All you need to know about … eggs
Eggs have been a staple in the human diet for centuries, but despite this we are still learning new things about their benefits. There are also a lot of myths around eggs including that they are bad for cholesterol levels, that you shouldn’t eat the yolk, that eggs are high in fat and that you shouldn’t eat eggs every day. We’ve gathered all the facts for you and cracked (pardon the pun) the myths to help you make an informed decision.
Loaded with nutrients, some of them hard to come by in other foods, eggs are one of nature’s superfoods. They are packed with 11 different vitamins and minerals in each serving and are a perfect protein source because they contain all nine essential amino acids needed by the body. Add to this the fact that they contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, D, E and B12 plus antioxidants and there’s a pretty good argument for including eggs in your diet.
Most of the protein in eggs is found in the egg white, while the yolk contains healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so if you choose to eat only egg whites, you will be missing out some of the healthy benefit of eggs.
Wondering how often you can eat eggs as part of a healthy diet? The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating recommends daily inclusion of foods from the lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans food group. The amounts needed vary depending on age and gender but the most common recommendation is two and half serves daily; two large eggs (120g) is equal to one serve.
Eggs help increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol as it’s commonly known. Higher levels of HDL can help reduce the risk of heart disease. It's low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol, that can put heart health at risk. Meals high in saturated fats and trans-fats such as deep-fried takeaway foods will increase levels of LDL cholesterol. The National Health & Medical Research Council’s Australian Dietary Guidelines advise that consumption of eggs every day is not associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease.
For those watching their weight, eggs are a great addition to your diet. They can make you feel full by increasing the levels of a hormone that helps you feel satisfied after eating and delaying the rate at which food leaves the stomach. The high satiety levels of eggs leads to greater feelings of satisfaction, less hunger and a lower desire to eat later in the day, meaning you’ll be less inclined to reach for that mid-afternoon snack.
Though you may not have heard of choline, this nutrient plays an important role in our health. It is essential for normal cell functioning and is particularly important during pregnancy to support healthy brain development in the baby. Eggs are one of the best dietary sources of choline.
When buying eggs choose eggs with clean, uncracked shells and choose the egg size that is most useful and economical for your lifestyle. Fresh eggs can be refrigerated for up to six weeks, but always check the use by date on the carton. If you have had eggs in your fridge for a few weeks that are still in date you can use them for baking cakes, quiches or frittatas. They are also great for hard-boiling as older eggs are less likely to have the egg white stick to the shell. Fresher eggs are perfect for poaching and frying as they hold their shape better. If you’re not sure if your eggs are still fresh just pop them in a bowl of water. Fresh eggs will sit at the bottom while bad eggs will float because of the large air cell that forms in their base.