Eggs are a natural source of many nutrients including high quality protein, vitamins and minerals (with traces amount of carbohydrates).
Eggs are naturally rich in amino acids, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B12 (cobalamin), vitamin D, choline, selenium and iodine. They also contain vitamin A, some other B vitamins such as folate (B9), biotin (B7), pantothenic acid (B5), antioxidants (such as lutein and zeaxanthin) and other essential minerals and trace elements, including phosphorus. There are many different types of eggs, the most common being chicken, while more gourmet choices might include duck, goose and quail.
This article will use “eggs” to refer to “chicken eggs”.
Calories in cooked eggs
There are on average between 54 and 80 calories in an egg depending on its size and how it is prepared. However, on average a single medium-sized egg will contain around 66 calories, Most of these calories come from the yolk, which is the particularly nutrient dense part of the egg and includes many essential vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids (eggs are low in saturated fats and rich in unsaturated fatty acids) while most of the protein is found in the egg white. Eggs are a great food to include in your diet if you’re trying to lose weight whilst ensuring your body gets all the essential nutrition it needs.
The table below outlines the macronutrients contents of eggs.
Macronutrients of different size of eggs:
Scrambled eggs cooked in a pan using two large eggs with a dash of semi-skimmed milk and a small knob of butter will total between 200 and 245 calories depending on the amount of butter added.
A poached egg doesn’t need any extra cooking oil or butter to cook so the calorific value will depend on the size of the egg and between 54 and 80 calories. Similar values can be attributed to a boiled egg.
Fried eggs values will differ depending on the type of fat used in the pan and whether you drain it. It is often recommended to use oils which are rich in monounsaturates such as rapeseed or olive oil. A fried egg can range from 85 calories if using only a little spray-oil, to around 120 calories if frying in oil and not draining it.
Some Health Benefits Of Eggs
1. Sources of important nutrients
Eggs are highly nutritious, they supply the body with a vast array of macronutrients and micronutrients such as vitamins D and B12 as well as the mineral iodine. Eggs are regarded as a ‘complete’ source of protein as they contain all nine essential amino acids, which we must obtain from our diet.
Furthermore, due to the diet the chickens are fed, some eggs become enriched with omega-3 fatty acids and you’ll benefit from higher omega-3 fatty acids as well as fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A and E.
2. Source of the nutrient choline
Eggs are one of the best dietary sources of choline.
Choline is an incredibly important nutrient often grouped with B vitamins and needed by everyone of us. Choline is used to build cell membranes and has a role in producing signalling molecules in the brain, along with various other functions including memory functions. It’s especially important during pregnancy and breast feeding, when an adequate supply of choline is essential for normal brain development.
3. Can support heart health
Eggs are high in dietary cholesterol and such cholesterol level isn't translated to blood cholesterol. In most people, eggs consumption leads to elevated levels of HDL high density lipoprotein (the good cholesterol); people with elevated levels of HDL usually have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
Eggs also contains several nutrients that promote heart health, such as betaine and choline and eggs need to be consumed as part of a healthy lifestyle in order to take advantage of their health benefits.
4. Can support eye health
An egg yolk contains large amounts of carotenes antioxidants, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for preventing macular degeneration and cataracts. Eggs also contain significant amounts of vitamin A which is key for a good eye sight.
Eggs are a good example of an eye-friendly food.
5. Eggs are important for baking and cooking
Eggs are an important ingredient for cooking, and their particular chemical properties is key to many important baking reactions.
6. Can support weight management
Eggs are nutrient-dense, and relatively low in calories and carbohydrate. They can be part of many calorie-controlled meals and snacks whilst still providing lots of proteins and vital vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. It is also important to eat your eggs along with other nutrient-rich foods, such as vegetables, salads and whole grains.
Eggs are also incredibly filling. They are a high-protein food, and protein is, by far, the most satiating macronutrient, which is more filling than either fat or carbohydrate. In fact, some studies showed that an egg breakfast is more sustaining than the equivalent calorie counted carb breakfast and, that may help reduce your calorie intake later in the day.
Storage and Food Safety
Eggs are a nutritious food, but you need to need to pay attention to how they are produced, stored and cooked.
Food safety should be a top priority when handling raw eggs. A contaminated hen can transmit Salmonella (a dangerous bacteria that can be fatal) inside the egg if the shell has not completely formed or cracked with tiny open pores.
In the UK, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has established guidelines for eggs production protocols. Such protocols want eggs to be produced under the British Lion Code of Practice for safe consumption. More advice on eggs below
● Look for a sell-by date on egg cartons; eggs can last for four to six weeks after this date. Avoid packages with cracked eggs, which can increase risk of bacterial contamination. Discard a cracked egg if you discover one after purchase.
● Promptly refrigerate eggs at temperature below 7degrees celcius in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
● Cook eggs until the whites and yolks have solidified to prevent food-borne illness. Don’t allow cooked eggs or egg dishes to sit at room temperature for longer than 1 hour.
● Wash your hands and any surfaces with soap and water that have come in contact with raw eggs.
● Eggs are also a common food allergen.
Our bodies require a broad range of different nutrients to stay healthy; these nutrients ensure we are able to carry out our basic functions to keep alive and well. Eggs are a vital source for many nutrients including high quality protein content, important vitamins and minerals. Eggs (up to 3 eggs a day) can be consumed as part of a healthy diet as they contain a little bit of almost every nutrient the body need.