Posted In Eat

Nutritional ode to eggs…

30th October 2015

Read the truth about cholesterol, why eggs are a perfect protein, and the new guideline for fruit and veggie RDAs.

There is nothing wrong with eggs! They are very high in dietary cholesterol, as are prawns and shellfish, but this doesn’t have an impact on your lipid profile – your blood cholesterol. In fact, results of epidemiological studies show that serum cholesterol levels are inversely related to egg consumption.

Cholesterol (like fat) is actually “good” or “bad” – depending on the type.  Eggs raise High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” cholesterol, which is linked to reduced risk of many diseases including strokes and heart disease. “Good” cholesterol is also an important component of healthy skin tissue – which makes your skin more supple, glowing and youthful.

Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet and such a great start to the day. They are a complete protein since they contain all of the 9 essential amino acids in the right ratios for our body to ingest. Protein is absolutely essential for good health, building muscle mass, increasing bone density and also is considered the most filling macronutrient – so you’ll feel satiated. Eggs are also a great source of B vitamins, folic acid and choline, an important nutrient used to build cell membranes and signalling molecules in the brain. Most people don’t get enough choline in their diets.  Eggs are also an excellent source of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K and selenium and several nutrients that help counteract eye degeneration including lutein and zeaxanthin.

What will affect your blood cholesterol and, specifically, levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol, is saturated fat (“bad fat”), and that is how you fry eggs, so ideally stick with poached or boiled.  If you are bored of these, one of my favourite breakfasts is simple egg “muffins”. They actually contain no flour but rise up super fluffy. They do taste better when freshly made but for convenience, I often cook these in bulk and freeze them for the easiest grabbable breakfast or lunch – all you need to do is defrost and heat them up, though they really take very little time to make fresh anyway. N.B. I use whole eggs and egg whites in a ratio of 1:2 as a higher proportion of egg white makes a muffin that rises really well . Making muffins in this way – with lots of egg whites – may also help to put a smile on your face as studies suggest that consumption of egg white protein may increase levels of the amino acid tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin which is a neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of emotion, attention and memory, appetite and sleep. Yolks contain almost all the micronutrients so don’t throw them out. I use leftover egg yolk to coat white fish or chicken so breadcrumbs stick well when I’m making chicken fingers or fish goujons for my children. Or use it to make a quick carbonara pasta sauce or in an omelette another day.

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FLOURLESS EGG MUFFINS

Ingredients (makes 6 small muffins, serves 2)

3 eggs

150ml liquid egg white (3 eggs’ worth)

A handful of chopped lightly steamed or sautéed vegetables (any will work – experiment or just use what you have lying around. My favourite is mushrooms, spring onion and chives)

Optional: add a tiny amount of crumbled feta or cheddar cheese. I love this mixed with finely chopped dark leafy greens like spinach or kale.

Method

Steam or sauté your handful of vegetables

Lightly grease a 6 part muffin tray

Whisk eggs and egg white together in a bowl, and pour into the muffin tray

Sprinkle the vegetables into the egg mixture. Add cheese if desired.

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 180 degrees

Serve with a salad, mashed avocado and chilli flakes or grilled asparagus. No reason why you can’t eat vegetables for breakfast. The British Association for Applied Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy (BANT) now recommends 7 a day in place of the old 5 a day: 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit every day. Get ahead on your veggie intake in the morning!

Photo credits: Grey plate is part of the Halo range by Denby

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