutein and zeaxanthin, both members of the carotenoid family, are antioxidants found in egg yolks 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, causing blurred or distorted vision and is a leading cause of blindness. While eggs contain small amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, research shows that these nutrients may be more bioavailable from eggs than that from sources with higher content, including supplements.

Two studies published in the Journal of Nutrition found that consuming one egg a day can significantly increase lutein and zeaxanthin levels in the blood without negatively impacting blood cholesterol or lipid levels. For more information on nutrients related to eye health, check out the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s suggestions for fantastic foods to keep your eyes healthy!


  1. Chung HY, et al. Lutein bioavailability is higher from lutein-enriched eggs than from supplements and spinach in men. JN 2004;134:1887-1893.
  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; 136:2519-2524.
  3. Waters D, et al. Change in plasma lutein after egg consumption is positively associated with plasma cholesterol and lipoprotein size but negatively correlated with body size in postmenopausal women. JN 2007; 137(4):959-63.

What’s For Dinner Wednesday: Dietary Sources of Vitamin D

Like me, you have probably taken note of the great deal of attention health media give to vitamin D research. It’s no wonder when recent studies suggest that vitamin D may provide protection from osteoporosis, hypertension (high blood pressure), cancer and several autoimmune diseases. As a result, many people ask me how they can get more vitamin D out of their diet. I imagine I am not the only health professional to face this question from clients/patients, so I hope this week’s recipe can serve as an example that is shareable with all.

Vitamin D can be found in several dietary sources – the flesh of fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel), eggs, fortified milk and fish liver oils. Many people don’t associate eggs with vitamin D when in fact, one large egg contains 10 percent of the daily value. To that end, eggs are an easy addition to many meals to boost vitamin D. Below is one of my favorite quick and easy meals that provides 26.55 percent of the daily value of vitamin D.

Scrambled Egg, Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Panini

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 4 minutes

Makes: 2 paninis



2 Tbsp Water


2 Slices mozzarella cheese (1-1/2 oz.)

4 Slices tomato

6 Fresh basil leaves

4 Slices whole wheat bread


1. HEAT panini press according to manufacturer’s directions. BEAT eggs and water in microwave-safe bowl until blended.MICROWAVE on HIGH 45 seconds; stir. MICROWAVE until eggs are almost set, 30 to 45 seconds longer.

SEASON with pepper.

2. LAYER cheese, tomato, basil and scrambled eggs evenly on two bread slices. COVER with remaining bread.

3. GRILL sandwiches in panini press, on medium-high heat, until bread is toasted and cheese is melted, about 2 minutes.

Add a glass (1 cup) of skim milk and a cup of green grapes for a complete meal!

Nutrition Facts:
For complete meal

469 calories

11 g total fat

5 g saturated fat

2 g polyunsaturated fat

4 g monounsaturated fat

202 mg cholesterol

583 mg sodium

65 g carbohydrate

6 g dietary fiber

29 g protein

1,412.1 IU Vitamin A

2.2 mcg Vitamin B12

159.3 IU Vitamin D

75.9 mcg folate

564.5 mg calcium

3.1 mg iron

997.9 mg potassium

192.9 mg choline

“What’s for Dinner?” Wednesday: Getting your Iron

This week, let’s talk about iron. Iron is an essential mineral for the human body because it helps to make our blood cells. Specifically, iron is needed to make oxygen-carrying proteins called hemoglobin in our red blood cells. It also helps to make myoglobin, which is found in our muscles.

Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for Iron

  • Males – 8 mg/d
  • Females (age 19-50 y) – 18 mg/d
  • Females (age >50 y) – 8 mg/d
  • Pregnancy – 27 mg/d

For women, pregnancy is an important time for mothers to ensure they are getting enough iron; otherwise babies can develop iron deficiency. Iron is important in organ-system development, especially for the brain. Interestingly, a recent study showed stress experienced by mothers early in pregnancy is another risk factor for iron deficiency in newborns.

Eggs, spinach, lean meats and shellfish are all sources of iron. To get some iron, try a stir-fry for dinner tonight!

Chicken and Egg with Unfried Brown Rice

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

2 tsp Vegetable oil
1/2 lb Boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1/4 cup Sliced green onions
2 Cloves garlic, minced
3 cups Mixed vegetables (sliced carrots, broccoli florets, bell pepper strips, pea pods, sliced cabbage)
2 tbsp Water
2 cups Cooked brown rice, warm
1/3 cup Chopped fresh basil leaves or cilantro (optional)
1/4 cup Prepared orange ginger or classic stir-fry sauce

1. HEAT oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. ADD chicken strips; cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes until outside surface is browned. Remove and keep warm. ADD green onions and garlic to skillet; cook and stir I minute. ADD vegetables; cook and stir until vegetables are crisp tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and keep warm.

2. Meanwhile BEAT eggs and water until blended. REDUCE heat to medium. POUR eggs into skillet. As eggs begin to set, GENTLY PULL the eggs across the pan with an inverted turner. CONTINUE cooking until eggs are thickened and no visible liquid egg remains. Do not stir constantly.

3. ADD brown rice, basil, stir-fry sauce, reserved chicken and vegetables to skillet; stir to combine. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through.

Nutrition Information (Per serving)

Calories: 322
Fat: 10g
Saturated fat: 2g
Monounsaturated fat: 4g
Polyunsaturated fat: 2g
Protein: 23g
Carbohydrate: 33g
Fiber: 4g
Cholesterol: 222mg
Iron: 2.3mg
Sodium: 276mg
Calcium: 73.8mg

Introducing FUN FACT FRIDAYS! A large, whole egg measures about three tablespoons

Recently, all of us eggheads over at ENC decided to create special weekly blog entries that provide a fun fact about egg nutrition. And so, Fun Fact Fridays was hatched! We hope you learn new things about the incredible nutritional value of eggs and return each week for a new fact!

Did you know a large, whole egg measures about three tablespoons? It’s true!  The egg white makes up two tablespoons of liquid, while the yolk is one tablespoon. Don’t be fooled, though, the yolk is the true powerhouse of the egg as it contains the most nutrients. In fact, egg yolks contain seven vitamins – B6, folate, B-12, A, D, E and K. When it comes to minerals, the yolk also contains the majority of most found in eggs. For example, 93 percent of an egg’s iron is in the yolk, while a mere seven percent is in the egg white. Egg yolks also contain vital nutrients like carotenoids for eye health and choline, a little-known but essential nutrient that contributes to fetal brain development and helps prevent birth defects.

So, the next time you eat an egg, don’t skip the yolk!