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Celebrate health with the egg

Published 4:28pm Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter to all of you.

With Easter upon us, many enjoy eggs at this time of year.

Whether it’s eggs for Easter brunch or deviled eggs as part of Easter dinner, you can crack open an egg today and feel good about it.

Eggs provide some very important nutrients. In fact, just one egg contains only 70 calories, and provides six grams of appetite-suppressing, high-quality protein and 13 different vitamins and minerals.

The most notable nutrients in eggs include immune-enhancing Vitamin A and bone-building Vitamin D, plus the well-absorbed form of iron (heme, compared to non-heme which is less well-absorbed). Eggs now contain 41 IU of vitamin D, which is an increase of 64 percent from 2002. Eggs are one of the few foods that are naturally a good source (or greater than 10 percent of your daily recommended goal) of vitamin D.

Many times as I take customers through the aisles to discuss cholesterol-lowering foods, I don’t bypass the eggs.

In past decades, it was recommended that a person consume three or fewer eggs per week to decrease risk of heart disease. But in fact, recent studies have suggested that eating up to four eggs per week as part of a heart-healthy way of eating won’t increase your risk of heart disease.

The recommendation for lowering cholesterol is to consume less than 300 mg cholesterol per day (200 mg per day if you have elevated LDL or bad cholesterol).

You will be interested to know that the amount of cholesterol in an egg has dropped by 14 percent in recent years, from 212 to 185 mg per egg now. That cholesterol is primarily found in the yolk, so if you would prefer to have an egg every day, then remove the yolk three times per week.

Every time you have eggs, add vegetables to the eggs to make them stretch farther and add fresh flavor. It matters how you cook them as well; just as potatoes become less healthy when you fry them, so do eggs.

Eggs are also a naturally good source of choline, a little-known nutrient found to contribute to fetal brain development and help prevent birth defects.

The National Academy of Sciences recommends increased choline intake for pregnant or breastfeeding women with a goal of 450 mg for pregnant women and 550 mg for breastfeeding women. Two eggs contain 250 mg choline or approximately half of daily needs.

There are many reasons to enjoy eggs all year round.

Ham and egg breakfast quesadilla

Serves 4

All you need

•4 Hy-Vee large eggs

•3 tbsp skim milk

•1⁄4 cup chopped green pepper

•1 Roma tomato, chopped

•1⁄4 cup roughly chopped spinach

•2 oz thin-sliced deli ham (2 to 3 slices), chopped*

•4 whole wheat tortillas

•3⁄4 cup 2 percent milk shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

All you do

1. Whisk eggs and milk in a bowl. Pour mixture into a skillet and scramble over medium heat until nearly cooked. Add chopped green peppers and tomatoes and finish cooking.

2. Remove from heat and add chopped spinach and ham.

3. Heat a griddle pan over medium heat. Place 1 tortilla on pan and heat for 15 to 30 seconds. Flip over and add one-fourth of the egg mixture on one half of the tortilla. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons cheese over eggs. Fold tortilla in half. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes; flip and cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes. The tortilla should be golden brown and the cheese should be melted.

4. Repeat with the other three tortillas.

Nutrition facts: (for 1 serving): 370 calories, 15 g. Fat, 31 g. carbohydrates, 3 g. fiber, 6 g. saturated fat, 240 mg cholesterol, 26 g. protein, 1010 mg. sodium

*Choose a lower-sodium deli ham to reduce the sodium level.





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