Nutrition Myths Explored #1: Eggs
I am often asked questions by both clients and friends regarding the validity of nutritional information picked up through the media, here say etc. Although nutritional advice is abundant, sadly so are the myths and this can lead to confusion. The most recently discussed issue has been that of eggs and the question posed by a friend was this: ‘ Aren’t eggs bad for you?’ Here I hope to provide an explanation…..
Eggs are an excellent source of Vitamin K and a very good source of all the B Vitamins, including biotin, thiamine and Vitamin B12. One egg contains around 78 calories, 6.3g of protein and 1.6g of saturated fat. Some eggs now contain omega-3 fatty acids (depends on what the chickens have been fed). Eggs are regarded a ‘complete’ source of protein as they contain all 8 essential amino acids (the ones we cannot synthesise in our bodies and must obtain from our diet).
For years eggs have been considered more of a health risk than a healthy food. They were tarred with the ‘high cholesterol’ brush. But it turns out the cholesterol content for which they have been vilified is much lower than it was 10 years ago – a whole 13% lower according to a US Government survey. This reduction has be attributed to the changes in hen feed since the BSE crisis in the Nineties. British research shows that a medium egg contains about 100mg of cholesterol, a third of the 300mg recommended daily limit. Also it is saturated fat in the diet, not dietary cholesterol that influences blood cholesterol levels the most. In a study published by The Journal of the American Medical Association it was shown that people who reported eating four eggs per week had a significantly lower mean serum cholesterol concentration that those who reported eating one egg per week.
Not only that but eggs contain more Vitamin D than they did ten years ago, which helps to protect bones, preventing osteoporosis and rickets. And they are filling too. A recent study by Surrey University found that eating one or two eggs for breakfast could help with weight loss as the high protein content makes us feel fuller for longer. Eggs should be included as part of a varied and balanced diet. Opt for the free-range variety and ensure they are cooked thoroughly to minimise risk of Salmonella.
Quick serving idea: For a healthy southwestern-influenced breakfast, add 1-2 diced jalapeño peppers (removed seeds and pith) to 4 scrambled eggs. Divide into two portions and serve each with 1/2 cup black beans and 2 steamed tortillas. Top with a small dollop of low-fat, organic sour cream and 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander.
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