Egg – A Wonder Food

Today the eggs are being recognized for their outstanding nutritional qualities. Very few foods, like mother’s milk, offer the complete array of nutrition vital for life. Besides a bulk bag of essential vitamins minerals and other nutrients, the buzz surrounding the egg is the purported benefit of protein. These are the proteins of the highest quality one can buy. On the evaluation scale nutritionists peg the egg protein at the highest point, 100 and it serves as the standard reference for assessing the protein quality of other foods. Eggs are ideal for those who are calorie conscious. A medium egg weighs about 60 grams, provides 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat that yields an energy equivalent of 75 calories, which corresponds to about 4 % of our average energy requirement.

Proud Of Protein

Protein is one of the most abundant components of the body. More than 50 percent of the body’s dry weight is made up of protein. Some of the dietary proteins (called first class protein or complete protein) are rich in all the essential amino acids and second class proteins or incomplete proteins lack one or more essential amino acids and aren’t as effective, but still useful.

Usually they are recommended to be mixed and matched so that all proteins are achieved. Egg tops the list as an example of first class protein that contains all the amino acids required by the human body! Moreover, they are present in a pattern that closely matches the pattern the body needs. An average egg yields 6.5 gms of protein or 12.5 % of the weight of the egg is protein, which meets about 12 to 14 % of the requirement of an average person. It is concentrated in the yolk but most of it is to be found in the albumen.

The Valuable Vitamins

Except for Vitamin C (which the chicken can produce later from food that it consumes), an egg contains varying amounts of 13 vitamins. Egg is a good source of B vitamins, vitamin A, enough of vitamin D (the egg yolk is one of the few foods that contain vitamin D) and some Vitamin E as well.

Most of the Minerals & Trace Elements

Eggs offer us most of the minerals that the body needs. Eggs are an excellent source of phosphorus and iodine. A single egg replenishes us with around 19 % of our daily needs of both these essential minerals. Phosphorus, stored in bones and teeth, is vital for bone mineralization and makes up the structure of the bone. Iodine’s function in the body is limited to the production of thyroid hormones, which, in turn plays an important role in production of energy. Zinc and selenium found in a single egg are good enough to cover 10 % of our daily requirements for both these trace elements. Iron found in a single egg account for around 7 to 11 % of our daily needs. Calcium and sodium found in a single egg takes care of 4 to 4.5 % of our daily requirements.

Potassium, copper and chlorine account of about 3 % of our daily needs obtained from a single egg. Potassium is necessary for muscular contractions, including that of the heart. It also helps in blood sugar level maintenance.

Copper is a trace element, essential for healthy growth, liver and brain functions. Choline is not a vitamin but an essential nutrient found in eggs. It is important for memory and brain development. A single egg yields almost half of our daily requirements.

Cholesterol, Fats & Egg

The total fat content in an egg is around 5 grams, which is almost 11 % of the egg content. Out of this, almost 3.5 grams is healthier unsaturated form. Eggs are relatively low in saturates. Moreover, research reveals that dietary cholesterol has very little effect or impact on blood cholesterol.

The American Heart Association recommends a dietary cholesterol intake of 300 mg/day and therefore there is enough room for “an egg a day” program. A single egg accounts for 213 mg of cholesterol or 71 % of the daily-recommended limit for healthy people. If one is sensitive to diet cholesterol, he can still enjoy the unlimited egg whites, as they don’t contain any cholesterol or fats. Fats have further been cut down and other aspects of nutrition enhanced to suit the precise needs. Choices include organic eggs, vegetarian eggs, Omega 3 enhanced eggs, vitamin enhanced eggs, etc.

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