Personally I really enjoy eggs, not every day but once or twice a week, they are so versatile, nutritious and easy to cook and make a great lazy weekend brunch or light dinner. There has been a lot of controversy over the years relating to eggs, mostly unfounded, which I'd like to clear up!
We’ve been led to believe that eggs are loaded with artery clogging cholesterol and will increase our risk of heart disease and stroke. Yes eggs do contain cholesterol, as do all animal products but research has shown that dietary cholesterol from eggs has little bearing on blood cholesterol. Cholesterol is made in the liver so in the presence of dietary cholesterol, the body simply makes less!
A recent review of 17 scientific research papers showed no association between egg consumption and heart disease or stroke risk.
On the contrary, many leading health experts call eggs the perfect food, containing vitamins, healthy fats, protein, trace minerals and other nutrients all in one low calorie package! Not that I count calories but for those of you who do, there are only 72 calories in a large egg!
I remember the saying Go to work on an egg and boy were we healthier when that was the case. After all the false negative health connotations, we were encouraged to switch to high sugar breakfast cereals with milk instead, not great for our health on any level as we are now discovering!
It’s not dietary cholesterol which causes most health problems, its sugar and most commercial breakfast cereals are loaded with the stuff as well as salt and other questionable ingredients.
So back to nature’s super convenience food EGGS!
What’s so great about them?
They contain omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, B vitamins, choline, iodine, folate, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, phosphorous, chromium, lutein, zeaxanthin, protein and fat soluble vitamins A, D, and E.
Now that’s a pretty impressive list, and I wouldn’t expect you all to know what all those things are or do so I’ll break it down and make it simple. Here are the most important benefits
1. Eggs strengthen your brain function, thanks to the omega 3 fats, B vitamins and choline.
2. Eggs help you to lose weight, due in part to the protein and good fats which keep you fuller for longer.
3. Eggs are great for your eyesight, thanks to lutein and zeathanthin, both antioxidants which can prevent macular degeneration and cataract formation.
4. Eggs boost your immune system, thanks to vit D, which most of us are deficient in these days and it’s kind of important since it underpins the whole immune system!!
5. Eggs contain good quality protein which along with choline helps to build cell membranes and repair tissue and muscles.
So quite a few good reasons there to include eggs in your diet!
However the nutritional quality of eggs varies enormously depending on what the chickens who lay them are fed on and the conditions in which they are kept!
Organic, free range eggs are higher in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E and antioxidants, basically the things with most benefits for our health so its most definitely worth buying them!
Here is a useful link from Compassion in World Farming explaining higher welfare products and the different types of eggs available in the UK. Ciwf.org.uk/guide
It is very confusing trying to make sense of all the labels on eggs from cage free, free range, natural and organic. Most of them are meaningless. Cage free simply replaced caged battery chickens and means that although the chickens are not confined to tiny cages there can be thousands of them packed into large barns which is no better for the chickens or the quality of their eggs.
They are routinely fed antibiotics to prevent disease, which is rife since they are crammed together in un natural conditions, never see the light of day and are generally fed grain which is not their natural diet, again resulting in less nutritional eggs. They have no room to spread their wings or display any of their natural behaviour and it’s just wrong on so many levels but if we want cheap food then this is how it’s produced! Free range doesn’t mean that the chickens are outside all day, all it means is there is outside access provided, which for a barn packed with hundreds of chickens generally means a small outside area at one end which few can access.
I have first hand experience of the sorry state of these poor chickens through rescuing some of them through the British Hen Welfare Trust and I can tell you it, it’s shocking, the state they are in, hardly any feathers, big floppy combs, twisted or stunted beaks and big long toe nails restricting their ability to walk.
I have rescued Polly, Martha, Nessie, Faith, Hope and Grace over the years and given them a natural life and I can tell you they reward you big time with their funny antics, yes they all have different personalities and respond to love and treats, just like any other animal and they provide you with a regular supply of delicious eggs! We call them Pets with a Purpose!
Here are some pics of the ladies enjoying their natural life, foraging and generally living as nature intended them to.
If anyone can offer some of these lovely souls a home then contact BHWT on for details of re-homing hens in your area.
So the best kind of eggs to buy are organic, free ranging preferably from a named farm in your area. Luckily for those of us in Glasgow, Locavore have a flock of genuinely free ranging chickens and ducks and I would highly recommend their eggs. Locavore will deliver them along with your weekly veg bag and other sustainably sourced, organic staples.
Next benefit, they are incredibly easy to cook – nature’s healthy version of convenience food!
Here are some of my favourite ways of eating them.
Omelettes with fresh herbs, tomatoes, and feta or goats cheese for extra protein boost.
Scrambled with smoked salmon for breakfast or lunch.
Boiled as a convenient snack or Salad Nicoise with boiled potatoes, lettuce & olives.
Poached on rye toast with seaweed flakes for a mineral and flavour boost.
My absolute favourite is an omelette but not just a plain boring omelette! Oh no at Nourished by Nature we can do better than that. So here’s how to up the nutritional benefits and the flavour of your omelette and raise it to gourmet standards!
Firstly use coconut oil to cook it in, adding antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral benefits, boost your metabolism, your immune system, your digestion, your brain and every other system!
Next add turmeric, a superstar in the health stakes, beating drugs hands down for just about everything! For pain relief, anti inflammatory benefits, supporting brain function, immune system, and every other body system! Wee important note on the use of turmeric, its not absorbed very well so to boost uptake use black pepper.
Wee sciency bit, the curcumin which gives turmeric its yellow colour and all its amazing health benefits is boosted by a compound called piperidine which is a constituent of freshly ground black pepper and absorption is further enhanced in the presence of oil, hence the coconut oil!
Next add some finely chopped red onion, the sulphur compounds will help to fight infection. A big handful of chopped spinach which will further support your immune system with a powerful array of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, then top it all off with some feta cheese, goats cheese or flaked salmon or mackerel for an extra protein boost and omega 3 fatty acids which will give you energy and keep you feeling full for hours!
I tend to finish mine under the grill and garnish liberally with seaweed flakes for a mineral boost or freshly chopped oregano or flat leaf parsley, although dried herbs are nice too!
So you can see how easy it is to boost the nutritional value and flavour of a few eggs!
Here is the basic recipe for a superstar omelette for 1 person.
2 organic, free range eggs
1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 spoonful coconut oil or rapeseed oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Himalyan sea salt to season
Small red onion, finely chopped
Good handful of spinach, chopped
Feta cheese, cubed or goats cheese, sliced (optional)
Salmon flakes, cooked mackerel cut into bite sized pieces (optional)
1 tsp dried mixed herbs or freshly chopped oregano or flat leaf parsley
1. Whisk the eggs and water in a small bowl, add few grinds of black pepper and sea salt
2. Heat the oil in a non stick omelette pan.
3. Add the chopped red onion and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the chopped spinach and stir until wilted.
4. Add the egg mixture and cook for 5 minutes or so, gently lifting the edges with a spatula and tilting the pan to let the uncooked egg from the middle cook evenly.
5. Add selected toppings, feta or goats cheese or fish or sliced tomatoes
6. Put pan under a hot grill until the top is nicely browned and the egg is cooked through.
7. Garnish with chopped herbs and/or seaweed flakes.
It is worth noting that although eggs have many nutritional benefits, they are among the most common allergenic foods so not everyone can eat them! So most definitely don’t include eggs in your diet if you think you may be allergic to them! Sounds obvious but I’m just saying that even though foods are considered healthy, it doesn’t necessarily mean we can all eat them and feel great!! No-one knows your body better than you so choose foods which make you feel good. If you suffer from digestive upset or any other symptoms after eating certain foods then don’t eat them!
........your health in your hands.....
🍃 Health educator🍃