Eggs are a staple on most of our grocery lists and can be used for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
One egg contains about 70 calories, 6 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fat. The yolk contains the saturated fat (2 grams), unsaturated heart-healthy fat (3 grams), vitamin D (40 IU), whereas the white contains most of the protein.
Eggs contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which help with healthy vision. Eggs also have vitamin B12, which is involved with the brain and nervous system, metabolism in the cells, and helps to form blood cells. Eggs are also a source of choline, which is essential for brain functioning.
Egg yolks also contain a moderate amount of cholesterol. Egg yolks contain about 185 mg of cholesterol.
Current cholesterol recommendations are less than 300 mg daily (or 200 mg for those at higher risk for heart conditions). Current recommendations state that one egg a day is generally safe. However, those who have heart disease or diabetes should consume no more than 3 egg yolks a week.
The color of the shell (brown or white) has no effect on the nutrients in the egg.
The shell color has to do with the breed of the hen that lays the egg. Organic eggs may taste different than conventional eggs, but there is no difference in the nutrients in either type of egg.
Some eggs have extra omega-3 fatty acids because the hens are fed more omega-3s in their diet before laying the eggs. Omega-3s help lower risk for many chronic conditions such as heart disease and cancer, among many other health benefits. These eggs are slightly more expensive than regular eggs.
Do not consume raw eggs and avoid making dishes that will be consumed before cooking (such as homemade ice cream, cookie dough, or Caesar salad dressing) unless using pasteurized eggs. Salmonella contamination in a raw egg can cause someone to get food borne illness. Fully cooking the eggs or egg mixtures to 160 degrees will kill any bacteria. Use a food thermometer to be sure.
Store eggs in the refrigerator but not in the door, because the air here is warmer and it is best to keep eggs in a cooler part of the refrigerator. You can store the eggs in their original container for about one month. You can also freeze the egg yolks or egg whites in the freezer for up to a year. Do not freeze whole eggs, the shells will break and bacteria can enter the eggs.
Eggs can be eaten for any meal of the days and cooked in a variety of different ways. Try an omelet with lots of veggies or scrambled eggs with salsa, whole wheat toast, milk, and fruit for breakfast. Adding protein in the form of eggs at breakfast is a good way to keep from getting hungry in between breakfast and lunch. You can add chopped eggs to salads, or keep hard boiled eggs on hand. Eggs can be used in many recipes for an added protein boost!
Page 2 of 2 - If you have questions or ideas for future articles, please contact Melissa Bess, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist with University of Missouri Extension. Call the Camden County Extension Center at 346-2644, stop by our office at 44 Roofener Street, Camdenton, or email Melissa at firstname.lastname@example.org.