SuperFood: Eggs

There are three things I like most about my job as a nutritionist:

  1. To help guide people toward making changes in their diet and lifestyle that have a huge impact on their health
  1. To educate people on how their body works and the power food can have on it
  1. To BUST current health myths that misguide people into making wrong food choices

One of the largest health myths out there to date involves the low fat and low cholesterol propaganda that has been fed to us since the late 50’s and is finally beginning to come to an end.

Case in point: Superfood Egg

After decades of being demonized as a high cholesterol and high fat food wrongly believed to cause coronary heart disease, this SUPERFOOD deserves the truth to be told! Eggs are one of the healthiest foods on the planet! I tell my clients that it’s like a mini-vitamin of nutrition, packed full of easily digestible and easily utilized high quality complete protein; plus all known vitamins and minerals (with the exception of vitamin C). It’s a complete whole food, which means it is perfectly balanced by nature. Not only are eggs complete and nutritious, but they are also one of the most economical forms of complete protein around!

Now whenever I mention a superfood, I’m talking about the whole food. So I’m not talking about egg whites here, or just egg yolks, and I’m certainly not talking about boxed liquid egg whites. I’m talking about the complete whole form of the egg (minus the shell of course). Nature has a wonderful way of balancing whole foods. For example, the cholesterol in an egg is balanced with something called lecithin, a phospholipid which keeps cholesterol circulating and prevents cholesterol from depositing in arteries. Lecithin is found in the egg yolk, and best utilized when the yolks are soft and runny. Lecithin lowers LDL cholesterol (considered the “bad” cholesterol), while preserving HDL (considered the “good” cholesterol), therefore decreasing our risk of heart disease. That’s right, eating eggs with the yolks runny actually DECREASES YOUR RISK OF HEART DISEASE!!!! Health myth-BUSTED! Lecithin also contributes to strong mental cognition through healthy nerve functioning in parts of the brain. That’s why some people take lecithin supplements to boost their mental capacity.

Keep in mind that even the superfood eggs can still be consumed in excess, especially for someone who already has a diet high in animal protein. But a modest amount of high quality eggs (up to 1-2 a day depending on your diet), eaten with the eggs runny can be enjoyed over a big hearty salad for breakfast, lunch or dinner (my personal favorite way to eat eggs).

So now that you know what a superfood eggs are, don’t go running to the store just yet to buy three cartons. There is much more to know about eggs first. It’s very very important for you to understand that not all eggs are created equal!!!

From a nutrition standpoint, eggs produced from battery farmed practises are full of antibiotics to control disease in the inhumane and overcrowded setting, and hormones to keep the chickens producing excessive amounts of eggs. These eggs also have far less nutrition.

Eggs that are raised naturally, with hens uncaged and allowed to roam freely and eat grass and worms, have higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids and have far superior nutritional quality. You may notice their thicker shells are harder to break (higher in calcium), and their yolks are a beautiful deep orange colour that stay more intact (richer in nutrients).

From an ethical standpoint, as a consumer you need to be informed to make the best possible choices that could change the way our food is produced and the way animals are treated. Egg laying chickens are one of the most abused animals in Canada and in the world. Battery farmed hens are packed four to six in wire cages that have the floor space the size of a folded newspaper. They spend their short lives unable to spread their wings and barely able to move. 20% of the hens raised like this die due to stress.

So only eat eggs if they are organic or you are sure they are raised naturally. The best way to do this is to get your eggs at farmers markets from farmers that raise a small amount of hens (not thousands) on pasture. The more you know about the farmer and the eggs, the better for you, the hens, and the planet.

Check out this un-biased article on farming battery raised hens and decide for yourself where you would like to get your superfood eggs from:

Posted on Monday August 02, 2010 by Kerri Cooper