Egg

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An egg does not have to be defined. Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on earth and can be part of a healthy diet. The most common edible egg found is of a chicken but duck and goose eggs are also consumed while quail and ostrich eggs are considered delicacies and gourmet products. Despite many theories, most of the eggs that are consumed by humans are unfertilized and do not contain a developed embryo. This happens because of the process of refrigeration that prevents cell growth.

Did You Know

  • Egg allergy is one of the most common food allergies in small children
  • A hen requires 24 to 26 hours to produce an egg. Thirty minutes later, she starts all over again.
  • If an egg is accidentally dropped on the floor, sprinkle it heavily with salt for easy clean up.
  • Yolk color depends on the diet of the hen. Natural yellow-orange substances such as marigold petals may be added to light-colored feeds to enhance colors. Artificial color additives are not permitted.
  • Eggs age more in one day at room temperature than in one week in the refrigerator.
  • There are about 150 species of chickens in the planet
  • A hen can lay about 250 eggs per year
  • A large egg yolk contains approximately 60 Calories while the egg white contains about 15 Calories
  • One large egg provides 13 essential nutrients in varying amounts.
  • The colour of the egg shell is not related to quality, nutrients, flavour
  • A fresh egg will sink if placed in water while a stale egg will float
  • Egg yolks are one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D
  • An egg shell has as many as 17,000 pores over its surface.
  • Eggs have the highest quality proteins, including all 9 essential amino acids.
  • The protein in eggs helps adults build and preserve muscle strength and allows them to feel full longer and stay energized and helps the aged fight off muscle wear and tear.

Free range Eggs

The world is slowly moving towards consuming free range eggs which are produced by free range hens. These hens are allowed to roam outdoors instead of being contained within enclosed spaces, that tantamounts to cruelty. Most of the commercial factory production involves keeping the hens in cages and preventing their natural behavior. Sometimes it is taken to an extreme where the hens are debeaked to prevent pecking at each other which can cause the hen severe pain and even death by starvation. As of now, no detailed regulation have been drafted on free range egg production but the need to stop cruelty towards the hens has resulted in a volunteer welfare program in the US which includes guidelines for feed, housing, space, beak trimming and transportation handling. This programe is known as United Egg Producers Certified(UEP Certified. For more information, visit United Egg Producers Certified Program

Egg and Health

Eggs are known to be a naturally nutrient-dense food and have a high proportion of nutrients as compared to calories. Enough research has shown that a single egg with its yolk contains about 6 grams of healthy protein, 14 essential nutrients and all 9 essential amino acids.

A nutrient chart of an egg is as listed below

Proteins- They help build and repair body tissue and cells, grow strong hair and nails, build and maintain healthy muscles, helps strengthen immunity and fight infections and also helps keep the body fluids in balance

Vitamin E – It is an important nutritional element, is an antioxidant and helps maintain normal metabolism

Omega 3 – It helps in keeping the heart healthy and regulates blood flow. It also helps in the proper development of the brain and eyes.

Choline, folate, lutein and zeaxanthin that are found in the egg yolk are extremely beneficial for the working of the body. They are help in the nerve tissue and brain development in fetuses. This helps prevents Birth defects.

Vitamin D and Riboflavin– It help older people at risk from sarcopenia which is an age-related loss of muscle mass and keep tissues healthy

Zinc and Niacin- Promotes normal nerve function and builds immunity.

Egg hazards

  • Chicken egg yolks contain about 10 grams of fat and so people on a low-cholesterol diet may need to cut down on egg consumption.
  • The egg white consists mainly of water, about 87%, and protein, 13% and contains no cholesterol and little, if any, fat
  • The egg yolk does have some cholesterol inducing fats but restricting the consumption of eggs will help as compared to the numerous advantages.
  • Another health issue associated with eggs is contamination from bacteria such as Salmonella. So care must be taken to avoid the egg shell becoming contaminated.
  • It is important to cook eggs thoroughly before eating them, as the heat kills any infectious micro organisms. Do not eat foods containing raw eggs. This includes "health food" milk shakes made with raw eggs, Caesar salad, Hollandaise sauce, and any other foods like homemade mayonnaise, ice cream, or eggnog made from recipes in which the egg is not cooked.

Egg substitutes

For those who don’t consume eggs, there is some alternatives-

For Proteins- Nuts and other protein rich foods

for baking- other rising agents and binding materials such as round flax seeds,tofu and arrowroot. Specifically-

  • 2 tbsp corn starch = 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot flour = 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp potato starch = 1 egg
  • 1 heaping tbsp soy powder + 2 tbsp water = 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp soy milk powder + 1 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water = 1 egg
  • 1 banana = 1 egg in cakes.

References

  • Eggs - Nutrition And Health
  • Eggs Really ARE Incredible!
  • Egg, white, raw, fresh