July 30, 2019

Nutrition Facts & Eggs - Decoding the Nutrients in Eggs

President's Blog
Margaret Hudson
President, Burnbrae Farms
4th Generation Farmer

You’ve probably heard that eggs are healthy because they are full of nutrients. But have you ever wondered exactly what’s found in eggs and why they are so nutritious? Amazingly, I can write a top 10 list of the nutrients in eggs, and still not cover all of the amazing health benefits! But as a start, here’s an overview of the top 10 nutrients you will find in two regular large eggs.

1. Protein: There’s 12 grams of protein in two large eggs. It’s split almost evenly between the yolk and the white (6.6 grams in the white; 5.4 grams in the yolk). Protein is just one of many reasons to eat the whole egg! The protein in eggs is known as ‘complete protein,’ because it contains all nine essential amino acids. “Essential” means that our body can’t make those amino acids, so we need to include them in our diet. Protein helps build and repair cells and muscles, and is part of the immune system. People should aim for 20-30 grams of protein per meal , so eggs are a great start!

2. Iron: A serving of two eggs contains 1.4 mg of iron (adults require 8-18 mg daily), mostly the variety known as non-heme iron. In order for the body to absorb non-heme iron, it’s important to pair it with a source of vitamin C, such as broccoli, tomato, sweet peppers or strawberries. This Asparagus and red pepper frittata is a perfect pairing, since the red peppers help your body absorb the iron from the eggs.

3. Cholin e: This essential nutrient is needed to produce acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter that helps with brain function. Adults need 425-500 mg of choline per day, and two eggs provide about 50 percent of this requirement. Choline is found only in the yolk, not the egg whites (giving us another reason to eat the yolk!). Clinical studies have linked choline to better blood pressure levels, which helps keep the heart and blood vessels healthy. It’s also an important nutrient during pregnancy , since it’s essential for fetal brain development.

4. Vitamin A: This vitamin is important for eyesight and proper immune functioning. Two eggs contain 191 micrograms of vitamins, and adults require 700 (for females) and 900 (for males) per day, so a couple of eggs get you well on your way to meeting your daily need.

5. Vitamin D: This hard-to-find vitamin works in unison with calcium to help keep your bones strong and ward off osteoporosis. It’s not found in many foods, and eggs are one of just a handful of food sources of vitamin D. Adults require 600 IU of vitamin D per day, and two eggs contain about 100 IU.

6. Vitamin E: Two large eggs contain about 15 percent of the daily need for vitamin E. This unique vitamin works as an antioxidant. It can help protect the body’s cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Damaged cells can lead to heart disease and cancer, so it’s important to eat antioxidant-rich foods for all-over body protection.

7. Vitamin B12: This vitamin is important for preventing anemia, and is a vital part of the body’s nerve and blood cells. We require 2.5 micrograms per day, and a serving of two eggs contain 1.2 micrograms, which is almost half of our daily requirement.

8. Folate: This B-vitamin is essential in pregnancy to ensure the normal development of baby’s brain and spinal cord, and prevent spina bifida. It’s also important for everyone else as it helps make DNA and ensures proper cell division. Adults require 400 micrograms of folate per day (or 600 micrograms during pregnancy and lactation), and two eggs contain 44 micrograms.

9. Lutein and…

10. Zeaxanthin: These antioxidants are grouped together because they have similar benefits. They are both carotenoids that are vital for eyesight. Getting enough lutein and zeaxanthin is important for good eyesight and to help decrease the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration , which is the leading cause of blindness and visual impairment.

There you go - 10 great reasons to eat eggs. So much goodness in such a small shell!

Margaret Hudson

President, Burnbrae Farms