Eating eggs has been a very controversial subject for years; one minute we are told eggs are bad because of its large cholesterol content, the next minute we are told the cholesterol in eggs do not significantly raise blood cholesterol levels in most people! How is that so?
A lot of studies have found that eating eggs regularly does not cause a remarkable increase in blood cholesterol levels despite its high cholesterol content. Rather, it may improve health, as they contain nutrients difficult to find in other foods such as vitamin D, choline, lutein, zeaxanthins tryptophan, tyrosine among others. It has been found that by decreasing food cholesterol intake you will decrease blood cholesterol by a relatively small extent. For instance decreasing 100mg/day would decrease serum cholesterol by 4mg/dl.
Eggs come in different shapes and sizes, 1 medium egg contains 100mg of cholesterol and a healthy person’s daily limit is 300mg, and 200mg for a diabetic.
Effects of cholesterol from food on heart health greatly depends on preparation method for instance due to the high temperature used in processing dried egg products, powdered milk, grated cheese, processed meat, butter oil, heated butter and lard make them have a negative impact on blood cholesterol. However different people respond differently to eating eggs, and this may be related to genes or state of health. For instance, if you have diabetes or an existing heart condition, you are advised to be cautious with the amount of eggs you consume weekly, moderation is key.
Eggs are delicious, readily available and a cheap source of high quality proteins. Most bird eggs are edible, but in Nigeria we eat more of hen, quail partridge and guinea fowl even though duck, goose, ostrich, emu and turkey eggs are also edible but are more expensive, and ostrich and emu eggs are quite large and can be as big as 13cm or more in diameter and weigh between 1 and 1.3 kg! Five quail eggs equals 1 large chicken egg, duck eggs are larger, richer and of course has more cholesterol than chicken egg. Boiling duck egg turns the white bluish and the yolk red-orange. The content of turkey egg is similar to chicken only larger and much more expensive.
An egg is composed of high quality proteins, it contains all the amino acids necessary for the body’s metabolic processes and a large number of important vitamins and minerals. An egg is usually described as having two basic parts: the white and the yolk. The white is approximately 87% water and 13% protein, and contains both vitamins and minerals. The yolk is about 50% water, 33% fat, and 17% protein; like the white, it also contains both vitamins and minerals.
One medium egg has 78 calories, 186 milligrams cholesterol, 184 of them in the yolk, 1.6 grams saturated fat in the yolk.
Type of eggs
Egg may be described based on the way birds that lay them were raised:
- free range –have the freedom to move around, and eat whatever –grains, slugs, worms, insects, and grass then come home to roost
- nutrient enriched – birds are feed omega 3 essential fats to boost the eggs’ contents
- pasture raised
- caged – the birds stay in a little spot and feed mainly on grains and whatever remnant of food the farmer feeds it
Most of the eggs we eat in Nigeria are from caged bird, only a few subsistence farmers sell free range eggs. Old layers used to be free range until demand exceeded supply thus poultry farming became a big commercial venture and space constraints in urban areas does not allow free range farming. The best eggs are from free range birds, egg quality thus depends on what the birds are feed. Hens should be vaccinated against Salmonella to prevent food poisoning associated with raw, half boiled or runny eggs.
Uses of eggs
- Bird eggs are very versatile, and have been eaten as food for centuries by the ancient Egyptians who domesticated wild fowls for their eggs as early as 3200BC.
- Eggs glue/bind mixtures together, enrich flavour and beating egg whites provide volume. Think of the difference between the ‘chin-chin’ and pan-cakes made with eggs and the ones made without.
- Eggs are nutrient-rich food, beneficial for health and well-being; The following are also found in eggs:
- Choline is needed for brain development in a growing foetus and may also be important for brain function in adults
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin prevent eye diseases, especially cataracts and age-related macular degeneration
- Vitamin D – important for the bones and teeth, also aids the absorption of calcium, which is important for heart and colon health as well as nerve conduction.
- Tryptophan is an important precursor of serotonin, which helps regulate your mood
- Tyrosine synthesizes two key neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine, which promote alertness and mental activity.
- Eggs can be used to build and repair muscle tear from exercise
- Egg whites are used to create firming face mask for non-surgical facelifts. It is also used to hydrate, condition and soften coarse hair as well as condition the scalp.
The French bride broke an egg on the doorstep before entering her new home to assure a large family
Eggs are nutrient-rich food, beneficial for health and well-being. Eating eggs regularly does not cause a remarkable increase in blood cholesterol levels despite its high cholesterol content. Rather, it may improve health, as they contain nutrients such as vitamin D which are difficult to find in other foods. However different people respond differently to eating eggs, and this may be related to genes or state of health.
Eggs come in different shapes and sizes, 1 medium egg contains 100mg of cholesterol and a healthy person’s daily limit is 300mg, and 200mg for a diabetic. As always, moderation is key.
Do you have questions? Please post your comments.
Wishing you good health and happiness,