Dr Libby on eggs
Eggs are a dietary mainstay — in fact I’m sure many of you relate to the saying: “If there is an egg in the house there is a meal in the house.” Eggs are a source of complete protein meaning they contain all essential amino acids necessary in correct proportions to support biological function. When extremely lowfat diets were at the peak of their popularity, it was not uncommon for people to use only the egg whites, which are a great source of protein; however, the majority of the nutrition actually lies in the yolk. All the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D and E, are present in the yolk. Eggs are one of only a few foods that naturally contain Vitamin D, a vitamin essential to mood and numerous critical processes in the body, including immune function and bone health. Considered by many as a powerhouse of nutrients they also contain disease-fighting nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients are carotenoids that have been indicated to reduce the risk of macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of blindness in older adults. They also contain choline which is an essential component of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter found in the brain involved in memory and muscle control. Fancy all that power packed inside a shell!
Consumption of eggs was discouraged for many years due to their perceived role in elevating cholesterol. However, research, including a study from Harvard School of Public Health, clearly now shows egg consumption is not related to blood cholesterol levels. It is important to note that 80 per cent of your blood cholesterol is created by the liver; your diet contributes 20 per cent to the figure. Eggs are nutrient-dense and wonderful to include in your diet, provided you are not allergic to them.
As is the case with many foods, not all eggs are created equal. The diet of the hen laying the eggs can significantly affect the nutritional quality of the egg. I encourage the use of SPCA approved Free Range Eggs or ideally Certified Organic eggs, not only because they are ethically raised but they also taste better. Some studies have found free range hens that have been pasture-fed or forage for their own food also tend to produce eggs with higher nutritional quality. Some studies have even found higher levels of vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids compared to
standard factory eggs. These nutritional differences are a contributing reason to why the yolk of an organic or free range egg is deep orange.
From a cooking perspective eggs are as versatile as it gets. From simple cooking methods such as poaching and scrambling to forming delicious frittatas, eggs also emulsify desserts. If you are struggling for a meal — eggs are a great place to start.
Quick and easy ways to eat eggs
- If you're pressed for time, hard-boil an egg the night before. In the morning slice it on top of your choice of bread with avocado for a quick and nutritious breakfast.
- Or for a nutrient-dense power breakfast saute or steam a bunch of spinach or kale and drizzel with olive oil. Sit poached eggs on top and serve with a handful of flat-leaf parsley.
Dr Libby Weaver is a leading voice, best-selling author and international speaker on health, nutrition and well-being. Dr Libby’s approach involves cooking with “real’ food and maximising nutritional value in every meal. It’s all about delicious and nutritious. For more visit www.drlibby.com