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Health & Fitness: Egg Up Your Diet

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By Kim Duke,

NETA & AAFA Certified Trainer

Eggs might just be the easiest, cheapest and most versatile way to up your protein intake.

Beyond easily upping your daily protein count— each 85-calorie eggs pack a solid 7 grams of the muscle-builder—eggs also boost your health. They’re loaded with amino acids, antioxidants and iron. Don’t just reach for the whites, though; the yolks boast a fat-fighting nutrient called choline, so opting for whole eggs can actually help you trim down.

When you’re shopping for eggs, pay attention to the labels. You should be buying organic, when possible. These are certified by the USDA and are free from antibiotics, vaccines and hormones. As for color, that’s your call. The difference in color just varies based on the type of chicken—they both have the same nutritional value, says Molly Morgan, RD, a board certified sports specialist dietician based in upstate New York.

The following are just some of the incredible effects the mighty egg can have on the human body.

You will boost your immune system. If you don’t want to play chicken with infections, viruses and diseases, add an egg or two to your diet daily. Just one large egg contains almost a quarter (22 percent) of your RDA of selenium, a nutrient that helps support your immune system and regulate thyroid hormones. Kids should eat eggs, especially. If children and adolescents don’t get enough selenium, they could develop Keshan disease and Kashin-Beck disease, two conditions that can affect the heart, bones and joints.

You’ll improve your cholesterol. There are three ideas about cholesterol that practically everyone knows: 1) High cholesterol is a bad thing; 2) There are good and bad kinds of cholesterol; 3) Eggs contain plenty of it. Doctors are generally most concerned with the ratio of “good” cholesterol (HDL) to bad cholesterol (LDL). One large egg contains 212 mg of cholesterol, but this doesn’t mean that eggs will raise the “bad” kind in the blood. The body constantly produces cholesterol on its own, and a large body of evidence indicates that eggs can actually improve your cholesterol profile. How? Eggs seem to raise HDL (good) cholesterol while increasing the size of LDL particles.

You’ll have more get-up-and-go. Just one egg contains about 15 percent of your RDA of vitamin B2, also called riboflavin. It’s just one of eight B vitamins, which all help the body to convert food into fuel, which in turn is used to produce energy.

Your skin and hair will improve. B-complex vitamins are also necessary for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver. (In addition to vitamin B2, eggs are also rich in B5 and B12.) They also help to ensure the proper function of the nervous system.

You’ll protect your brain.  Eggs are brain food. That’s largely because of an essential nutrient called choline.  It’s a component of cell membranes and is required to synthesize acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter. Studies have shown that a lack of choline has been linked to neurological disorders and decreased cognitive function. Shockingly, more than 90 percent of Americans eat less than the daily-recommended amount of choline, according to a U.S. dietary survey.

You’ll feel fuller and eat less.  Eggs are such a good source of quality protein that all other sources of protein are measured against them. (Eggs get a perfect score of 100.) Many studies have demonstrated the effect of high-protein foods on appetite. Simply put, they take the edge off. You might not be surprised to learn that eggs score high on a scale called the Satiety Index, a measure of how much foods contribute to the feeling of fullness.

You’ll lose fat. Largely because of their satiating power, eggs have been linked with fat loss. A study on this produced some remarkable results: Over an eight-week period, people ate a breakfast of either two eggs or a bagel, which contained the same amount of calories. The egg group lost 65 percent more body weight, 16 percent more body fat, experienced a 61 percent greater reduction in BMI and saw a 34 percent greater reduction in waist circumference.

So the next time you are looking for an easy snack, boost of protein or some extra energy.  Think of the egg.  Hard-boiling makes it super easy to travel with.  And they keep in the fridge for impulse snacking.

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