6 Things You Might Not Know About Egg Nutrition
Nutrition is on nearly everyone’s mind these days. Every stage of life defines unique nutrient needs, and nearly every aspect of nutrition has been linked to health and wellness.
Whatever your personal nutrition goals may be, here are some little-known egg nutrition facts you can put to work. How many have you heard?
Egg nutrition nugget #1: The choline in eggs is good for your memory.
Egg yolks are rich in a nutrient you won’t see listed on the nutrition facts label—choline. At 126 mg per large egg yolk, eggs provide this key to nutrition that is crucial for the young and old. During pregnancy, two eggs provide more than half the recommended daily choline intake essential for a baby’s developing nervous system and brain. Later in life, we see choline as a key player again in preserving memory function as we age.
Egg nutrition nugget #2: Most people can eat eggs every day without increasing risk for heart disease.
Today, false assumptions about cholesterol and egg nutrition have been debunked. Egg nutrition researchers who analyzed a huge mound of data reported in the British Medical Journal say, “Higher consumption of eggs (up to one egg per day) is not associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease or stroke.” In fact, they say that egg nutrition can deliver crucial nutrients for cardiovascular health.
Egg nutrition nugget #3: Eggs are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3’s correlate to many health benefits, including a healthier heart, lower blood pressure, reduced risk for dementia, and lower levels of inflammation throughout the body. Explains Dr. James House, PhD, of the Human Nutritional Sciences Department at the University of Manitoba, “A serving of two, classic table eggs provides 65 mg or roughly 50% of the daily suggested amount of the long chain omega-3 fatty acids, based on the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs).”
Egg nutrition nugget #4: Eggs are the gold standard for protein.
The WebMD article, “Good eggs: for nutrition, they’re hard to beat,” reminds us that egg protein is such a perfect match to human health that eggs are the gold standard for protein quality. At just 70 calories, a large egg serves up 6 grams of high biological-value protein. (Biological value is a nutrition term that describes how much of a nutrient actually becomes part of your body.)
Nancy Rodriguez, PHD, RD, CSSD, FACSM, a nutrition professor at the University of Connecticut, sums up the protein perks this way: “Protein is currently a buzz word in health because research shows that an increase in protein intake helps reduce cardiovascular disease risk and Type 2 diabetes, improves muscle strength, and contributes to weight management. By including high quality protein at every meal, you can conserve calories and still get great health benefits.” (USA Today Supplement – Health & Wellness: A Practical Guide to Healthy Living, 9/19/2011)
Egg nutrition nugget #5: Egg nutrition can help prevent the most common nutritional deficiency in the US.
Can you guess what it is? Iron deficiency anemia. The CDC says that kids and women of child-bearing age are among those most at risk for this common condition that causes weakness and can affect mental functions. The CDC recommends eggs (mainly egg yolks) as one of the foods to include in your healthful diet to ensure adequate iron nutrition. So does the National Institutes of Health. While eggs are not as high in iron as meat, routine egg enjoyment adds up. Why not snack on a couple of eggs instead of a low-iron junk food?
Egg nutrition nugget #6: Eggs are nutrient-dense.
“Nutrient density” is another nutrition term that describes what you get for what you spend—when what you’re spending is calories. So say you drink a typical can of soda pop. You get 180 calories, with near-zero levels of healthy nutrition like protein, omega 3’s, vitamins, and iron. If you eat two large eggs, you get 140 calories and a pile of nutrients. So eggs give you more nutrition for what you “spend”.
Here’s another way to look at egg nutrition. According to WebMD, “A large egg represents less than 4% of the daily calorie intake of a person eating 2,000 calories a day; it provides 10% of a person’s daily recommended protein, and valuable iron, B vitamins, and minerals, including the folate recommended for pregnant women.”