Food of the Week: Egg
This is going to be egg – citing stuff… 🙂
The egg is arguably the number one superfood based upon its awesome nutritional profile. Just think, one egg is enough to turn a baby chick into a chicken… so they must be full of pretty clever stuff.
Protein, vitamins, minerals, fat and cholesterol make the humble egg almost a complete meal all by itself.
One egg holds about 6g of protein. The very best part of this is that an egg is a complete protein. Our bodies need 9 “essential” amino acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lycine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine) for muscle and tissue repair and function and 4 “non-essential” (alanine, aspartic acid and glutamic acid).
We can survive without these fellas, and the body is pretty darn awesome at breaking up amino’s and synthesising them into the formats we need for repairing and rebuilding…hence the idea that some are not essential.
The mighty egg contains all nine essential amino’s, and three out of four of the non-essential. In addition an egg has 6 “semi-essential” as well (arginine, cysteine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine) bringing it to a grand total of 18 amino acids. Phew! That’s a lot of nutrients!
Loaded with protein, the white is also rich in vitamins B2, B6, B12 (vital for energy release), vitamin D and selenium. Minerals we need in micro quantities such as iron, copper and zinc are also present in rich quantities.
What a yolk…
Eggs are awesome sources of cholesterol, vitamins A, D, E, K and lecithin. Vitamin D is vital for healthy bones, something which a lot of us have low levels of. The suns rays help catalyse a chemical action in the body to help us synthesise more, but in the UK, this only happens late June-September meaning we need to use our diet to keep levels up.
Rich is riboflavin and folic acid, eggs also contains betaine and choline. While less well known, these guys are mega important for brain function and the structure of cell membranes … egg-cellent (sorry 🙂 )
What a good egg…
There’s been a lot of media talk about cholesterol and eggs and negative links to heart disease.
Let’s get this clear, saturated fats and trans fat are the baddies… cholesterol in eggs cannot transform into cholesterol in our bodies, and in fact plays an important role in building cells.
Remember there are good and bad lipoproteins associated with cholesterol. Eggs help us maintain the levels of the good (High Density Lipoprotein) and don’t increase the bad (Low Density Lipoprotein). Scientific evidence shows that infact they can positively change the molecular structure of the LDL too!
The two antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin along with vitamin A are big players in eye health. Getting enough of these bad boys can seriously reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration… eggs have them all 🙂
Finally let’s touch on the heart. Eggs rich in omega-3 lower the blood level of triglycerides. The link between heart disease and high levels of triglycerides in the blood is well documented.
Not all eggs are created equal… first the chicken, then the egg…
So by now we can all agree eggs are awesome. They are an egg – cellent (last time, I promise 🙂 ) example of how “we are what we eat”. Eggs are loaded in healthy fats, protein and nutrients to help us build healthy cells. So everything the chicken who laid the egg ate is transformed into the small-shelled-wonder… which in turn, enters our digestive system and becomes us.
Long story short… if you buy cheap battery, barn or mass produced eggs, you’re consuming an egg from an unhealthy and unhappy bird trapped in a cage with hundreds of other birds, with no natural daylight or access to the outside, which has been fed cheap manmade feed loaded with antibiotics and chemicals to prolong the birds life and unnaturally stimulate the highest egg yield possible. Not cool.
On the other hand… purchase organic, free range eggs and you are guaranteed an egg from a bird living the high life. A happy chick who can freely roam, has access to grass and a pasture environment, as is fed a chemical free grain, often enhanced with omega-3 to improve the egg quality even more. Happy times 🙂
Which do you want making it’s way into your body…? Yes you pay more, but when you compare not only the nutrient value, but also the taste, colour, texture… there is no comparison.
I do harp on about organics… but I urge you if you buy nothing else, always, always, always buy your eggs, and dairy (milk, butter, cream) organic. Don’t let the chemicals and drugs pumped into birds and beasts, make their way into your bodies too.
How do you like your eggs?
There are so many ways to enjoy your eggs…
Hardboiled, poached, fried, scrambled… if you can use coconut oil when you fry, it’s a healthier alternative 🙂
Chop hardboiled egg into salads
Slice hardboiled egg onto toast with avocado
Add a whole raw egg onto your homemade pizza before it hits the oven
Top a fish cake or stuffed portobello mushroom with a poached egg
Load a sweet potato with scrambled egg
Stir pesto into scrambled egg