Eggs: the Original Fast Super Food
It is hard to beat eggs! (pun intended) In this article I will share with you the amazing nutritional benefits of eggs, how to incorporate them more deliciously into your diet and how to easily prepare perfect boiled eggs.
For just a few pennies each, eggs provide top quality protein; protein so excellent, that in the study of nutrition, other foods are compared to eggs to measure how closely they compare to their “ideal” ratio of amino acids. Protein alone would be enough reason to eat eggs, but eggs are rich in many, many other essential nutrients, including the fat-soluble vitamins A and D and E. As far as a single food goes, eggs are a virtual goldmine of nutrition. Eggs are one of the few usable sources of Vitamin D, which required in building many hormones needed for fertility for a healthy pregnancy and strong happy baby. As for minerals, eggs supply “heme’ iron – the most absorbable form of iron; especially essential for women in their childbearing years and for growing children. Eggs also contain good amounts of calcium and phosphorus as well as many trace minerals to build healthy bones and tissues in both parents and baby. In addition, eggs are full of B vitamins including thiamine and niacin that help us cope with stress.
Egg yolks are the 2nd best known source of choline (after liver). Science has recently discovered that choline, like folate, protects babies before birth, against neural tube defects and assists with removing toxins from the body. Choline is an essential nutrient for good memory, learning, mood, gallbladder and liver health, fat digestion and the development of a healthy placenta with good blood supply for the baby. Eggs are aptly called “brain food” because they contain large amounts of both EPA and DHA; two special long chain fatty acids that are needed for development and maintenance of a healthy brain and nervous system, especially in babies. Because choline is found in the yolk of the egg, one way to boost choline intake is to make scrambled eggs and omelets with extra egg yolks. Custard and puddings are another delicious way to eat more egg yolks. Save the whites for delicious coconut macaroons or merengues.
Hard boiled eggs are easy to prepare ahead by boiling a batch to eat for a quick breakfast or healthy snack, add chopped to salads or sandwiches or make deviled eggs. The best way to boil eggs is to place eggs in a pan just the size needed to hold them (no larger) in a single layer. Barely cover them with cold water. Put the pot on high heat until boiling. As soon as they boil, turn the heat off and cover tightly with a lid. Allow to remain on the stove with the burner off for 15-20 minutes. Once time is up, drain away hot water and toss eggs gently in the empty pan to crack the shells then rinse several times in cold water. Before eggs are entirely cold, peel the shells! It is much easier to peel at this point than afterwards. Hard boiled eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. For soft boiled eggs, follow the same steps but cover and allow to sit in hot water only 4-5 minutes depending on the size of the egg. Eat as soon as the shell is cool enough to handle.
Here are some quick do’s and don’ts for the best eggs:
Do’s: Buy pasture raised eggs if you possibly can! These eggs have the ideal 1:1 ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids. Chickens produce the healthiest eggs when allowed to forage outdoors and eat their natural diet of bugs and greens. Unfortunately, organic standards require eggs to be from “vegetarian hens” in order to be labeled as organic. There is nothing “natural” about a chicken that is vegetarian; chickens love to eat worms and all kinds of insects as well as other animal proteins. If allowed to forage they will eat these first! Eggs from other birds are also highly nutritious. Try duck eggs or even goose eggs or guinea eggs. Do not despair if you must buy eggs from the grocery store. They are still valuable and versatile and one of the least expensive sources of quality protein.
Don’ts: It does not matter what color the shells are as far as the nutritional value is concerned so don’t waste money just on color. Don’t eat raw egg whites. Raw egg whites contain avidin – a substance that interferes with the absorption of the important B vitamin biotin. Raw egg whites are also capable of interfering with protein digestion due to trypsin enzyme inhibitors which are also present. Both avidin and trypsin are eliminated with cooking. Although it is very unlikely to get food borne illness from raw eggs that are intact and fresh, it is advised that all pregnant women avoid raw eggs because it is a possibility. Always avoid eating eggs that are cracked in the carton before removal. Cracks can allow bacteria to contaminate the inner egg. Avoid eggs if you suffer from a true food allergy! If you suffer from a food intolerance to eggs, they will need to be avoided for a time, but may be reintroduced later after some gut healing has taken place.
What a great “fast food!”