It’s one of the simplest staples and to find as an ingredient in many processed foods and meals but still underrated or even feared: The egg. (Boom!) Alright, I know you must be feeling all excited now… hardly any other food is as attractive as this little shelled friend being produced in areas of animals we don’t want to picture any closer. At times being associated with salmonella, dioxins or “lethal dietary cholesterol” probably won’t contribute to making the reputation of the hen’s product any better. Meeting these guys in my fridge and on the plate almost every day though I felt I owe them one, and honestly I really feel they deserve it.
In German the former, more popular and still widely used term for protein actually is “Eiweiß” which directly translated means egg white. Never really reflecting on its meaning at some point one may discover it makes totally sense: Eggs are for sure known for their protein, however, it’s not only the amount (6-7 g each) but the quality of protein contained in one egg that makes them so valuable for our balanced diet. Not every protein is created equal, they are complex molecules built of different profiles of even smaller molecules called amino acids. The composition of the proteins determines its “biological value” – a term describing how efficient protein is used in our bodies to build and maintain our lean body mass (the substance, our energy burning “power plant”). With a rate of 100 / 100 biological value eggs are one of the best digestible protein sources existing. Got your attention now? Well, I’m not talking bodybuilding language here (I’m sure you guys know the bio-values by heart…) Keeping up with your protein intake is important to all of us but there is more eggs can offer!
Talking about appreciation, the most unsexiest part of the egg might be its yolk – that’s at least to assume when seeing people peeling off the white and separating it from its core… (I’m sure you must have seen that some time) But what’s wrong with the yellow stuff? Well, nothing. What may however be one reason for its bad reputation is that the egg yolk contains the most of the fat and cholesterol in the egg which has long been considered to be associated with high blood cholesterol levels and in turn seen as a risk factor for heart disease. Many health associations warned and restricted their recommendations for egg consumption to the lowest. However, over the past recent years evidence grew that this hypothesis cannot be applied to the average healthy population, so they took it back. On the contrary, studies have shown that eggs as part of our diet may positively affect the HDL-LDL cholesterol ratio thus could be even preventing coronary disease.
For the ones who still cannot overcome the yolk-fear: There is much more about the egg yolk then just the cholesterol. Beside the fat there come the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, and B vitamins, essential fatty acids and (again) protein! Egg yolks are also a good source for iron and selenium which might be especially interesting for the vegetarians among us. So, don’t miss out on the “gold part” of the egg – it literally is a treasure. It’s true that egg white is high in protein and low in fat thus contains less calories than the yolk but at the same time it also provides us with less of the extra “nutrition”. Having both components complementing each other makes the egg an adequate nutrient dense superfood (as already intended by mother nature, but this only said by the way). So, even if it depends on your goals and overall daily calorie intake make sure to add whole eggs to your diet as well!
- Find your right way of serving it: Add an extra egg to your salad or soup; boiled they are a simple complement for the lunch box (a must have in my fridge)! Take less of the extra oil if you prefer to fry your eggs though, saving some extra fat.
- Don’t exaggerate: Ok, even if you (re-) discovered your appreciation for eggs now (I know I did a good job selling it to you), take it easy. 2-3 whole eggs per day are totally fine but since they are very concentrated nutrition bombs moderation and variation applies… as for everything else! All the different nutrient sources want to be mixed.