Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wholesome Wednesdays: The Incredible Edible Egg

Eggs have gotten both good and bad wraps in the last few decades. I tend to think of eggs as this:
Great for you in moderation when they are sourced from healthy, well managed chickens. Don't eat them in every meal, but give your body a well deserved protein boost and tap into those good fats when the mood strikes you. And of course, if you know you have cholesterol problems, maybe lay off the eggs most of the time - but certainly don't ban them from your diet altogether (see last paragraph).

The "American Egg Board" says this about eggs:
For only 70 calories each, eggs are rich in nutrients. They contain, in varying amounts, almost every essential vitamin and mineral needed by humans as well as several other beneficial food components. Egg protein is the standard by which other protein sources are measured. A large egg contains over six grams of protein. A large egg has 4.5 grams of fat, only 7% of the daily value. Only one-third (1.5) grams is saturated fat and 2 grams are mono-unsaturated fat.
The American Heart Association has amended its guidelines on eggs! There is "no longer a specific recommendation on the number of egg yolks a person may consume in a week."
Well that all sounds very nice. Why then does Calorie count. com give eggs only a C+ ? I guess the con of egg's inclusion of 75% our daily cholesterol is kind of a buzz kill. For more answers I plan on doing some research at the Egg Nutrition Center. Visit their site for yourself for scads of information.
They reiterate the eggseptional qualities of the egg:
With all the media attention on cholesterol, consumers often lose sight of the fact that eggs are a nutrient rich, affordable contributor to a healthy diet. Not only do eggs contain the highest quality source of protein available but they also contain almost every essential vitamin and mineral needed by humans. In fact, egg protein is of such high quality that it is used as the standard by which other proteins are compared. Eggs have a biological value (efficacy with which protein is used for growth) of 93.7%. Comparable values are 84.5% for milk, 76% for fish, and 74.3% for beef. Eggs really are the best protein money can buy, and it has all those other valuable vitamins and minerals too.

But what about the cholesterol?? I would rather not take all the yolks out of my eggs when cooking them, and i certainly don't plan on desisting my homemade mayo consumption. On looking in my copy of Nourishing Traditions, there is oft mention of the benefits of eggs in the diet and the much smaller negative impact they have on the blood cholesterol levels compared to impact that the consumption of red meat has.
Properly produced eggs are rich in just about every nutrient we have yet discovered, especially fat-soluble vitamins A an dD. Eggs also provide sulphur-containing proteins, necessarey for the integrity of cell membranes. They are an excellent source of special long-chain fatty acids called EPA and DHA, which play a vital role in the development of the nervous system in the infant and the maintenance of mental acuity in the adult.
I need all the help i can get in maintaining my mental acuity!
NT goes on to describe the superior quality and nutrient content of eggs from well managed, truly free ranged hens, with much better fatty acid profiles including the great Omega-6 (again, good brain food).

The bulk of the research i can find stresses that dietary intake of cholesterol, and the reduction of that intake, does not necessarily make a huge difference on the cholesterol in your body. Cutting out eggs isn't going to do the trick, in other words.  If you have cholesterol issues there may be many other ways of reducing your body's levels than simply reducing your dietary intake. I am no doctor, i'm just someone who likes to eat eggs and who has perfectly normal cholesterol. I personally think you would be much better off cutting out all or most of your red meat intake than cutting out eggs. They're cheaper, they're better for you and the environment (if sourced from properly managed flocks), and they're so versatile. Look at this beautiful pasta i made from freshly laid eggs and harvested herbs yesterday.

So, here's to your health! Tomorrow, recipe for egg salad= perhaps not the best recipe for weight loss, but full of the good fats, and quite satisfying.

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