Did you know eggs are one of the most nutritious foods you can consume? My education about eggs began before I was pregnant with my oldest child, through the Bradley Method Pregnancy Diet. I was amazed at just how many nutritious qualities an egg has, particularly for a pregnant mama and growing baby! I strive toward getting two eggs into my diet daily and I am especially religious about it while I’m pregnant.
Unfortunately, over the years, eggs have gotten a bad rap due to the fact that they contain cholesterol. However, in my research about cholesterol (deserving of a blog post of its own!), my concern over cholesterol has just about diminished. Our bodies need cholesterol and it is not something to purposely avoid. Pregnant mamas especially should not fear this since they are eating in such a way so as to provide nutrients for another developing human being. A developing body needs a lot of nutrients! I digress.
Here is a profile of the “incredible, edible egg”:
- Choline – necessary for healthy cell membrane function as well as mental function and memory. This is a substance that helps prevent fat and cholesterol from “sticking” to the walls of your arteries.
- Selenium – strengthens the immune system and is a powerful antioxidant
- B Vitamins – Folate (37%) & Riboflavin (35%), Pantothenic Acid (60%). These convert foods we eat into energy, and we all are familiar with hearing how important Folate is for pregnant women as it helps prevent birth defects
- Loaded with vitamins A, D, E, & K (one of the few foods that has naturally occurring Vitamin D!)
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin – these carotenoids and fat-soluble antioxidents are related to Vitamin A. These compounds function in the eye and may serve to protect your eyes from macular degeneration. They are concentrated in the retinas of your eyes. Not only that, but they have a number of other benefits which include, but are not limited to, protection against some types of cancer. Believe it or not, these nutrients are more bioavailable in eggs than they are in veggies and most supplements.
- Iron – 22% of the RDA!
- Phosphorus – 56% RDA
- Zinc – 23%
- Eggs are a complete protein – containing 6-7 grams!
- Contain 200mg of cholesterol
- The list goes on!
Are all eggs the same? What type should I consume?
No! All eggs are not the same. I would recommend buying local, pastured chicken eggs if possible. Chickens that are allowed to graze and forage for themselves will eat a diet full of omega-3 fats primarily from bugs which you will consume when you eat the egg! Commercial eggs will lack the omega-3s because they are fed predominately grain. Chickens were created omnivores, not as vegetarians! Not only that, but when you consume eggs laid by grain-fed chickens, the risk of indirectly consuming GMOs is there due to the high possibility of GMO grain being fed to the chickens.
You can tell the difference between eggs from pastured chickens verses commercially raised chickens by the color of the yolks and the hardness of the shell. The yolk from a pastured chicken egg will look more orange while the commercial egg yolk will be yellow. The shell of a pastured egg will be much harder to crack. The egg has overall better structural integrity. The difference in the amount of nutrients between pastured eggs and commercial is vast. Pastured eggs, hands down, have far more nutrients than the commercial egg.
Egg yolks are also great to feed to your baby due to the cholesterol and choline content. Both are essential to proper, healthy brain development. According the the Weston A. Price Foundation, breast milk has six times the amount of cholesterol that adults consume in their food. This is a very indicative fact to how important these nutrients are to developing bodies! I began feeding my son egg yolks around 8 months of age. Stick to just the yolks as the whites are more difficult to digest, especially for a still developing digestive system! The white is also the part of the egg that most often causes allergic reactions, so best to wait until after the first year of life.
Don’t just take my word regarding the wonders of an egg. Check out these links for other helpful, beneficial information: