Guest article by Sam Hadadi
From scrambled eggs to poached eggs on a doorstep slice of (gluten-free) toast, there’s not a single way that we don’t like our eggs in the morning.
In fact, we love our eggs so much that we even toss them into curries, crack them into deliciously satisfying Shakshuka and stir them into summer salads.
Which is kinda handy, given that clever scientists have just revealed that adding eggs to your salad can boost the body’s nutrient absorption. Clever, huh?
Fellow egg lovers will be pleased to hear that new research1 from Purdue University has revealed that tossing eggs into salads – along with your usual rainbow of raw vegetables – can boost our ability to absorb carotenoids, or fat-soluble nutrients that reduce inflammation.
Wayne Campbell, a professor of nutrition science, said: "Eating a salad with a variety of colourful vegetables provides several unique types of carotenoids, including beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene.
"The lipid contained in whole eggs enhances the absorption of all these carotenoids."
This clever research was published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and was funded by the American Egg Board-Egg Nutrition Center, as well as the National Institutes of Health and Purdue Ingestive Behavior Research Center.
During the study, participants ate a raw mixed-vegetable salad with no eggs, a salad with one and a half eggs, and a salad with three eggs at different times. All eggs were scrambled so that the goodness of the yolk and the high-protein whites were both consumed.
All salads were served with three grams of canola oil, yet incredibly the absorption of carotenoids was almost four times higher (3.8, to be precise) when the salad included three eggs rather than none.
Pretty amazing stat, isn’t it? And this isn’t the first time science bods have found that eggs can boost our nutrient intake – this similar study2 also found that eating whole eggs with your veggies can increase carotenoids absorption.
Jung Eun Kim, a from the university’s Department of Nutrition, added: "Most people do not eat enough vegetables in their diets, and at the same time, people are consuming salad dressings that have less fat or are fat-free.
“Our research findings support that people obtained more of the health-promoting carotenoids from raw vegetables when cooked whole eggs were also consumed.
“Eggs, a nutrient-rich food containing essential amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids and B vitamins, may be used to increase the nutritive value of vegetables, which are under consumed by the majority of people living in the United States."
The researchers believe that the results were thanks to the goodness of egg yolks, which are rich in minerals and fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as all the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin.
While similar results can be achieved with salad dressings, the researchers warn that eggs are better, stating: “…it is easy to overuse salad dressings and consume excess calories. Many salad dressings contain about 140-160 calories per serving, about two tablespoons.
“One large whole egg is about 70 calories and provides 6 grams of protein. People are at a greater risk of putting too many calories on a salad because they don't always know proper portion sizes for salad dressings, but you do know the portion size of an egg."
Happy news, isn’t it? Yet, eggs have long had their ups and downs in the health world, thanks in part to fears over cholesterol levels. However, the cholesterol found in eggs isn’t all that bad anyway, as you’ll see in 'A Lucy Bee Guide to Eggs3.'
Happily, for such an affordable food, eggs are also loaded with plenty of other goodness – there’s a reason we love them so much! – and nutrients. Eat an egg a day and you can expect:
If you love the sound of adding eggs to your diet, then we have plenty of recipes for you to enjoy. We even have a special Lucy Bee egg salad4, packed with other goodness from folic-rich asparagus.
Our other favourite egg-based recipes include:
Fruity Breakfast Omelette With Lucy Bee and Cinnamon5
Smoked Salmon and Broccoli Muffins6
Spanish Omelette, Lucy Bee Style7
Of course, we always recommend eating free range and organic eggs, wherever possible. Better still, get your own chickens, like we do in the Lucy Bee garden – we guarantee that they produce the best-tasting, happiest eggs you’ll ever find!
To read more on the wonders of eggs – as well as seeing our handy tips and advice on how to cook the perfect poached, boiled and scrambled eggs – visit our handy 'A Lucy Bee Guide to Eggs3.'
For further reading, see our 'News' Section.
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Sam Hadadi is an ex-BBC journalist and now a freelance writer specialising in fitness and food.