Healthy Easter Eggs!

The Easter weekend is nearly upon us, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about the value of eggs in the diet. While a number of clients may need to avoid eggs due to allergy or intolerance, for the majority of people eggs can provide a valuable source of protein and micro-nutrients. Eggs are also incredibly versatile in the number of ways they can be both used as meals or included with other foods.

After years of being told to go carefully with eggs, we now know that cholesterol in eggs does not have an unhealthy impact on blood cholesterol levels. In fact a study has shown that egg yolks contain two amino acids (Tryptophan and Tyrosine) with potent antioxidant properties, which are important actually for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Tryptophan is also an important precursor to the brain chemical serotonin, which helps regulate your mood, while tyrosine synthesises two key neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine, which promote alertness and mental activity.

Egg yolks are also a rich source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which belong to the carotenoid family of nutrients. These two antioxidants are important in reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration; often stated as the most common cause of blindness.

I am frequently asked whether there really is any reason to purchase organic food. The research consistently shows that there are many benefits in eating organic produce – from reducing the toxic pesticide residue (especially important for children), and avoiding antibiotics and hormones in meat, to gaining the advantage of increased nutritional content. And eggs are no exception to this. Compared to factory farmed eggs, organic eggs provide:

2/3 more vitamin A
2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
3 times more vitamin E
7 times more beta carotene
The increased omega 3 content of organic eggs makes these a particularly helpful choice if your child (or you) doesn’t like oily fish. While in this situation I would encourage getting some oily fish into the diet in a disguised way (e.g. homemade sweet potato fishcakes), eating organic eggs several times a week will help to encourage intake of this valuable nutrient. Omega 3 is important for a number of reasons, including:

Benefiting heart health
Normalising and regulating cholesterol levels
Supporting a child’s learning and behaviour
Supporting brain health
Helping to reduce any inflammation in the body.

So this Easter, go ahead and have fun with eggs, opting if you can for organic.

 

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