Eggs Are Good For You

Tuesday, October 24, 2006 - 1:12pm

By Heidi Reichenberger McIndoo, MS, RD

Labeled as unhealthy in the '80s, eggs are still misunderstood 20 years later. While high-protein dieters are love them, people following low-fat diets or who are concerned about their cholesterol levels often avoid eggs altogether. If you’re not eating eggs, you’re missing out on one of nature’s great nutrition powerhouses. Yes, eggs contain a good amount of dietary cholesterol. But remember, saturated fat—not cholesterol—substantially impacts blood cholesterol levels. A recent study showed that eating eggs regularly along with a healthy, low-fat/low-saturated fat diet did not negatively affect LDL-cholesterol or heart disease risk.

Reasons to eat eggs

In addition to being inexpensive, convenient and delicious, eggs pack quite a nutritional punch. Here are a few reasons many experts say the benefits of eggs outweigh their cholesterol content:

1.   Eggs are high in vitamins and minerals.

One large egg contains 251 milligrams of choline—more than half of a woman’s daily requirements. An essential nutrient especially for pregnant women and women of childbearing age, choline plays a key role in the brain development of unborn babies and even affects their memory later in life.

Eggs are also a rich source of vitamin K. One large egg contains 25 micrograms about one-third of the daily recommended amount for women. Vitamin K is a key nutrient in blood clotting.

2.   Eggs are nutritious and low in calories

In its own nature-made single-serve container one large egg contains just 75 calories. Eggs are an efficient little nutrition package. How we choose to handle that package and what we choose to eat it with make or break its nutritional value.

A dozen ways to add eggs to your diet

  1. For a quick and easy lunch, scramble an egg with some low-fat cheese and chopped veggies. Microwave a potato and top your egg mixture.

  2. Make a spinach salad by mixing one cup of baby spinach, a cooked and crumbled strip of veggie or turkey bacon, and a chopped hard-boiled egg. Drizzle a light sweet-n-sour dressing on top.
  3. Choosing French toast instead of pancakes provides one whole egg.
  4. When you want a sweet treat, try a slice of lemon meringue pie but skip the high-fat crust. With the yolks in the filling and the whites in the meringue, each slice contains almost one whole egg.
  5. Warm up on a cold day with a steaming bowl of Italian Stracciatella soup. To make 2 servings, bring one can of low-sodium chicken broth to a boil, add 8 ounces refrigerated tortellini, simmer 10 minutes until tortellini is cooked, slowly stir in 2 well-beaten eggs. Serve immediately. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese, if desired. For an extra nutrient boost, stir in 4 ounces of frozen chopped spinach before adding the tortellini.
  6. Have eggs for dinner—try quiche or a frittata. To keep fat content in check, skip the crust and use reduced-fat cheese.
  7. For a weekend brunch have Spanish-style eggs Benedict: Top the eggs with salsa instead of hollandaise sauce.
  8. Next time you’re in the mood for pudding, try custard (which is similar to pudding but prepared with eggs instead).
  9. At the salad bar, skip the bacon bits, croutons and cheese and top your greens with a sliced or chopped hard-boiled egg.
  10. One 8-ounce glass of eggnog is equivalent to one egg. To save on calories, prepare it with skim or low-fat milk.
  11. For a quick and easy side-dish: Add chopped veggies to cooked rice. Pour beaten eggs on top and scramble. Sprinkle on some reduced-fat cheese before serving.
  12. Add a chopped hard-boiled egg to tuna salad for an extra shot of nutrition.