Few foods have ever come under the scrutiny of the scientific world as much as eggs. Some nutritionists say that this is the most useful diet food, others are categorically against it. Is it really better to give up scrambled eggs forever, or are the stories about the “terrible and harmful chicken egg” greatly exaggerated?
Instead of preface
There is an assumption that this product entered the diet of an ancient person long before they were domesticated the first chickens. It will not be a mistake to say that it has nourished man for several thousand years. All this time, in many cultures, the egg has been a symbol of fertility, life and rebirth. In Christianity, eggs with a painted shell symbolize Easter, and the ancient Egyptians believed that the gods from the Sun and the Moon created this product. It is believed that the first people to eat eggs were the inhabitants of Southeast Asia or India. Then they learned about them in Egypt, Greece and other countries of the ancient world.
In the XVII century. the favorite delicacy of the French were cocktails made from sour fruit juices and eggs. In the 19th century humanity thought of drying this product. This practice helped the military survive during World War II. And the cardboard egg trays familiar to us appeared only in 1911.
It is difficult to say in which country they first learned how to cook delicious eggs. However, the first gourmets could not fail to notice that they quickly satisfy hunger, are easily digested by the body, and, on top of that, are also tasty.
Egg is a rich source of high quality proteins, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.
More than half of the existing proteins are found in egg white. It also contains the main reserves of selenium, vitamin D, B2, B6, B12, as well as zinc, iron and copper. The yolks, on the other hand, are the higher calorie part of the egg, containing more fat as well as cholesterol, the fat-soluble vitamins A, E, D, and K. And depending on the diet of chickens, some eggs contain impressive portions of omega-3 fatty acids.
|Calories||) 143 kcal|
|Vitamin A||487 IU|
|Vitamin D||35 IU|
|Vitamin E||1.25 mg|
|Vitamin K||0.62 μg|
|Vitamin B1||0.15 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.52 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.15 mg|
|Vitamin B5||1.44 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.17 mg|
|Vitamin B9||47.4 mcg|
|Vitamin B12||1.3 mcg|
Isn't cholesterol so bad?..
At the turn of the 20th century, scientist Nikolai Anichkov conducted an experiment on rabbits. He introduced pure cholesterol into the diet of animals. As a result, their arteries deteriorated, and the results of the experiment led to the conclusion that cholesterol causes heart disease. Later, in the 1950s, Ancel Klyuchy published the results of another study, concluding that people who consumed animal fats were more likely to develop heart disease. Although it is worth noting that today such conclusions raise doubts among scientists. So, both of these scientific experiences have created a fear of cholesterol and animal fats. Yes, and modern international associations of cardiologists recommend consuming less than 300 mg of cholesterol per day. The yolk of a small chicken egg contains approximately 45% of the recommended rate. And this, you see, is a lot.
The results of one of the first scientific experiments, which were to determine how a chicken egg affects the level of cholesterol in the bloodstream, were disappointing. Researchers from Harvard announced: it is enough to eat this product daily for 3 weeks and get from 97 to 418 mg of cholesterol per day so that the level of low-density lipoprotein (the so-called bad cholesterol) increases by 12 percent. A similar experience in 2006 was carried out by the Brazilians. The results are also disappointing: if you eat 3 eggs a day for a long time, blood cholesterol will increase by almost 30 percent.
After such results, scientists were quite surprised when they analyzed the performance of another experiment conducted in 2008. This time, 19 study participants consumed 1 egg daily for a month. None of them showed any changes in the blood formula after this time. After that, scientists started talking that the relationship between cholesterol and egg yolks is not an indisputable fact.
Then, in different countries, researchers conducted many more experiments that gave very different results. So a new assumption appeared: 1 chicken egg per day does not increase the level of bad cholesterol.
Moreover, already in 2013, a new revolutionary statement for science appeared: chicken eggs really increase the concentration of cholesterol, but only “good” (high-density lipoproteins), and this already contributes to replenishment of lutein and zeaxanthin, useful for the eyes.
We all know that chicken eggs are a versatile and delicious food. But few people know that this product protects the skin and eyes from ultraviolet radiation, improves the functioning of the liver and brain. And these are just some of the facts from the full list of its undeniable advantages.
Source of protein
This is one of the few foods that can provide the body with proteins, as it contains all the necessary amino acids for humans. The exceptional benefits of this food are already evidenced by the fact that the World Health Organization uses egg white as a standard for evaluating the protein in other foods. And the average copy weighing about 45 g contains more than 5.5 g of proteins. These substances are beneficial for a person for several reasons, ranging from weight loss to heart health. Proteins are more often remembered when there is a need for recovery or muscle building, but they also have many other benefits for almost all systems and organs of the body.
In particular, a component that lowers blood pressure has been found in egg whites.
Reduces the risk of developing heart disease
It may seem strange, but eggs make the heart stronger and healthier. On the one hand, for many years we have been convinced that the fats contained in this product clog blood vessels and are dangerous for the heart. But it turned out that if proteins and yolks are cooked correctly and combined with healthy food, they, on the contrary, will help the cardiovascular system. And one of the reasons is the presence of omega-3 fatty acids. It is important to understand that omega substances are found mainly in the eggs of domestic chickens, and they are almost absent in the farm version.
Benefits for vision
One of the signs of aging is visual deterioration. However, there are some nutrients that prevent these degenerative processes. Two of them, lutein and zeaxanthin, are found in eggs. These are powerful antioxidants that can accumulate in the retina. Studies show that consuming enough of these substances significantly reduces the risk of cataracts and prevents macular degeneration. After 4 weeks of regular consumption of this chicken product, the concentration of lutein in the body increases by 28-50%, and the level of zeaxanthin increases by 114-140%. Well, don't forget about vitamin A contained in eggs (1 egg has about 75 micrograms) and plays an important role in eye health.
Source of choline
Chicken egg is one of the best sources of choline in the diet of modern man.
It contains approximately 35% of the daily value of this substance, which, according to some studies, is under-received by almost 90% of the population of developed countries.
Choline is an important nutrient that pregnant and breastfeeding mothers need especially because it affects the baby's immunity. This substance promotes brain function, improves memory, prevents the occurrence of hypertension, defects in the functioning of the nervous system and liver. Eggs, as a source of choline, are useful in preventing certain cardiovascular diseases,inflammation, and breast cancer. They are important for maintaining the health of the body in the elderly.
Promotes weight loss
This relatively low-calorie food can be a great ingredient on a weight loss menu. Due to its ability to maintain a feeling of satiety for a long time, this product will save you from overeating and extra calories. An experiment conducted by American scientists showed that obese people who ate eggs for breakfast ate less food than usual over the next 36 hours. It has also been proven that the chicken product helps prevent metabolic disorders, in particular in people over 40 years of age.
Benefits for skin, hair and nails
The lutein and zeaxanthin found in eggs are not only beneficial for the eyes but also for the skin. They protect the epidermis from UV rays. Scientists also found in this product 5 out of 8 substances that effectively protect against skin cancer.
Hair and nails are perhaps the first to react to an imbalance of vitamins and minerals. Probably, many have noticed: it is enough to introduce chicken eggs into the diet so that the nails and hair become healthy again and begin to grow faster. This is due to the fact that the product contains zinc, sulfur, vitamins A and B12.
Boiled eggs can be selected as a dietary source of vitamin D. This substance is important for healthy bones and strong teeth. Vitamin promotes the absorption of calcium and regulates the level of the mineral in the body. Through this process, a person will receive a sufficient amount of this nutrient. By the way, one average chicken egg contains almost 45 IU of vitamin D.
Other benefits of eggs:
- strengthen muscles, promote healthy muscle growth;
- activate the brain;
- have a beneficial effect on the functioning of the nervous system;
- provide the body with energy;
- strengthen immunity (due to the content of vitamins A, B12, selenium);
- are useful for pregnant women and the unborn child (prevent pathologies in the development of the fetus).
Potential Health Risks
Some researchers advise people with diabetes, high cholesterol, or hypertension to use this product with caution. Canadian cardiologists say that people with diabetes who eat eggs regularly are more likely to develop heart disease. Such people are advised to consume only proteins.
Harvard scientists also had their say. They warn against pairing eggs with cheese, ham, bacon, white bread, and other high-calorie foods. Eating raw eggs is also discouraged, as raw egg white interferes with the absorption of biotin, a substance important for maintaining healthy metabolic processes. In addition, the risk of Salmonella infection is high.
People with allergies will have to avoid this product. The reaction to the product is manifested by skin rashes, difficulty breathing, stomach pain, and in rare cases, anaphylactic shock.
Not all eggs are the same
Only at first glance it may seem that all chicken eggs are the same and it doesn’t matter which tray you buy. In fact, the nutritional value and composition of the useful components of this product directly depends on the diet of chickens and their living conditions. More useful are specimens laid by domestic chickens, which are regularly outdoors and eat grass. In addition, domestic laying hens are 98% less at risk of Salmonella infection.
According to some sources, compared to farm eggs, domestic eggs contain:
- one third less cholesterol;
- one quarter less saturated fats ;
- 2/3 more vitamin A;
- 2 times more omega-3;
- 3 times more vitamin E;
- 7 times more beta-carotene.
How to choose and store the product correctly
The first rule when choosing chicken eggs is to avoid products with damaged shells, since cracks can infiltrate bacteria.
It is not recommended to wash the shell, as this process removes the protective shell on the outside. It is important to know that eggshells contain many small pores through which bacteria can enter, so raw eggs are not the best option to eat.
The smell, the consistency of protein and yolk will most accurately tell about the freshness of the product. You can check their quality with ordinary water. A fresh egg will always sink to the bottom, while a rotten one will float. To understand what is under the shell (raw or boiled egg), just spin it on a flat surface. Raw will spin slowly, boiled will spin easily, quickly and for a long time.
What does the marking say
Perhaps everyone knows that eggs from stores always contain a stamp marking. In addition to the expiration date, she tells a lot of interesting things about the product.
In the CIS, chicken eggs are usually divided into "C" and "D". Thus, the category of products is indicated - table or dietary. It should be understood that both options are the same chicken eggs (perhaps even from the same laying hen), the difference is only in freshness. Diet - very fresh, almost straight from the nest. Their exceptional freshness is preserved for 7 days, after this period the product becomes "table" and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 90 days, and at room conditions - no more than 25 days.
Chicken eggs are also classified by weight. The higher the grade, the more the specimen weighs. First-class ones should not weigh less than 70 g, and representatives of the 7th grade may not reach up to 45 g. There is also the highest grade - eggs weighing more than 75 g, but such giants are very rare.
A slightly different classification is followed in European countries. There, an A-Extra class egg is the freshest product (analogous to our dietary eggs). And then, in the course of "aging", the eggs move from class to class, from A to C.
But the color of the shell means absolutely nothing. More precisely, he only says that white eggs were laid by white chickens, yellow ones by dark birds. However, this indicator does not affect the nutritional characteristics and quality of the product itself.
In the food industry, eggs are used as an independent dish or as an ingredient in more complex recipes. They can play the role of:
- baking powder (whipped proteins are added to sauces, creams, soups, dough);
- thickener (the yolk gives sauces, dough or creams the necessary consistency);
- emulsifier (the yolk is used to make mayonnaise);
- clarifier (whipped egg whites brighten broths).
For proper boiling, eggs should be laid out in a saucepan in 1 row. Pour it preferably with cold salted water. It will take 3 minutes to boil the product soft-boiled, 4-5 minutes “in a bag”, and 7-8 minutes hard-boiled. Cook over medium heat. Time to note from the moment of boiling. Rinse the eggs with cold water after boiling.Make poached eggs
Pour about 2.5 cm of water into a saucepan, bring it to a boil and carefully pour a fresh egg into it, without damaging the yolk. Cook for 1 minute, remove from heat, but leave the egg in water for another 10 minutes.
There are many ways to do this. Prepare fried eggs, scrambled eggs, scrambled eggs, frittata or your favorite recipe. In addition, eggs can be baked, stuffed, added to dough, prepared cocktails, including delicious and healing eggnog.
Use in home cosmetics
Both components of the product - proteins and yolks - are used as natural cosmetics. Egg whites contain a lot of vitamin A and collagen, which makes them effective in fighting scars, burns, wrinkles, and acne. Egg yolk is an excellent remedy for nourishing and activating hair growth.
Recipe 1. It's hard to find an easier but equally effective recipe than this one. Simply beat an egg and apply the mixture on your face. Keep for half an hour. A whole egg is suitable for normal skin, only protein - for oily, yolk - for dry.
Recipe 3. Mix the beaten whites of 2 eggs and 2 tablespoons of yogurt (no fillers). To relieve irritation on the face, keep for about half an hour.
By the way, the same mixture is suitable as a mask for hair and scalp.
Recipe 1. Mix 2 eggs with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of honey. Apply to the entire length of the hair, wrap with plastic wrap and a terry towel. Keep at least an hour.
Recipe 2. A mask of 2 yolks and 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise will make combing curly hair easier. Also, this tool is suitable for dry and brittle curls.
Interesting facts about eggs
Did you know about these facts:
- It is possible that in Colombia as an appetizer, tourists will be offered iguana eggs with white rum. For the local population, such a dish is not considered exotic.
- Norwegians drink beer with hard-boiled gull eggs.
- The largest in the world are ostrich eggs (one ostrich egg is equivalent to 24 chicken eggs).
- The older the hen, the larger the eggs she lays.
- It takes a chicken 24 to 26 hours to "create" one egg.
- Depending on the breed, one hen can lay 300-325 eggs per year.
- In terms of its nutritional qualities, chicken protein is second only to mother's milk.
- The color of the yolk depends on the diet of the hen.
- There is International Egg Day (every second Friday in October).
For many years, eggs have been viewed as hazardous to health. Cholesterol, which is contained in the product in a fairly large amount, played a cruel joke with them. Recently, however, scientists have taken a fresh look at this product. Now researchers are not so categorical and are increasingly recalling its beneficial properties. However, no one canceled the sense of proportion and a balanced diet.
- Australian eggs. – Egg myths.
- U. S. department of agriculture. – Eggs, grade A, large, egg whole.
- American Heart Association. – HDL (good), LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides.
- U. S. National library of medicine. – The impact of egg nutrient composition and its consumption on cholesterol homeostasis.
- U. S. National library of medicine. – A prospective study of egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women.
- U. S. National library of medicine. – The Golden Egg: Nutritional Value, Bioactivities, and Emerging Benefits for Human Health.
- Food industry magazine. - Chicken eggs are valuable components of combined meat and egg products.
- Egg nutrition center. – Eggs and heart health: a review of the latest research and reports.
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. – Association of egg with blood intake lipids, cardiovascular disease, and mortality in 177,000 people in 50 countries.
- Health website Healthline. – Top 10 health benefits of eating eggs.
- Medical News Today portal. – Everything you need to know about eggs.
- Electronic fund of legal and normative-technical documentation. - Interstate standard (GOST): Food chicken eggs. Specifications.
- Russian quality system (Internet portal). - How to choose fresh chicken eggs in the store?
- Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. – Eggs.
- U. S. department of agriculture. – Shell eggs from farm to table.
- ResearchGate social network for scientists.– What’s new in chicken egg research and technology for human health promotion?