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Mar 10

Health Foods A-Z: Eggs

This health food series has explored Avocados, Broccoli, Cauliflower and Dates so far. Today, we talk about Eggs.

Eggs have long been known as a store-house of nutrition, but their high cholesterol content has made people cautious of having eggs. However, the American Heart Association’s guidelines allow an egg a day for healthy adults. They do, however, limit the daily cholesterol limit to 300 mg. One large egg contains 213 mg of cholesterol, that accounts for two-thirds of the recommended daily limit.

Eggs are rich in protein. In fact, they contain the highest quantity of protein found in any food.They are low in calories, only 70 per egg. Thus, they are excellent to manage weight, since they help in feeling full longer and stay energized. Protein also helps build muscle strength and prevent muscle loss in middle-aged and aging people.

Along with protein, they also have iron, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids. Antioxidants found in egg yolks help reduce risk of blindness in older adults.

Eggs contain choline, that contributes to the healthy development of the fetus, in pregnancy. This also helps prevent birth defects. Not only for pregnant women, choline is also beneficial for adults. It helps fight diseases and enhance brain development and memory.

Eggs are found in various varieties, such as standard eggs, cage free eggs, organic eggs, free range eggs, etc. Standard eggs come from hens that are kept in small cages, and are fed antibiotics, hormones and a high protein diet. These eggs are the cheapest available, but are not the healthiest option, since the diet of the hens contains so many chemicals.

Cage free or free range eggs are from hens that are allowed an open space and exercise. They are not kept in cages, and this appeals to people who object to confining hens, and the treatment to hens that are caged.

Organic eggs are from hens that are allowed open access, not caged and fed only natural vegetation without fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. Moreover, they are not given any artificial chemicals. Once the eggs are laid, they are not treated in any way, which accounts for their different color and taste.

Omega 3 eggs are from hens that are fed a special diet high in Omega 3, including canola, linseed and flax seed. This translates into eggs that have a high Omega 3 content.

There are some people who believe that brown eggs are healthier than white eggs, however, this is a myth. Brown eggs result from hens with dark feathers and white eggs from hens with white feathers.

Eggs must be stored properly in the refrigerator and cooked thoroughly to kill any potential bacteria. If you choose to have eggs raw, such as in eggnog, take care to use pasteurized eggs.

Popular ways to have eggs are to boil (hard or soft), poach, fry or scramble and have them. Eggs are also used to make desserts such as cakes or soufflé, among other dishes. Essentially, eggs help to bind the ingredients, or to provide a glaze. I have provided a recipe for omelette below, that uses no oil, and is very tasty and healthy. This takes longer to prepare than the conventional stove-top omelette, but is much healthier and tastes the same.

Ingredients:

Baked Omelette

4 Eggs

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp red chilly powder

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tomato, finely chopped

1 green chilly, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 cup mushrooms

Grated cheddar cheese (Add pepperjack cheese, if you want it spicy)

Ham, chopped in small pieces (optional)

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Beat eggs in a mixing bowl till they get fluffy. Add salt, red chilly powder, black pepper, tomato, green chilly, onion, mushroom and ham. Take a pan that is deep and not very broad, for baking. Add all the mixed ingredients, top with grated cheese and bake uncovered in oven for 45 minutes.

Coming up: Fennel

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