Why Eggs are Egg-cellent
Eggs are one of nature's perfect foods. They are a source of both protein and healthy fats, contain a host of important nutrients and are super versatile and easy to prepare. Let's dive in and I'll share my top 8 reasons why eggs are egg-cellent.
They are a powerhouse of nutrients with approximately equal grams of fat and protein. They contain vitamins A, B2, B12, B5 and Selenium. They are a rich source of choline, an important nutrient for brain health and developing fetuses. The yolks contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that can have powerful protective effects on the eyes reducing the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
They are versatile - you can cook them straight up and serve them plain - as in hard or soft boiled, scrambled, over-easy, sunny-side up, basted, or poached. You can jazz them up with add-ins like vegetables, meat, or cheese and make an omelet, frittata or quiche (with or without the crust). You can get fancy and make deviled eggs or eggs benedict, or keep it simple with egg salad. And don't forget egg in a basket! I'm honestly not sure that any other single food item is more versatile than the egg. Can you think of any other food that can be prepared in 14 different ways without too many additional ingredients?
They are quick and easy to make. In 15 minutes or less I can make a meal of eggs for a family of 4. When we are in need of a fast meal - let's say we only have half an hour between getting home from work and leaving again for kid's basketball/soccer/hockey/dance practice - it's scrambled eggs to the rescue. I feel good knowing that they'll have plenty of energy and nutrients to fuel their activity.
Speaking of kids, eggs are something that kids as young as 8 or 10 can learn to make. Kids get a real kick out of cracking an egg, making the process of cooking them more engaging and fun. From the time my kids were pre-teens, they would make eggs for breakfast on school days while I packed lunches.
They keep well. Even when I haven't been to the grocery store in a while, and there's very little fresh food in the house, there's virtually always eggs on hand for a quick and nutritious meal.
Hard-boiled eggs make an excellent, portable snack.
They are inexpensive. A dozen eggs, enough to easily serve 4 to 6 people, are about $5 a carton and that's for more expensive free-range or pastured eggs.
Eggs are a good source of dietary cholesterol. Your body needs cholesterol and what it doesn't obtain from diet it makes. It was once thought that eating cholesterol raised your levels of bad cholesterol, hence the reason that limiting consumption of eggs to once or twice a week was recommended. However, this view has shifted and the Canada Food Guide and organizations like the Heart and Stroke Foundation have removed the guidelines to limit consumption.
And one more bonus reason eggs are egg-cellent: despite being fragile, you can't crush an upright egg by squeezing it between your thumb and forefinger, nor can you do it by putting the entire egg in the palm of your hand and squeezing. Go ahead - try it…
While we are on the topic of eggs, I have a two more things to share.
First, for goodness sake - eat the yolks!
This is where the good stuff is. If you've ever had an egg white omelet and thought hmmm this is rather bland - it's because the yolk makes it taste good! Not to mention, many of the health benefits and nutrients are contained in the yolk. I still can't believe how many yolks I tossed down the drain over the years heeding the ill-conceived advice to consume a low-fat diet. :(
Second, add these two secret ingredients to scrambled eggs to turn them into a superfood.
My family prefers their eggs scrambled. I personally favor a frittata loaded with veggies, however the other members of my household are of the opinion that vegetables are not breakfast food. Can you imagine!? Given that I can't upgrade their eggs with vegetables, I choose to do it with spices - specifically turmeric and kelp or dulse.
Turmeric is a root that looks a lot like ginger. It's most commonly found dried and ground into a fine powder. It is full of the compound curcumin, a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. It's a key ingredient in curry powder and the source of that rich yellow color of curry. Adding it to eggs enhances their yellowness. Turmeric is best absorbed into the body when paired with a health fat which is why it works so well with eggs.
Kelp and dulse, available in powdered form, are types of seaweed or sea vegetables and contain an abundance of iodine. Iodine is a key mineral that is often deficient in our diet, especially if you've switched from regular table salt (which is fortified with iodine) to sea salt. If you are worried that adding powdered seaweed to your eggs will make them taste fishy, don't be, the flavor is undetectable. A pinch of garlic and onion powder add a nice savory note too.
There you have it, 8 plus reasons why eggs are egg-cellent. Do you regularly include eggs in your diet? What's your favorite way to eat them?