10 things you never knew about eggs
Eggs – love them or hate them, they're a staple food; cheap, easy to cook and good for you. If you're on a calorie-controlled diet, chances are you've heard egg yolks are high in fat and should be avoided. We believe in everything in moderation, and we say enjoy the whole egg, but don't overdo it. Adding an egg to a smoothie in the morning is a great way to boost your protein intake, or you can enjoy eggs as part of a dinner dish – check out some of our recipes if you're looking for inspiration. Because we love eggs so much; poached, boiled or whisked into a delicious omelette, we've come up with 10 things you never knew about eggs.
#1. They're a heart-healthy choice
Eggs have had a bad reputation in the past, largely due to their high cholesterol content. The yolk is packed with around 186mg cholesterol, and it's recommended the average person limits their cholesterol intake to 300mg per day. The American Heart Association recommends eating four or fewer eggs a week, although you can enjoy unlimited egg whites, as these are cholesterol-free. Eggs can actually help to reduce your risk of heart disease thanks to lutein found in the yolks, and their impact on cholesterol is less than what was once thought. We say enjoy eggs as part of a healthy diet and you'll be fine!
#2. They are packed with protein
Did you know that one large egg contains 6 grams of protein and 80 calories, plus amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, iron, zinc, phosphorus and DHA. Eggs are also a great source of vitamin B12, ideal for vegetarians. Enjoying an egg served with spinach is a great super-healthy breakfast that will fuel your body and brain until lunchtime and leave you feeling satisfied.
#3. Egg colour and size is related to the chicken
Did your mum ever tell you that brown eggs are better for you than white eggs? This is one myth we're dying to crack open. Eggs are either brown or white and come in a range of sizes that are related to the size and colour of the chicken that laid them. Brown chickens lay brown eggs and whilst you may find that these are more expensive than white eggs, this has nothing to do with the nutritional content, it's just that brown chickens are usually larger and cost more to feed! You can tell what kind of diet the chicken had by looking at the egg yolk – corn fed chickens will usually create a yellower yolk.
#4. You can enjoy raw eggs, provided you're not pregnant
We're always seeing athletes on TV downing raw eggs like a shot, but are they really all that good for you? There's a risk of salmonella (food poisoning) when eating raw eggs, and they should be avoided by pregnant women, but like anything, they can be enjoyed in moderation. Adding an occasional raw egg to your breakfast smoothie provides an instant energy boost, but bear in mind that cooking eggs doesn't make them any less nutritious. To lower the risk, break your eggs into a mug and zap them briefly in the microwave for around a minute.
#5. They have a range of health benefits
We already know that eggs are delicious, but here are a few more good reasons to tuck into that omelette:
Eggs contain choline, which can help aid brain function (1). They also contain two antioxidants, lutein and zeakanthin, which are known to prevent macular degeneration (sight loss). The high-quality protein in eggs can help build muscle strength whilst preventing muscle loss as you age. It can also help you feel energised and stay fuller for longer, which means eggs are a great choice for those controlling their weight.
#6. We eat a lot of eggs!
Around 1.2 trillion a year worldwide, to be exact! Did you know that 40% of the world's eggs are eaten in China? The average person eats around 173 eggs a year (2).With the average hen laying between 250 and 270 eggs a year, our supply is unlikely to run out anytime soon.
#7. They are one of the most versatile foods
Eggs are an affordable, healthy and versatile food that can be used in a variety of ways. Here are just a few ways to enjoy eggs:
- Boiled, with toast 'soldiers'
- Scrambled, on toast
- In an omelette, with plenty of vegetables, seasoning and maybe some cheese
- In a sauce
- In your morning smoothie
- Made into pancakes, for a healthy, indulgent Sunday breakfast
- Added to stir fries for a protein boost
It's easy to add eggs to your diet, and if you're always on the go, you'll find they're a convenient, easy to cook food. A hard boiled egg makes a great post-workout snack too!
#8. Eggs have a sell-by date, not a use-by date
Don't throw away your eggs a day or two past the date printed on the carton – they have a longer shelf life than you think, particularly if you keep them refrigerated! Eggs are usually edible for a good three to four weeks after the sell-by date, and it is easy to tell if an egg is still fresh; just smell it once it is cracked open and you'll soon know!
#9. Not all eggs are created equal
When it comes to eggs, do you always buy free-range? Or do you sometimes buy barn eggs, or those from 'cage-free' chickens? You might think these are just as good as free-range, but all this means is that the hens aren't confined to cages. They're usually not allowed outside but are free to roam inside a warehouse or barn, and conditions can vary greatly. Free-range eggs are the best as these hens can roam outdoors in the sunshine and will have the happiest, healthiest lives. We're sure happy hens produce tastier eggs! Certified organic free-range eggs come from hens that have been fed an organic vegetarian diet free of GM foods, animal by-products and pesticides, so look for these wherever possible.
#10. Omelettes can be made really fast
Could you make 427 two-egg omelettes in 30 minutes? Well, that's the speed you'll have to match to compete with the world's fastest omelette maker. However fast (or slow) you cook them, omelettes are a great quick, easy and healthy meal and a fantastic way to eat more vegetables. We love them made with courgette and some spinach, for a healthy boost of iron and protein, or why not try delicious courgette pancakes?
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