Egg Nutrition: Are Eggs Good for You?

The egg is a powerhouse of nourishing goodness. This food is loaded with muscle-building protein, and it's compatible with diets that range from paleo to low-carb.

SUMMARY

Egg nutrition can work wonders. This food can help you burn fat and improve heart health. It may also help stave off diseases that can compromise your vision.

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It’s easy to see why egg nutrition might be a confusing topic for many people. 

For years, people viewed the egg as an unhealthy contributor to heart disease. But recent research casts this food in a much more favorable light. 

These days, many people call the egg a superfood, and this praise is justified. Eggs contain nutrients that build a stronger body. 

Want to get the skinny on egg nutrition? Keep reading to:

  • Uncover basic facts regarding this popular food
  • Learn about the various ways in which eggs are cooked
  • Understand the difference between conventional, organic and pasture-raised eggs
  • Get the details on egg nutrition
  • Learn whether this food is compatible with a ketogenic diet
  • Find out whether eggs are good for you
  • Get the scoop on omega-3 eggs
  • Gain insight regarding the top egg brands
  • Learn about this food’s health benefits
  • Access delicious recipes that include eggs as an ingredient

Egg basics

An egg is an essential part of the reproductive process for many animals. It’s a vessel containing an embryo that will develop into a baby animal if left to mature.

The females of many different species lay eggs. The list includes birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and some mammals. Humans have been eating eggs for centuries. 

Most of the eggs that wind up on our plates today come from chickens. Chicken eggs consist of a yellow portion known as the egg yolk and a white portion known as the egg white or albumen. 

Eggs are one of the most popular foods in the nation. According to data gathered by the United Egg Producers, U.S. table egg production totaled 99.1 billion in 2019.

How to cook eggs

You can cook eggs in many different ways. Here are some popular options:

Hard-boiled

To prepare a hard-boiled egg, cook it its shell in boiling water. Allow it to cook until the yolk hardens.

Soft-boiled

Cook a soft-boiled egg in the same way as one that’s hard-boiled, but for less time. The shorter cooking time allows the yolk to remain runny.

Hard-scrambled

To prepare hard-scrambled eggs, mix the yolk and egg whites. Then cook in a pan until firm.

Soft-scrambled

Soft-scrambled eggs are cooked in the same way as eggs that are hard-scrambled, but for less time. This allows the eggs to remain soft and wet.

Scramble

An egg scramble consists of scrambled eggs cooked with various ingredients. You can add meats, diced potatoes or cheese to the mix. 

Omelet 

An omelet is essentially scrambled eggs that have been molded into a solid base. Top this base with ingredients such as cheese, vegetables and meats.

Sunny side up

To prepare an egg sunny side up, crack it directly into a pan. Then fry it until the edges are brown, without flipping it. 

Over easy

An egg that’s cooked over easy is prepared in almost the same way as one that’s cooked sunny side up. The difference is that with the over easy method, the egg is flipped when the edges are brown to create a light film over the yolk.

Over medium

This method is similar to over easy, except that the egg is fried a bit longer once it’s been flipped. This creates a thicker film over the egg yolk.

Over hard 

This method follows the same approach as over easy and over medium. However, the egg is fried even longer once it’s been flipped so that both the white and the yolk are completely cooked and hard.

Poached

A poached egg is one that is cooked in boiling water without the shell.

Baked

This method of cooking involves baking an egg in a dish. Typically, the egg is mixed with other ingredients.

Raw 

As its name indicates, this method of preparing an egg doesn’t involve any cooking. A raw egg is one that is uncooked and eaten straight from the shell. This method of egg consumption is often used by bodybuilders as an easy way of adding protein to their diets. You can use raw eggs to give smoothies a protein boost.  

Conventional vs. organic vs. pasture-raised eggs

If you’re shopping for eggs, you have three main choices to consider: conventional, organic and pasture-raised. 

Conventional eggs

Most of the eggs sold in the U.S. are conventional. Conventional eggs are produced by caged chickens that have been raised in factory farms. These chickens are typically given antibiotics on a routine basis and hormones to boost production. 

Organic eggs

Organic eggs are an excellent solution for those who want to avoid the chemicals and hormones present in conventional eggs. The chickens that create organic eggs aren’t given hormones, and they’re fed organic feed. Also, they aren’t put on a steady diet of antibiotics. They’re given antibiotics only in situations where an infection demands it. 

Pasture-raised eggs

Pasture-raised eggs are also known as pastured eggs. Unlike conventionally raised chickens, the chickens used in this egg production aren’t confined to cages. They have access to outdoor pastures.

These conditions are more humane for the chickens. Additionally, studies show that hens with access to the outdoors lay eggs with higher omega-3 and vitamin D content.

Some pasture-raised eggs are also organic. Organic pasture-raised eggs are perhaps the healthiest, most nutritious option available when it comes to egg consumption. 

Egg nutrition

Ready to get the scoop on nutrition facts concerning egg intake? According to information published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one large whole egg (50 grams) contains these nutrients:

  • Water – 38.1 grams
  • Calories – 71.5
  • Protein – 6.28 grams
  • Total lipid (fat) – 4.76 grams
  • Ash – 0.53 grams
  • Carbohydrate – 0.36 grams
  • Fiber – 0 grams
  • Total sugars – 0.185 grams
  • Calcium – 28 mg
  • Iron – 0.875 mg
  • Magnesium – 6 mg
  • Phosphorus – 99 mg
  • Potassium – 69 mg
  • Sodium – 71 grams
  • Zinc – 0.645 grams
  • Copper – 0.036 grams
  • Manganese – 0.014 grams
  • Selenium – 15.4 μg
  • Fluoride – 0.55 μg
  • Vitamin C – 0 mg
  • Thiamin – 0.02 mg
  • Riboflavin – 0.228 mg
  • Niacin – 0.038 mg
  • Pantothenic acid – 0.766 mg
  • Vitamin B6 – 0.085 mg
  • Total folate – 23.5 μg
  • Folic acid – 0 μg
  • Food folate – 23.5 μg
  • DFE folate – 23.5 μg
  • Total choline – 147 mg
  • Betaine – 0.15 mg
  • Vitamin B12 – 0.445 μg
  • Retinol – 80 μg
  • Vitamin A, RAE – 80 μg
  • Beta carotene – 0 μg
  • Alpha carotene – 0 μg
  • Beta cryptoxanthin – 4.5 μg
  • Vitamin A, IU – 270 IU
  • Lycopene – 0 μg
  • Lutein + zeaxanthin – 252 μg
  • Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) – 0.525 mg
  • Beta tocopherol – 0.005 mg
  • Gamma tocopherol – 0.25 mg
  • Delta tocopherol – 0.03 mg
  • Alpha tocotrienol – 0.03 mg
  • Beta tocotrienol – 0 mg
  • Gamma tocotrienol – 0.005 mg
  • Delta tocotrienol – 0 mg
  • Vitamin D (D2 and D3) – 41 IU
  • Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) – 1 μg
  • Saturated fatty acids – 1.56 grams
  • Monounsaturated fatty acids – 1.83 grams
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids – 0.956 grams
  • Trans-monoenoic fatty acids – 0.013 grams
  • Trans-polyenoic fatty acids – 0.006 grams
  • Cholesterol – 186 mg
  • Tryptophan – 0.084 grams
  • Threonine – 0.278 grams
  • Isoleucine – 0.336 grams
  • Leucine – 0.543 grams
  • Lysine – 0.456 grams
  • Methionine – 0.19 grams
  • Cystine – 0.136 grams
  • Phenylalanine – 0.34 grams
  • Tyrosine – 0.25 grams
  • Valine – 0.429 grams
  • Arginine – 0.41 grams
  • Histidine – 0.154 grams
  • Alanine – 0.368 grams
  • Aspartic acid – 0.664 grams
  • Glutamic acid – 0.836 grams
  • Glycine – 0.216 grams
  • Proline – 0.256 grams
  • Serine – 0.486 grams

As you can see, eggs contain all the essential amino acids. As such, this food is a complete source of protein. 

Are eggs keto?

Eggs are naturally low in carbohydrates. This makes eggs an excellent choice if you’re on a keto or low-carb diet. 

Additionally, since they’re loaded with protein, eggs are a great food to consume if you’re on a high-protein eating plan. Eggs are also compatible with the paleo diet.  

Are eggs good for you?

Decades ago, eggs were viewed as being an unhealthy food due to their cholesterol content. Foods with lots of cholesterol have been linked with heart disease. However, studies show that though eggs are high in cholesterol, egg consumption doesn’t typically raise the level of harmful cholesterol in the body. 

There are two main types of cholesterol: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). They both have very different effects on our health.  

LDL cholesterol is the type that’s been linked heart disease. However, HDL cholesterol impacts the body in the opposite way. People with high levels of HDL cholesterol actually have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Recent studies show that eating eggs can increase the level of HDL cholesterol in the body by as much as 10 percent.

Eggs are also an abundant source of protein, and this food is loaded with lots of other nutrients. This means that overall, eggs are good for your health. 

What are omega-3 eggs?

The chickens that lay omega-3 eggs are fed a diet that’s enriched with omega-3s. Because of the special feed given to these chickens, omega-3 eggs are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. These eggsla have as much as five times the omega-3s of regular eggs. 

There are many benefits that come with increasing your omega-3 t . This nutrient can help banish depression and anxiety. It also works quite powerfully to reduce inflammation

Top egg brands

Here are some top brands to consider for clean, organic egg nutrition. All these brands raise their chickens in humane conditions and give them full outdoor access. They’ve all received top scores from the Cornucopia Institute, an organization that aims to promote integrity in organic labeling, production and processing. 

Eben-Haezer’s Happy Hens

Eben-Haezer’s Happy Hens is a California-based farm that produces pasture-raised eggs, This family-owned farm is 100 percent organic. 

This brand sells its eggs exclusively in Southern California at these stores:

  • Boney’s Bayside Market
  • Cream of the Crop
  • Frazier Farms
  • Harvest Ranch Market 
  • Jimbo’s Naturally 
  • Erewhon Markets
  • Whole Foods
  • Lazy Acres
  • SeaSide Market
  • Ocean Beach Peoples
  • Whole Foods
  • Windmill Farms 
  • Valley Farm Market
  • Lassens Natural Foods

Kingbird Farm

Headquartered in Berkshire, New York, Kingbird Farm provides organic eggs that come from a flock of 300 laying hens on rotated pasture. You can purchase this brand’s eggs in upstate New York at the company’s self-serve store. These eggs are also available at the Ithaca Farmer’s Market. 

PNS Farms

Based in Miami, PNS Farms serves the South Florida area. The brand’s chickens have year-round pasture access, and they’re fed organic soy-free feed. You’ll find these eggs at Living Green Fresh Market in Oakland Park and Pompano Beach. 

SOVA Farm

SOVA Farm is located in Norwich, New York. It’s home to rolling fields, certified organic pastures, a stream and a few ponds.

This family-owned farm provides full outdoor access for its birds. SOVA Farm’s eggs are organic and soy-free. The brand’s eggs are available to those living in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.  

World’s Best Eggs

World’s Best Eggs come from Coyote Creek Farm, located in Elgin, Texas. This farm is home to organic hens that are free to explore and enjoy open pastures. These birds lay nutrient-dense eggs that are high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in cholesterol. 

This brand’s eggs are available in Texas. Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana at these stores:

  • Whole Foods
  • Natural Grocers
  • Jolie Vue Farm
  • Farmshare Austin – Mobile Markets

Health benefits of eating eggs

Egg nutrition can provide these health benefits:

May improve eye health

Eyesight often gets worse with age. Fortunately, there are certain nutrients that can help offset the degenerative conditions that negatively impact our vision as we grow older. 

Lutein and zeaxanthin are two such nutrients. These antioxidants support the health of the eye’s retina. Studies show that including lutein and zeaxanthin in your diet can reduce your risk of getting two afflictions that can impair vision as you age: cataracts and macular degeneration. 

Egg yolks are a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin. In a 1999 study, eating just 1.3 egg yolks per day for 4.5 weeks was shown to significantly increase lutein and zeaxanthin levels

May lower triglycerides

Triglycerides are blood fats, and they’ve been linked with heart disease. Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can help lower the levels of these fats in the blood. 

Eggs that are omega-3-enriched and/or pasture raised contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than regular eggs. Studies show that eating omega-3-enriched eggs can substantially lower triglyceride levels

Supports healthy weight loss and muscle building

Protein consumption can help speed up the metabolism, allowing you to burn fat more effectively. It can also help suppress your appetite. All this can ultimately support healthy weight loss. 

Also, bodybuilders know that protein is essential if you want to create muscles that are healthy and strong. 

Eggs are an excellent source of protein. What’s more, egg protein contains all the essential amino acids. As such, this food can provide valuable support on your weight-loss or muscle-building journey. 

May improve brain health

Eggs are a rich source of choline. This nutrient helps build cell membranes, and it plays a key role in brain health. 

Studies show that choline intake supports healthy cognitive function. You can enjoy choline’s brain-boosting benefits by including eggs in your diet. 

Recipes that include eggs

Mediterranean egg frittata

These delicious recipes all include eggs as an ingredient:

Mediterranean Egg Frittata

This tasty recipe is suitable for both keto and paleo diets. It teams egg nutrition with ingredients such as vegan ricotta and plant-based milk. 

Smoked Salmon Egg Breakfast Muffins

This filling recipe combines eggs with smoked salmon. The end result is a delicious meal packed with omega-3s.  

Easy Caprese Quiche

This mouthwatering dinner recipe includes eggs, heavy cream and mozzarella balls. You can store it in the fridge for up to three days. 

Next steps

Now that you know all about the the nutritional value of eggs, stock up on this nourishing food at your local grocery store.

If want to enjoy the benefits of egg nutrition without the shopping and cooking, subscribe to Fresh N’ Lean. We offer a variety of meal plans to suit all kinds of diets, and we include healthy organic eggs in many of our dishes. For your convenience, we deliver our chef-prepared cuisine straight to your door. 

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