Health benefits of eggs
Don’t be afraid of eggs. They are a super health food and can be prepared in many interesting ways
Around the world, eggs have been a breakfast staple from time immemorial and for all good reasons. Afterall, an egg is a storehouse of vital nutrients, making them an integral part of a healthy diet. And for those of you who are afraid of indulging in this power food because you’re worried that it will add to your weight, remember, one egg contains about 80 calories and about five grams of fat. Hence, smart consumption is a far healthier option to cutting them out completely.
Eggs are a well known rich source of protein — an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. The body uses protein to build and repair tissues as well as making enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals. Unfortunately, unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein, and therefore has no reservoir to draw on when it needs a new supply. Thus eggs are the perfect sources and a smart food choice for those who reduce their intake of carbohydrates in a bit to lose excess weight.
Another important nutrient you’ll find abundantly in egg white is riboflavin or Vitamin B2. And for all of you wondering what’s the benefit of this nutrient, Riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin which is involved in vital metabolic processes in the body and is necessary for normal cell function, growth, and energy production.
The yolk, which many of us avoid out of fear, is actually a very healthy food, if consumed in moderation. Mainly fat, the yolk contains 1.33 gm of cholesterol per 100 gms and is a rich source of vitamin A, B vitamins, calcium, phosphorous, lecithin and iron. Incidentally, the iron found in the yolk is easily digested and assimilated in the body. According to nutrition experts, one can eat one whole egg every day without harming one’s cholesterol and other blood-fat levels. But for those who crave for more eggs, you can reduce fat by using one whole egg and the whites of the rest of the eggs.
And now for all the ways you can eat them. There are four basic ways in which eggs can be prepared. They are us under:
For many of us, this is a comfort food that brings back yummy childhood memories. Boiling an egg is one of the healthiest way you can consume it and is the perfect option for those watching their weight. To make the perfect boiled egg, drop the eggs in their shells (preferably at room temperature) into simmering water, and cook for three to 10 minutes on a medium flame. Here’s the interesting part. A short cooking time produces a soft boiled egg, with a runny yolk while boiling the eggs for a longer time will give you a nice hard boiled eggs, which can be eaten plain,sliced, mashed and even added to variety of dishes.
You may have heard the term often and wondered what exactly the hype is all about. Well, to put it simply, a poached egg is one that has been cooked by poaching it in water. Like a boiled egg, this too is an oil free preparation method. To poach an egg, let water simmer in a pan. Crack the egg into a small bowl and then gently slid it into the pan. Cook the egg until the white has solidified but make sure the yolk remains soft. The ‘perfect’ poached egg has a runny yolk, with a hardening crust.
A scrambled egg with bacon, hash browns, baked beans and toast, now that’s what a perfect American breakfast consists of. This preparation of eggs is an all time favourite with kids. For the perfect scrambled egg, all you need to do is whisk up the eggs in a bowl before pouring them into a hot pan. Whisking will make the batter airy resulting in a light and fluffy preparation when done. Once you pour the batter into the pan, allow it to set for a few seconds and them stir through it and scramble it up. You can add a variety of ingredients like fine chopped vegetables, cold meats, shredded chicken or cheese for more texture and flavour. These can either be mixed into the batter or served as a side dish. Alternatively, pour the egg batter into a hot pan, allow it to settle and cook for a while, arrange the ingredients in a neat line at the centre and then fold the edges over. Cover the pan and let this cook for a minute or two on a slow flame. Incidentally, the all time Mumbaiya favourite, the burji — made with eggs, finely chopped onions, tomatoes, chillis and coriander — is the Indian version of the scrambled egg.
Last but not the least, is the the fried egg. For many of us who are forever racing against time nothing makes for a more filling meal than a couple of fried eggs jammed between slices of bread. Fried eggs are made by cracking the egg into a hot, oiled pan. In fried eggs too, one can either go for the egg well done or for sunny side up. In the former version, the egg is fried well on both sides thus ensuring that both, the white and the yolk are cooked. For the latter, the eggs are left to cook on one side only. Thus, while one side of the egg gets cooked, the top side, especially the yolk remains runny. To get the perfect sunny side up, heat oil in a pan. Crack the eggs into it taking care not to break the yolk. Let it cook for about five minutes or till the whites by the yolk are cooked to your choice. Slide the eggs off carefully into a plate.
Here’s how the nutrition in an egg can be broken down: A hen’s egg of 60 gms consists of:
7.9 gms of protein
7.9 gms of fat
36 mgs of calcium
132 mgs of phosphorous
1.26 mgs of iron