Eggs fit for human consumption come from chicken and other birds such as the quail, goose, ducks and ostriches. Most eggs however come from chicken and are oval shaped with a shell that can be brown or white.
They are a versatile food and fast to prepare. They can be boiled, fried, poached or incorporated as an ingredient in many other foods such as baked products.
The nutritional value of eggs
Eggs are ranked as one of the most nutritious foods in the planet, packed with protein and eighteen vitamins and minerals. These include:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin A
The origin of eggs
Eggs have been consumed by human beings since the beginning of time. Different types of eggs were eaten from different parts of the world because of the ease in obtaining them.
By 700 BC, chickens were kept by the Chinese and the Indians and thereafter the practice spread to the rest of the world.
At first eggs were eaten raw, but then started to be cooked when human beings begun to use fire which was about a million years ago. At first, people roasted them over an open fire and over time learned to immerse them in boiling water.
Health benefits of eggs
Eggs contain antioxidants which help to counteract the effects of aging on the eyes. These antioxidants have been shown to build up the retina of the eyes.
A leading cause of blindness is a deficiency of Vitamin K. An egg a day will protect your eyes from blindness caused by a lack of Vitamin K as well protect your eyes from cataracts and other disorders of the eyes.
They also contain Vitamin A which lessens your risk of night blindness.
Lowering the risk of heart disease
Cholin, a nutrient present in eggs, helps to break down the amino acid homocysteine, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
Eggs, especially hard boiled eggs provide monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which stabilize blood cholesterol levels, lowering your risk for heart disease.
Eggs also contain Lutein, a nutrient which prevents the progression of heart disease. So you see, the egg has been maligned unfairly in terms of heart disease, when it actually protects your heart when the daily recommended limit of an egg a day is adhered to.
A healthy brain
The vitamins and minerals in eggs help in the proper functioning of body cells including those in the brain.
Cholin, an essential nutrient present in eggs, regulates the brain and the nervous system.
Strong bones and muscles
Eggs contain a lot of protein, which feeds on the muscles decreasing the rate at which they are lost.
The protein in eggs helps to repair of all body tissues as well as provide the structure for the walls of the body cells.
Vitamin D in eggs promotes the absorption and regulation of calcium, ensuring that your bones get the calcium they require.
Protein also aids in the building of blood, cartilage and skin.
A healthy immune system
Eggs contain zinc, which supports the immune system. A deficiency of zinc in the body causes malnutrition and susceptibility to infections especially in children.
Vitamin D is crucial for a healthy immune system and eggs contain adequate quantities if it.
Besides zinc and vitamin D, eggs also contain all the essential amino acids and nonessential ones, which all add up to a strong immune system.
Eggs contain iron and zinc. The zinc helps your body to turn food into energy while iron stops you from feeling weak and tired.
The high protein quantity in eggs make you feel fuller for longer, helping you in your weight loss journey. Studies have shown that people who eat egg based breakfasts ate less lunch and dinner.
Eggs are low in calories and rich in essential nutrients, making them a perfect food for weight loss.
Eggs contain vitamins and minerals like selenium and folate which are necessary for the healthy growth of a baby in the uterus.
Hair and nails
Regular egg consumers report of their hair and nails growing fast and that’s because eggs contain sulphur which promotes growth.
Prevention of breast cancer
Studies have shown that young girls, who ate eggs regularly, protected themselves from contracting breast cancers as adults. Women who eat eggs regularly are at a lower risk of contracting breast cancer than those who don’t consume eggs.
The choline present in eggs is thought to be what offers this protection from cancer as well as the composition of the nutrients in eggs.
Concerns about eggs
Over the years a few concerns have been raised about eggs. Most of them have been proven to be without merit. Here are some of the concerns:
Eggs do contain cholesterol; however the cholesterol in your body is determined by the quantity of saturated fat that you eat rather than from the eggs.
Processed meats like ham, sausages and fatty cats of beef, pork and lamb as well as the skin of chicken contain a lot of saturated fats. To lower your cholesterol levels, look into cutting out from your diet processed foods and convenience foods.
One egg, which is recommended to be eaten per day, contains a third of the daily cholesterol limit.
Raw eggs or partially cooked eggs with a runny yolk can cause food poisoning. This is especially true for groups of people who are vulnerable such as children, pregnant women, ill and elderly people.
The raw eggs may contain Salmonella bacteria, which is destroyed by cooking. If you’re incorporating raw egg into a recipe, a safer option would be to use pasteurised eggs.
To be safe, ensure that your eggs are well cooked before eating them and store them correctly by:
- Storing them in a cool, dry place such as the refrigerator
- Ensuring that they are stored separated from other foods
- Discard eggs with broken shells as they may contain bacteria