The scholar Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned some of the health benefits of eggs in his great work "The Prophetic Medicine". He said that fresh eggs should be eaten in preference to old eggs, and that hens' eggs are preferable to those of other birds.
He also said that the egg yolk helps to produce healthy blood; it soothes a sore throat, and is beneficial for a cough, ulcers, the trachea, kidney and bladder. He mentioned the use of egg yolk in the treatment of heart disease (due to its creation of good blood). Ibn al-Qayyim described the white of the egg as being cooling for an inflamed eye, and preventing blistering of burns and sunburn.
So Why Eat eggs?
All eggs contain a yellow yolk surrounded by a clear egg white (the albumin), all encased in a shell. Chicken eggs are the most widely consumed type of egg and are available in white and brown. White eggs come from hens with white feathers and white earlobes, whereas brown eggs come from hens with red feathers and red earlobes. Both types of egg have the same nutritional value.
Eggs have the highest quality of protein of any whole food product, second only to human breast milk. Eggs are a good source of amino acid tryptophan, selenium, vitamins B2 and B12, and are one of the rare sources of natural vitamin D. Eggs are also a good source of choline, which is important for brain function, gene regulation and heart health. Eggs contain the two phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin, which may reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Some of the health benefits of eggs are:
- Cataracts and Macular Degeneration: One study showed that people who ate foods high in lutein and zeaxanthin, such as eggs, had a twenty percent reduction in developing cataracts, and a forty percent reduction in developing macular degeneration.
- Weight Loss: a report in the Journal of the American College of nutrition showed that consuming an egg first thing in the morning may lead to reduced calorie consumption for the rest of the day.
Tips of Eggs
- Check for cracks on eggs before purchasing.
- Storing eggs in the refrigerator will make them keep for longer, but do not keep them in the refrigerator door as they will be exposed to warmer temperatures when the door is opened.
- Wash your hands, utensils, and work surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling eggs to prevent cross-contamination of salmonella.
- A fresh egg should sink at once in a bowl of salted water and lie at the bottom; a bad egg will float.
References for further reading
- Blumberg JB, Jacques PF, Moeller SM. The potential role of dietary xanthophylls in cataract and age-related macular degeneration. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000 Oct; 19(5): 522S-527S.
- Colditz G, Frazier L, Rockett H, Tomeo Ryan C, Willett W. Adolescent diet and risk of breast cancer. Available at: http://breast-cancer-research.com/content/5/2/R59. Accessed on: June 2, 2007.
- Dhurandhar N, Jen C, Khosla P, Marth JM, Vander Wal J. Short-term effect of eggs on satiety in overweight and obese subjects. Journal of the American College of nutrition. 2005;24(6):510-515.