According to the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) results, eggs are an affordable, accessible, nutrient-rich source of high-quality protein that can be eaten as part of a healthful diet. One large egg provides varying amounts of 21 essential vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein, and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.
Here is the complete nutrition breakdown:
Power of the Egg.
Despite the yolk being made out as a villain for years, it is the most nutritious part of the egg. The egg yolk contains half of the protein and contains higher amounts of vitamins A, D, E, K, B9, and B12 than the white. The yolks also contain more iron, phosphorous, calcium, selenium, zinc, copper, manganese, and choline than the white.
Whole eggs are a nutrition powerhouse and a valuable source of many important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
How Much and How Often Should You Eat Eggs?
You may be wondering about how eggs can be nutrition powerhouses since they contain cholesterol. On average, one large egg contains about 186 mg of cholesterol - all of it in the yolk.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 300 milligrams a day of dietary cholesterol. While there is no specific limit on eggs, one large egg has about 185 milligrams of cholesterol. Therefore we recommend one egg yolk per day or 7 whole eggs per week.
Also, there are some people who are hyper responders
-people who respond quickly and to a greater extent-to dietary cholesterol. Some people are also genetically predisposed to existing conditions affecting the number of whole eggs a person should consume weekly. That’s why it’s important to know what works best for your body, your health condition, and how you respond to dietary cholesterol.
Gone are the days of just buying a dozen eggs. Now when you enter the grocery store the egg buying options are endless...and the variety of cartons and package styles is confusing. Here is the lowdown on the most common labeling terminology:
Organic eggs are from hens that only eat feed certified organic-without most synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Hens must be cage-free and free to roam. The use of antibiotics and growth hormones is not allowed. It’s important to note, that all eggs, organic or not, are hormone free.
“Pasture-raised” or “pastured” means the animal spent some time outdoors, feeding on grass, insects, and worms. Smaller farms and family-owned farms usually do pasture-raised eggs, however, there is also still no government regulation for this label considering how long those periods are.
The birds are not raised in cages, but are still subject to industrial farming techniques. The label gives no indication of any other living conditions.
Produced conventionally and industrially, but are exposed to outdoors for some part of their day. The time period is not regulated or monitored by the government and can be as little as one minute per day.
This is used to more accurately describe the source of eggs laid by hens that can not roam freely but are confined to a barn instead of a more restrictive cage.
Grass-fed means the chicken's primary source of food is grass or forage, not grain. There are no government standards for this label.
Omega 3 eggs:
Generally these hens are given omega-3 food sources (e.g. flaxseed) in their diet in order to increase the omega-3 content in the egg. They are still subject to industrial farming techniques.
No added antibiotics:
Hens were not given antibiotics in their feed or water.
This label appears on some packages as a marketing tool since no lying hens are given hormones.
The hens were fed a vegetarian diet which is controversial since chickens are not naturally vegetarian. They normally eat an omnivore diet which is a mix of produce, grains, worms, snails, slugs, and insects.
Want more info including label icons you might see on egg cartons? Visit www.aeb.org/retail/defining-egg-types-labels
to download a fact sheet.
- Cooking spray, for pan
- 12 slices of nitrate-free ham
- 12 large eggs
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400º and grease a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Line each cup with a slice of ham. Crack an egg into each ham cup, add fresh tomato slices, and season with salt and pepper.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on how runny you like your yolks. Garnish with parsley and serve.
"The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it."
- Arnold H. Glasow