Scientists have found that eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods available, and they should be considered a superfood, due to their ability to boost health and even help tackle obesity, according to researchers behind a new study.
Eggs are rich in just about every nutrient, especially fat-soluble vitamins A and D. Eggs also provide sulfur-containing proteins, necessary for healthy cell membranes. They are an excellent source of special long-chain fatty acids called EPA and DHA, which make them a valuable brain food.
One of the most important substances in egg yolks is lecithin, which is vital for many of the body's metabolic processes, including the dispersal of fat deposits, as well as preventing the formation of gallstones and encouraging the speedy conversion of body fats into energy. Egg yolk is also the most concentrated known source of choline, a B vitamin found in lecithin that is necessary for keeping cholesterol moving in the blood stream.
In the study, researchers discovered that eggs can play an important role in maintaining health as well as helping with weight-loss and dieting.
The nutrition scientists analyzed data from 71 previously published research papers and reference documents that examined egg nutritional composition and the role of eggs in the diet.
They discovered that, despite being low in calories, eggs are a rich source of protein and are packed with essential nutrients thought vital to good health, particularly vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium and choline.
The report also confirms that among protein foods, eggs contain the richest mix of essential amino acids - crucial for both children and young adults since a balance of amino acids is required for proper growth and repair.
Also, the high levels of antioxidants found in eggs means they could even help prevent age-related macular degeneration - an eye condition that is the leading cause of blindness.
The research team highlighted data from previous research in the US which found that people who ate eggs had higher intakes of all nearly all nutrients compared with non-egg eaters.
The lead author of the report said:
"The health benefits of eggs would appear to be so great that it's perhaps no exaggeration to call them a superfood - they are one of the most nutrient-dense foods available.
"Eggs are not only low in calories but are packed with nutrients that are essential to healthy living. They are an ideal food at every stage of life, as well as being easy to cook and enjoyable to eat.
"There are clear nutritional benefits to eating eggs on a regular basis. Emerging evidence suggests that eggs may be beneficial for satiety, weight control and eye health."
One of the key findings of the report - entitled The Nutritional Properties and health Benefits of Eggs - is that eggs are an important dietary source of vitamin D and could significantly help to boost daily intake.
Low vitamin D levels have been linked with a host of health conditions including poor bone health, cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, immune disorders and mental health problems.
Tips for Using Eggs
When buying eggs, always choose organic, free range eggs. They are superior in both taste and nutrients. They contain more omega-3 fatty acids than that of battery-farmed eggs, and much higher levels of vitamin D and E. Also, the yolks of free-range eggs are usually a deep orange color, unlike the pale yellow yolks of battery eggs, showing that they have a much higher beta carotene content.