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How and why egg is good for you

Eggs lost some of their lustre in the past when doctors began warning against them because of their high cholesterol content. Now, this versatile food has been green lighted again. Eggs are healthier than you thought. Read on to know how

health and fitness Updated: Sep 07, 2012 19:41 IST
Kavita Devgan
Kavita Devgan
Hindustan Times

Eggs lost some of their lustre in the past when doctors began warning against them because of their high cholesterol content. Now, this versatile food has been green lighted again. The guideline is that consumption of eggs should depend on your health: if your cholesterol levels are high, then eat eggs moderately — one to two per week. But if you don't have a cholesterol problem, there is no reason to restrict eggs. Of course, egg whites have zero cholesterol and are okay for everyone.

Egg-stra benefits
Sparkling eyes:
Eggs are packed with the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin (both found in the yolk), which protect the eye against age-related degeneration, and from ultraviolet rays. A research by the National Institutes of Health, USA, shows that people who eat eggs every day have less risk of developing cataract.

Buzzing brain: They are a rich source of choline (an essential B vitamin); an egg contains as much as 125 mg of choline (our daily
requirement is 110 mg).

Healthy heart: The bad-fat rap you have probably heard about eggs is a thing of the past, as new research says that eggs actually contain very little saturated fat. They can, in fact, enhance heart health as the lutein keeps arteries healthy. Of course, you need to cook them healthy —poach, scramble, or make veggie-filled omelettes and, as far as possible, avoid butter and oil.

Superb satiety: A recent study by American scientists proves that eggs tend to satisfy more than a bagel breakfast, with an equal calorie count. That’s because eggs have both fat and protein, which together increase the sense of fullness.

Under the shell
Protein mega dose:
A large egg fulfils 10 per cent of an average person’s daily need for protein. It is easily absorbed by the body and contains all nine essential amino acids (protein building blocks that the body cannot make on its own).

Vitamin boost: Eggs consists of vitamin A, which is essential for good skin and body growth, vitamin D, which strengthens bones by raising calcium absorption. It also contains vitamins E, B 12, and the rare vitamin K.

Minerals: Iron, to help with red blood cell formation; Zinc, for improved immunity; Calcium strengthens bones and teeth; phosphorus, essential for healthy teeth and bones; Iodine, required for making thyroid hormones; Selenium, like vitamin E, protects cells from oxidation.

Eggs are particularly good for women as they provide useful amounts of nutrients, such as iron and zinc, which are often low in their diets.

The cholesterol myth
It is important to understand how cholesterol works. Roughly one-fourth of our body’s blood cholesterol comes from diet, while the body produces three-fourth which is entirely unrelated to the amount of cholesterol we ingest. What this means is that while our dietary intake of cholesterol does impact our blood cholesterol levels, it is fairly insignificant. How much cholesterol our body will produce and how much it will absorb is mostly genetic. So, while it is true that eggs have a lot of dietary cholesterol (about 180 mg per egg), it does not dangerously impact our blood cholesterol levels if we are healthy otherwise. Just stick to the recommended cholesterol intake limit of an average of 300 mg/day.

Quick serving eggs any time of the day
Any hour of the day is right for eggs — for breakfast, a quick nutritious snack, lunch, dinner and dessert or for supper. Try these ideas:

Devilled eggs : Split hard-boiled eggs, and remove and mash the yolks. Add sauce/ seasonings/salsa and fill in the cavities in the egg white.

Hard-boiled eggs: Chop eggs and then mix them with fresh lemon juice and olive oil and spring onions. Add salt and pepper to taste. It makes a healthy and tasty egg salad.

Poached eggs: Place them on top of a slice of whole-grain bread, and in a plate lined with steamed spinach. Top with salsa or any of your favourite
seasonings and enjoy.

Mexican eggs : Place poached eggs on a couple of warm rotis topped with tomato salsa, chopped chillies, coriander leaves and a
couple of avocado slices.

Egg allergies
Allergies caused by eggs are uncommon, but symptoms include diarrhoea, stomach cramps and vomiting after consuming eggs. Those who do have such an allergy must avoid egg products completely.

First Published: Aug 27, 2012 13:46 IST