Health Benefits and Risks of Eggs
- Tuesday, 19 April 2011
Eggs are associated with Easter; from chocolate covered Easter eggs to hard boiled eggs that are painted and decorated by children, it is hard to avoid eggs at Easter time. Real eggs (as oppose to the chocolate-covered variety) have many nutritional benefits but they also carry some risks for particular health problems. Eggs need to be cooked and stored properly to avoid a risk of food poisoning. In particular, children are also the most vulnerable to an egg allergy.
The Nutrients in Eggs
The most common type of egg that we eat is the chicken egg; however duck and goose eggs are also suitable for human consumption. Eggs vary in quality and size depending on the diet of the bird which lays them. Eggs are a great source of protein. The ingredients of eggs include:
- essential amino acids
- vitamin A
- several of the different types of Vitamin B (such as B9 and B2)
Eggs contain a egg yolk and egg white; the egg white predominately contains water and the remainder of the egg white is made up of protein, vitamins and minerals. The egg yolk has more nutritional value than the egg white and contains a high percentage of vitamins.
How to Eat Eggs
Although eggs can be eaten raw, it is usually most common to cook eggs before eating them; there are many ways to cook eggs including boiling, scrambling, frying, pickling and adding them to baked products (such as cakes). Do not eat raw eggs if you are pregnant, a child or elderly. Eggs also need to be stored correctly otherwise there is the risk of food poisoning.
Cholesterol and Eggs
Despite the fact that (chicken) eggs contain many nutrients, they are also high in cholesterol (source). Egg yolks contain all the cholesterol whereas egg whites do not contain cholesterol. Although cholesterol is needed by the body to function properly, low-density lipoproteins (commonly known as bad cholesterol) are the “type” of cholesterol that increase the risk of heart attacks and clogged arteries (source: Prescription for Nutritional Healing, James F Balch, Phyllis A Balch). Therefore, in order to keep your cholesterol levels low, you should either limit your intake of other sources of cholesterol when you eat eggs or alternatively ....