More Australians are taking an interest in nutrition and health than ever before.
Knowledge in nutrition is continually improving with research being conducted at many centres and it is not uncommon for new research findings on foods to contradict older information.
Eggs are a good example: once thought to be a harmful cholesterol-raising food, research has shown that it is saturated fat rather than cholesterol in diet that has the most effect on blood cholesterol
Nutritional Benefits of Eggs
Eating nutrient-packed foods like eggs helps meet the increased nutritional requirements of ageing. Two average eggs provide two thirds of the day's requirements for selenium, around one third of the day's requirements for vitamin B12, iodine, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), riboflavin, vitamin A and vitamin E and 20-25% of the day's requirements for protein, folate, iron and phosphorus. Eggs also provide zinc and are one of the only food sources of vitamin D and are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly the long chain DHA and DPA.
Many of these nutrients are usually low in the diets of older Australians. Eggs, therefore, are highly valuable and nutritious inclusion to the diet.
It has been assumed that a limit on egg consumption will reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). However, scientific evidence shows little association between egg intake and the risk of CHD and stroke in most people. This is because the dietary cholesterol eggs contain has only a small effect on blood cholesterol levels.
In a healthy Western population, there is insufficient evidence to excessively restrict egg intake as part of a healthy diet. Eggs should be considered in a similar way as other protein-rich foods and included as part of a varied diet that's low in saturated fat and contains a variety of cardio-protective foods (such as fish, wholegrains, fruit, vegetables, legumes and nuts).
There is little research to guide recommendations for egg consumption for people at high risk of heart disease (e.g. with diabetes or high cholesterol). However, prudent advice is that the inclusion of eggs in the context of a diet low in saturated fat, and containing known cardio-protective foods, is not associated with increased risk
As eggs provide a great source of high quality protein, a relatively low amount of kilojoules and 11 different vitamins and minerals, they are an excellent inclusion in a teenagers diet. Try the following ideas with eggs:
- Boil eggs and pack for lunch with wholegrain bread and salad.
- Scramble eggs with grated or finely chopped vegetables and serve with ham, tomato and mushrooms for a great Sunday morning ‘pick-me-up.'
- Mash boiled egg with canned salmon and ricotta cheese for a high calcium sandwich filling or as a topping for wholegrain crackers.
- Mix beaten eggs with grated reduced fat cheese, cracked pepper and parsley and stir through cooked wholemeal pasta for a quick and easy dinner or lunch. Serve with a green side salad. Make a healthy fried rice by mixing cooked, chopped vegetables, ham, and chopped boiled egg with cooked rice. Stir fry in sesame oil, add a splash of soy sauce and cook until heated through.