The Role of Egg Consumption in Women at Different Life StagesPresident's Blog
Brunch with my sisters and girlfriends always includes some fabulous egg dish – maybe a quiche or an airy soufflé. And, of course, over the years our gatherings have always included girl talk – from the days when we were pregnant with our first babies through to the ups and downs of menopause – we’ve covered it all over a fun meal or a cup of coffee.
While the monthly conversations have moved to Zoom due to the pandemic, the conversations are ongoing. And since we’re all friends here, I’m going to share some of the interesting ways that eggs become part of the conversation for women of all ages.
While it’s true that women usually require fewer calories than men, our need for specific vitamins and minerals are similar or higher than that of men. During growth, pregnancy, lactation and menopause, our nutritional needs are certainly heightened. That puts a spotlight on foods that contain an abundance of nutrients for relatively few calories: enter eggs.
Two medium eggs provide 12 grams of excellent quality protein, and contain all the essential amino acids. Protein is important at all ages and stages for women, since it’s part of every cell in the body.
We need a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day , (that’s just over 7 grams for every 20 pounds of body weight) . Remember, that’s just a minimum. A rule of thumb that I’ve heard from my dietitian friends is to get 25-30 grams of protein at each meal, and about 5-10 grams at each snack. Of course, some of the friends dabble with high protein diets, but we know from a dietitian friend in the group that there’s not one right diet for everyone. It’s always a lively topic for debate!
More than 95 percent of egg protein is digested and is available to meet the different needs during growth and development. That makes eggs an excellent choice during times of rapid growth, such as in infancy, childhood, pregnancy and lactation.
Studies show that getting adequate protein and staying physically active helps older women retain muscle mass and prevent muscle wasting. We look forward to the end of the pandemic so we can chat while we walk together, recognizing that both healthy eating and physical activity are vital. Learn more about protein and older adults here .
The fat in eggs is found mainly in the yolk, and more than half is the good kind of polyunsaturated fat. Some eggs are enriched with omega-3 fats , which are crucial for pregnancy, lactation and in infancy because they contribute the normal development of the brain, eyes and nerves of babies. Learn more here about how and when to introduce eggs to babies, and why omega-3 fats are vital.
When we went through our pregnancies, friends would support friends with the best gift of all: food + company. Dishes like these Mini frittatas were easy to freeze and then enjoyed as needed.
As the gal group entered menopause, some found a change in heart health or an increase in blood cholesterol levels. That was a good time for the chat about why eggs don’t raise cholesterol levels, which you can read about here .
Vitamins and minerals
During pregnancy and lactation, women require increased amounts of vitamin A, C, B1, B2, B3, folate, iron, selenium and choline in the diet. That’s why pregnancy multivitamins are recommended. But, a balanced diet is important too. Eggs provide vitamin A, folate, iron, selenium and choline, which are needed in good supply during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Choline is oft-forgotten, but so important for soon-to-be-mommas. It plays a critical role during pregnancy for both mom and baby – it’s vital for a baby’s developing brain and tissues. Up to 95 percent of pregnant women fall short of choline, so it’s a vital mineral to watch out for. The main dietary sources of choline are eggs, poultry, fish, dairy products and meat, and supplements are often recommended too (check with your doctor).
As women age, there’s an increased need for vitamin B12 (which is often malabsorbed) and vitamin D, which are both found in eggs. The vitamin D is noteworthy in eggs because it’s one of only few foods (along with fish) that supply this essential nutrient.
If we are preparing a meal before an online chat, we often mix eggs with fish, and pull together one of these delicious options:
So, that’s a great amount of girl chat about why we need eggs at different stages of womanhood. Let’s end it with the reminder that eggs are delicious, affordable and versatile. All of my friends agree that eggs are great at any meal or snack: they are just as suitable for breakfast as they are for dinner, and are quick to cook. Win!
President & CEO, Burnbrae Farms
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