The intrepid egg has seen its fair share of promoters and detractors through the years. I’m happy to say that the 1970s’ ad slogan that trumpeted “The Incredible, Edible Egg” is as true now as was the success of Women’s Lib slogan of the same decade – “We’ve come a long way, baby!”
Even as we search for the most functional, productive diet to meet our goals, the egg can confidently take its place as a star player in almost any menu or recipe. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of this incredible food and raise it to superfood status.
Free-range organic eggs are a great source of inexpensive versatile protein that is 100 percent bioavailable (readily absorbed by the body). Eggs provide a complete range of amino acids (building blocks of protein) and are the most complete of all proteins available. In addition to being a reasonable, accessible source of complete protein, eggs are rich in a range of B vitamins, in particular, vitamins B2 and B6, and contain decent amounts of vitamins D, E, and K. In addition, eggs are a rich source of choline, a B-like vitamin important for the brain and nervous system. Eggs are a great source of the essential antioxidant mineral selenium and deliver a reasonable amount of zinc and calcium.
Out to pasture? Grass-fed pastured hens live on pasture (rather than being confined and being fed primarily grains). Eggs from these hens contain up to 20 times more healthy omega-3 fatty acids than the less-fortunate factory hens. When you use pastured eggs (or omega-3 eggs), they provide you with additional vitamin A and vitamin E.
Although the egg yolk is rich in fat and high in dietary cholesterol, consuming them doesn’t adversely affect most people. On the contrary, regular consumption of eggs increases HDL, the beneficial cholesterol. Arachidonic acid, the primary saturated fatty acid present in the egg yolk, is very important for brain development in early childhood. The egg yolk also delivers the bulk of the nutrients present in eggs, with the exception of vitamins B2 and B3. In addition, egg yolks contain two desirable phytonutrients, lutein and zeaxanthin, which provide antioxidant protection to the eyes and help reduce the risk of age-related eye diseases. The egg white provides the majority of the protein present in eggs (60 percent), while the yolk delivers the remaining 40 percent.
The health care industry did not single out the egg for persecution. Like the “Scarlet A” pinned on the coconut, another superfood item, the egg was banished from our everyday diet because of the suspicion that regular consumption resulted in an increased risk of coronary artery disease due to the total and saturated fat content of the egg yolk. In response, egg whites and egg white products filled the supermarket refrigerator shelves.
Should we still be afraid of egg yolks? Absolutely not. Unless you have a known allergy to eggs, consuming a modest number of organic free-range whole eggs per week can be part of a healthy diet. In addition, consuming duck or quail eggs offers those who are more sensitive (not allergic) to chicken eggs the potential for including this delicious and nutritious food into your menu.
Here are a few great ways to include eggs to your weekly menu.
Just a short step off the “beaten” path 😉
Mediterranean Baked Egg Cups
These are simple, delicious ways to prepare single-serving baked egg cups that can be enjoyed immediately, served to guests, or refrigerated for later use through the week as a quick high-protein vegetable breakfast, lunch (with a salad), or snack.
1 bag frozen artichoke hearts (Trader Joe’s or another brand), cut into quarters
1 thinly sliced yellow bell pepper
½ medium fennel (rib removed and fennel thinly sliced)
1/3 to ½ medium radicchio thinly sliced (rib removed)
Dried oregano, basil, and parsley to taste (I use generous amounts)
1 chopped shallot
¼ clove elephant garlic
Porcini mushrooms (I may add a few shitakes for extra flavor)
½ red and ½ orange bell pepper
4 cups baby spinach
Fresh or dried thyme to taste
Himalayan salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
12 organic free-range or pastured (when possible) eggs
½ cup organic cream or organic plain coconut cream
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Sauté artichoke hearts along with the sliced pepper, the fennel, and radicchio in a small amount of olive oil in a pan along with the oregano, basil, and parsley.
- Add to the pan and sauté the shallot, garlic, mushrooms, red and orange bell peppers, the spinach, and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Grease muffin pan with olive oil.
- Add a scoop of vegetables to each muffin cup.
- Beat eggs in a glass or stainless steel bowl until fluffy. For extra creamy eggs, beat the eggs Pour beaten eggs over the vegetables.
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until eggs are no longer runny.
Baked Coconut Milk Custard
This dairy-free coconut custard makes a delicious alternative to its traditional counterpart.
Coconut oil spray
6 organic free-range egg yolks (pastured eggs are ideal)
1 can organic coconut milk
1½ tablespoons organic maple syrup or Lyle’s Golden Syrup (my favorite)
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Spray four ramekin dishes lightly with the coconut oil spray.
- Separate the eggs. Store the whites in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Place the egg yolks in a medium-size stainless steel or glass bowl and beat well.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the egg yolks and mix well.
- Divide the custard mixture among the four ramekin dishes.
- Fill a baking dish halfway with water.
- Place filled ramekin dishes into the baking dish and bake for 1 hour or until the center of the custard is no longer runny.
Macadamia Nut Coconut Cookies
You can enjoy these delicious paleo cookies warm with a glass of unsweetened coconut or other non-dairy milk. Store them in the refrigerator or freeze them for later use.
½ cup organic coconut oil
½ cup organic honey, maple syrup or Lyle’s Golden syrup (my favorite)
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract (I use a Madagascar vanilla extract)
4 large organic free-range eggs (omega-3 or pastured is best)
1 cup organic coconut flour
½ cup raw macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
½ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Gently melt the coconut butter/oil, sweetener of choice, and vanilla extract over a medium-low flame.
- Beat eggs in a bowl.
- Add the melted coconut butter mix to the eggs.
- In another bowl, combine the coconut flour, chopped macadamia nuts, desiccated coconut, and pinch of salt.
- Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and mix gently until well combined.
- Using a tablespoon measure, drop scoops of the cookie batter onto the baking sheet.
- Bake for about 15 minutes or until cookies are a golden brown.
Dip bottom of cookies in melted unsweetened dark chocolate.
Add ¾ cup raw cacao nibs to dry ingredients.
Add ¾ cup fruit juice-sweetened cranberries to dry ingredients.
As you emerge from the cold and commit to a way of eating and living that supports your health goals, you can incorporate these delicious treats in moderation.
Live with Vitality Now!
Our nutrition expert, Peta Cohen, M.S., R.D., has been a clinical nutritionist and metabolic specialist since 1996. Peta specializes in examining the root causes of complex and chronic health issues, and helping clients prevent the diseases caused by lifestyle choices, environmental influences, epigenetics, and aging. With her extensive clinical and research experience, she's been invited to share her knowledge at seminars and conferences worldwide. In Peta's articles for the BoomSpot, the blog of the online store theBoomShop.com, she gives practical tips on how adults 50+ can improve their health right now. Learn more about Peta at PetaCohen.com.