When it comes to a food that's been misunderstood for many years, eggs generally come to mind. At one point, eating eggs was considered to be as bad as smoking cigarettes. CRAZY!
But luckily science and research has improved over the years and accurate information has slowly made its way into the mainstream. Though there are plenty of people who will shun egg yolks in favor for the egg white, the majority understand the benefits and nutrients obtained from the whole egg.
In years past, eggs were associated with heart disease due to its high cholesterol level but as we've learned, cholesterol alone does not lead to blocked arteries and heart disease.
Eggs are a fantastic source of key nutrients aside from just being versatile and delicious. But it's important to consider the source of the egg. Ideally, whenever possible consider purchasing eggs that come from pasture raised chickens. The below chart will outline why this is important.
Benefits of pastured eggs:
High in cholesterol: Your brain requires cholesterol in order to function. "While your brain represents about 2-3% of your total body weight, 25% of the cholesterol in your body is found in your brain, where it plays important roles in such things as membrane function, acts as an antioxidant, and serves as the raw material from which we are able to make things like progesterone, estrogen, cortisol, testosterone and even vitamin D." Research has concluded better memory function in the elderly population who consumed a diet high in cholesterol. Eggs contain HDL cholesterol, which is the one we want.
High in Omega 3s: While all egg yolks contain some level of omega 3 fatty acids, the feed that chickens ingest plays a role, as you see in the above chart. Free range eggs contain nearly 3 times more omega 3s that conventional eggs from caged chickens. As I've talked about in previous posts, a diet rich in omega 3s, can decrease inflammation in the body, prevent heart disease and supports joint and brain health.
Good source of choline: The recommended dose for choline is 550 mg/day men and 425 mg/day for women. Just one egg yolk provides 115 mg of choline. Choline is important as it helps the body absorb fat. Fat is critical for the creation of cells and cell membranes. It also supports brain function and leads to improved cognitive function. It also aids with muscle performance and heart function among other things. "Choline deficiency causes muscle damage and abnormal deposition of fat in the liver, which results in a condition called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Genetic predispositions and gender can influence individual variation in choline requirements and thus the susceptibility to choline deficiency-induced fatty liver disease."
Support eye health: Eggs contain Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which are powerful antioxidants that build up in the retina. They help protect against oxidative stress and may protect against macular degeneration, that so often happens particularly as we age.
Great source of protein: Just one egg contains 6 grams of protein, which is essential for all tissues and structural functions in our body. The recommended daily intake is "0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. This amounts to: 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man. 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman" Aside from getting enough protein, it's important to note that getting too much protein can have a negative effect on renal, vascular and digestive health. So it is vital that we find an optimal balance from a high quality source, such as pasture raised eggs.
Aside from the fact that eggs are nutritious, widely available and delicious, eggs are versatile and our family eats them every single day in one form or another. This is a favorite way to fancy up the every day egg and make it a little more special. It's perfect for brunch!
mini frittata recipe
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15-20
Makes: 24 frittatas
mini muffin tin
8 pastured eggs
1/2 cup cooked broccoli cut into small pieces
1/4 cup red pepper finely chopped
3 strips bacon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp fresh chopped Italian parsley
Start by cooking your bacon. I took the easy way and cooked it in the mirco for 2.5-3 minutes depending on the strength of your micro. I layer paper towels on the bottom and top of a microwave safe plate. If you're not a fan of the microwave, cook it in the pan until fully cooked. Either way, don't discard the bacon fat if you cooked on the stove top and don't discard the greasy paper towels, if you cooked it in the micro. Finely chop the bacon and set aside.
Next beat your eggs with the whisk until they're fully incorporated. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk again until fully combined. Set aside.
Grease your muffin tin with the bacon fat and slowly scoop out a little of the egg mixture into the muffin tin. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until set. The way to check is to press with your finger and see if the egg has hardened. Once fully cooked, let cool for 5 minutes (if you can resist). Best way to remove them is to cover them with a cutting board and turn upside down so they all pop out. If any of them stick, you can slide a small spatula or butter knife along the side and loosen them up. They're also fantastic at room temperature and store well in the fridge for the next day.