Eggs-ceptional

Eggs ~ Super Natural Foods

Much has been written lately that has cast doubt on their nutritional value.

As a result, most people aren't aware of what's true and what isn't.

Misconceptions abound: are they healthy?

How many daily servings are recommended?

Who should avoid eating them?

And probably the most common: will eating them increase my blood cholesterol levels?

While it is proven that they do contain a significant amount of dietary cholesterol, there also still remains a plethora of misinformation regarding their true nutritional value, which has prevented many from enjoying them as part of a healthy diet.

So, is there a limit to how many you can eat a week?

Health Canada does not have a specific daily limit on dietary cholesterol.

It recommends that you consume as little as possible while still maintaining your daily nutritional intake.

Considering that one yolk contains around 215 mg of cholesterol, a two-egg omelet would contribute a significant amount of cholesterol to your day's consumption.

But before you do away with omelets, soufflés, and the like, consider that only a small amount of cholesterol in food will actually work its way into your bloodstream.

Studies show that saturated and trans fats are the real culprits behind elevated levels of blood LDL (bad) cholesterol.

In fact, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada stresses the importance of limiting foods containing trans and saturated fats, over limiting dietary cholesterol, since foods containing trans and saturated fat raises your blood cholesterol the most.

Worth noting, these super orbs contain little saturated fats and no trans fats, and the cholesterol that comes from them is from the yolk, while the whites have no cholesterol.

So, what is the link between this super food and heart disease?

While it's true that elevated LDL blood cholesterol levels do cause the hardening of arteries, a factor associated with coronary heart disease (CHD), studies have consistently shown that there's no definite linkage between their intake and CHD in healthy people.

A recent University of Alberta (UA) press release calls them "one of nature's perfect foods."

And that's not an overstatement.

So, what are the nutritional values?

They're loaded with nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids and essential amino acids.

You also get vitamins D and E, and a host of B vitamins.

And then round that out with ample minerals: calcium, potassium, and iron.

They're also an excellent source of choline, a nutrient that is necessary for nerve and brain development.

Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding require increased intake of choline.

They are also one of the few whole foods that contain vitamin-D, a nutrient that is important in maintaining optimal bone health.

They are also rich in lutein, an antioxidant that can protect against the development of age-related macular degeneration or cataracts.

Additionally, studies have shown that lutein intake may actually reduce the risk for CHD by minimizing the formation of plaque on the artery walls.

Moreover, research has demonstrated that when enriched with omega-3 from fish oil helps lower triglyceride levels, fats found in the bloodstream that's linked to CHD.

This super food is also an excellent source of high-quality protein.

They contain all the essential amino acids needed by the body to build valuable proteins.

They also provide a greater amount of the branched chain amino acids (BCAA), the amino acids that regulate muscle growth and control the release of insulin.

Leucine, a BCAA, was found to help to reduce loss of muscle tissue, promote loss of body fat and stabilize blood glucose levels.

Researchers explain that eating high-quality protein, especially at breakfast, seems to be the key to long-term weight loss and maintenance.

When looked at as a whole food and not merely as a source of dietary cholesterol, the positive benefits associated with this super food being a part of a healthy diet are overwhelming.

And now, according to UA researchers, these super orbs are even better than we thought.

This new trial reveals that peptides in the yolks are a very rich source of antioxidants.

Analysis shows that two uncooked yolks contain the same level of antioxidants as an apple.

The key word being "uncooked."

Cooking reduced antioxidants by half.

Even so, poached or boiled (with the yolk unbroken) they still deliver a good antioxidant punch.

But there's an important angle the Alberta team doesn't address: the free-range factor.

The analysis in this new study came from chickens fed wheat and corn.

But that's not a normal diet for a chicken.

Research shows that organically raised free-range chickens produce eggs with significantly better nutrition.

Free-range contained three times more omega-3 than the conventionally raised variety.

Also, twice as much vitamin-E, 40 percent more vitamin-A, 50 percent more folate, and 70 percent more vitamin-B12.

That's a huge benefit!

And they were much safer too.

A UK government survey showed that eggs from chickens raised in factory farm cages are five times more likely to test positive for salmonella compared to those from organic, free-range birds.

Oh, and "No", there is no nutritional difference between brown and white shelled variety, it's just the hen variety, laying them.

Reasons You Need to Eat More

Slim Down

The Good News: Here’s a delicious way to lose weight!

Researchers have found that when obese people choose an egg breakfast over bagels at least five times a week, they lost 65 percent more weight.

And Saint Louis University scientists discovered that eating these in the morning led to eating fewer calories throughout the rest of the day, as well.

Bonus Tip: Organic, Animal Welfare Approved, and Certified Humane eggs ban the practice of routinely feeding antibiotics to hens.

Save Your Sight

The Good News: They're a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that help stave off macular degeneration and cataracts. (Just be sure to eat the yolks!)

Bonus Tip: For an even more potent eye-protecting meal, mix lutein and zeaxanthin-rich kale or spinach into your omelet.

Feed Your Brain

The Good News: The choline inside helps keep your memory sharp while increasing the release of acetylcholine, a eurotransmitter that helps your brain store and recall information better.

Eggs from hens raised outside on grass pastures also contain more omega-3 fatty acids that help power your brain.

Guard Against Cancer

The Good News: Women who eat higher levels of choline, a nutrient found within, are 24 percent less likely to develop breast cancer, according to a recent study.

One large egg boasts about 30 percent of your RDA of choline.

Bonus Tip: Most of the choline is concentrated in the yolk, so be sure to include the whole orb in your omelet.

Nourish Your Muscular System

The Good News: Eggs are one of nature’s best food sources, packaging muscle-protecting protein in a low-calorie food.

The B12 within also aids in muscle contraction.

Bonus Tip: Don’t be fooled by the word natural on the carton.

“Natural” eggs could come from hens fed antibiotics and genetically engineered feed, two things banned in the organic variety.

An Instant Mood Boost

The Good News: Eggs contain a beneficial blend of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, B vitamins, and iodide, nutrients that work together to battle fatigue and reverse bad moods.

Bonus Tip: Don’t be tricked by “free-range”.

The hens may still be housed inside of warehouses (but at least not in tiny cages)

Here's a recipe that we're sure you'll enjoy!

Eggs Italiano

This sophisticated take on Eggs Benedict swaps a full-flavored, chunky vegetable medley for Canadian bacon and hollandaise sauce.

Add whole-wheat English muffins and poached eggs and this combo makes a lovely brunch or an elegant light supper when served with a salad.

This is the ultimate feel-good Sunday brunch recipe.

We hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

8 large eggs

1/4 c. distilled white vinegar

2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 shallot, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 lb. zucchini, (about 2 medium), diced

12 oz. plum tomatoes, (3-4), diced

3 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh basil, divided

1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp. sea salt

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

4 whole-wheat English muffins, split and toasted

2 Tbs. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation;

1. Fill a large, straight-sided skillet or Dutch oven with 2 inches of water; bring to a boil.

Add white vinegar.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in zucchini and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat; stir in 1 tablespoon basil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

3. Meanwhile, reduce the boiling water to a gentle simmer; the water should be steaming and small bubbles should come up from the bottom of the pan.

Crack each egg into a small bowl and slip them one at a time into the simmering water, taking care not to break the yolks.

Cook for 4 minutes for soft set, 5 minutes for medium set and 8 minutes for hard set.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a clean kitchen towel to drain.

4. To serve, top each muffin half with some of the vegetable mixture, an egg, a sprinkling of cheese and the remaining basil.

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