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A plate of halved boiled eggs

Eggs: nutrition and health facts

It’s that time of year again when our thoughts turn naturally to eggs and there will be plenty of chocolate ones around this Easter. But what about the other type? Are they good for our health or not?

Clinical nutritionist Suzie Sawyer separates fact from fiction.

 DO EGGS STACK UP NUTRITIONALLY?

The answer is a resounding yes! Thankfully, the rise in high protein diets has pushed eggs further up the popularity stakes. In fact, they’re a brilliant source of protein, containing all the essential amino acids the body can’t make and they are also low in calories (around 78 per medium egg).

Eggs also contain a wealth of other nutrients including B-vitamins for energy and vitamin D for healthy teeth and bones (sadly deficient in the UK population). Plus they are rich in anti-ageing antioxidants and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin needed for healthy eyesight. They also contain many trace minerals, especially zinc, which is often deficient in the daily diet.

WHAT ABOUT CHOLESTEROL LEVELS IN EGGS?

Over the past 20 years or so, eggs have been branded as high cholesterol foods and to be avoided by people with heart disease. But, while they do contain fairly high levels of cholesterol (550 mg per 100g), we now know that it’s not so much the cholesterol in foods that causes furring of the arteries, but foods that are high in saturated fat. Think foods such as butter, cheese and red meat. Processed foods, such as pastries, cakes, biscuits and chips are also laden with trans fats: these are the main culprits.

What you may not realise is that we do need cholesterol. It is an integral part of our cellular make up, and without it we would literally collapse! It is also needed to make our steroid hormones (oestrogen and testosterone) as well as for many other body functions.

CAN I EAT EGGS EVERY DAY?

Eggs are one of our most versatile foods – there are a wealth of different ways of cooking them and including them in recipes. They can be eaten every day although if you do have heart disease, make sure your overall diet is a heart-friendly one.

If you can it’s better to choose organic free-range that don’t contain pesticides. Columbus and Intelligent Eating varieties are fed an omega-3 rich diet for a healthy heart and mind, so are good options to look out for

So celebrate eggs, chocolate and otherwise, this Easter and enjoy them both!

 

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