A simple guide to including eggs in a healthy balanced diet
It’s a well-known fact that I love eggs! From all kinds of omelettes and poached egg with avocado on toast to the perfect portable snack – a simple boiled egg – the humble egg can form the basis of many a healthy meal or snack as far as I’m concerned. But still the egg is shrouded in controversy – from worries that eggs are bad news for cholesterol, to concerns about constipation – many people are still confused about eggs and so avoid them ‘just in case’.
Here’s our simple guide to eggs and how to include them in a healthy balanced diet:
Eggs & cholesterol - Back in the 1980s, dietary advice was to limit egg consumption because of concerns over eggs raising cholesterol. We now know that dietary cholesterol has little effect on blood cholesterol levels – it is much more important to cut down on saturated fat. High levels of saturated fat in the diet can stimulate the body to produce more cholesterol.
How many eggs a week? Outdated advice was to limit egg consumption to around 3 a week and despite this being dropped years ago, many people are still concerned about eating too many. There is now no set upper limit for weekly egg intake, however general healthy eating advice suggests an upper limit of around 7 – 14 eggs per week.
Not all eggs are the same – Just as you are what you eat; egg quality is determined by the health of the chicken that laid it. The nutrient content of an egg from a contented free range chicken fed an omega 3-rich organic diet is far superior to one that comes from an intensively farmed chicken.
Nutrient-rich eggs - Eggs are a great source of high quality protein, and contain fat and a small amount of carbohydrate too. They also contain vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, folate, iron and iodine. In addition, eggs are a good source of choline; an important nutrient for the brain, and lutein and zeaxanthin for eye health.
Eggbound? It’s a complete myth that eggs alone make you constipated. However, a high fat, high protein, low fibre diet can affect bowel regularity so if you enjoy eating eggs make sure you also get plenty of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and water in your diet too.
Eggs & weight loss – Eggs can be a brilliant snack or part of a meal if you’re trying to lose weight. They are pretty much a complete food and can help you to feel fuller for longer, thus reducing cravings.
High quality protein – Eggs are a great source of protein, especially for people who are exercising regularly. Protein is needed for muscle rebuilding and repair after exercise so a boiled egg is a great snack at this time.
The perfect snack! I often arrive at work with a boiled egg in my lunch bag! It’s easy to prepare, conveniently packaged for transport, delicious and nutritious, so ticks all the boxes for a healthy snack on-the-go. Team it with a few leaves of spinach and sliced avocado for a more substantial snack.
The best way to cook eggs? The healthiest way to cook eggs is to boil or poach them as this limits the production of AGES – unhealthy substances that can form when using cooking methods such as frying.