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What is the nutritive value of an egg in human diet ?
In this article, I will explain what an importance of an egg is in the human diet. I also explain the nutritive value of an egg. It is rich source of protein, vitamins and other nutrients. I will also explain why an egg considered as a whole diet and role of an egg for women (both pregnant and non pregnant).
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USE OF EGG IN HUMAN DIET
Egg is the sole nutrient containing all nourishment elements required by human beings, except for the breast milk.
The IQ levels of the children regularly nourished with egg during 0 – 3 age period demonstrated significant increase.
Is there any other nourishment which is as delicious, nutritive and cheap as the egg?
The only food that does not trick us with its natural packing is the EGG.
Nutrient Value of Eggs
With all the media attention on cholesterol, consumers often lose sight of the fact that eggs are a nutrient rich, affordable contributor to a healthy diet. Not only do eggs contain the highest quality source of protein available but they also contain almost every essential vitamin and mineral needed by humans [Sorry, no vitamin C in eggs. Chickens, unlike humans, can produce their own vitamin C and don't need to get it from the diet.]. In fact, egg protein is of such high quality that it is used as the standard by which other proteins are compared.
We must not exclude egg from our meals, which has high nutritive value adequate for healthy living and balanced nutrition to invigorate any living being; because:
Egg is a valuable source of iron for infant after six months. Insufficient iron intake can lead to anemia (deficiency of blood). Furthermore, iron plays an important role for growth, development and sound immunologic system.
One egg consumed during the day is extremely beneficial for prospective mothers; the egg both covers the protein need for the prospective mother and ensures nourishment of the baby and say hi to the world with adequate weight.
The choline substance in the egg plays significant role particularly for children with respect to intellectual/cerebral development and enhanced learning capacities. Males need 550 mg and females need 425 mg daily choline intake in order to become successful individuals throughout their life. This need increases 7 times during pregnancy.
Scientific studies proved that regularly consumed egg is effective for protection against cancer and cardiovascular diseases and their treatments; for having healthy digestive system, for relieving the symptoms of menopause and for preventing osteoporosis.
The studies reported that the risk of breath cancer in future ages shall diminish in adolescent females regularly consuming egg.
Egg consumption also diminishes the risk of apoplexy.
The egg protects the ocular health; diminishes the risk for ocular disorders and cataract that could occur in geriatric period.
Despite high nutritive content, egg is low in calorie.
With 12 separate nutrition elements, egg is the nutritional depot which is easy to digest, delicate and cheap
Nutrient Content of a Large Egg
Nutrient (unit) Whole Egg Egg White Egg Yolk
Calories (kcal) 72 17 55
Protein (g) 6.29 3.60 2.70
Total lipid (g) 4.97 0 4.51
Total carbohydrate (g) 0.39 0.24 0.61
Fatty acids (g) 4.13 0 4.32
Saturated fat (g 1.55 0 1.62
Monounsaturated fat (g) 1.91 0 1.99
Polyunsaturated fat (g) 0.68 0 0.71
Cholesterol (mg) 212 0 210
Thiamin (mg) 0.04 0.00 0.03
Riboflavin (mg) 0.24 0.15 0.09
Niacin (mg) 0.04 0.04 0.00
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.07 0.00 0.06
Folate (mcg) 24 1.0 25
Vitamin B12 (mcg) 0.65 0.03 0.33
Vitamin A (IU) 244 0 245
Vitamin E (mg) 0.48 0 0.44
Vitamin D (IU) 18 0 18
Choline (mg) 125.6
Betaine (mg) 0.3
Calcium, Ca (mg) 27 2 22
Iron, Fe (mg) 0.92 0.03 0.46
Magnesium, Mg (mg) 6 4 1
Copper, Cu (mg) 0.05 0.01 0.01
Zinc, Zn (mg) 0.56 0.01 0.39
Sodium, Na (mg) 70 55 8
Manganese, Mn (mg) 0.02 0.00 0.01
(Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 19)
Biological Value of an egg
Scientists frequently use eggs as a standard for measuring the protein quality of other foods. Protein quality is expressed as biological value, which measures the rate of efficiency that protein is used for growth. At 93.7%, eggs score higher than any other food. On a scale with 100 representing top efficiency, following are the biological values of proteins in several foods.
Whole egg : 93.7
Milk : 84.5
Fish : 76.0
Beef : 74.3
Soybeans : 72.8
Polished rice : 64.0
Wheat, whole : 64.0
Corn : 60.0
Beans, dry : 58.0
Eggs have been considered the standard against which all other protein foods are measured because their protein composition is so ideal.
Eggs are considered a complete protein because they contain all nine essential amino acids, or the building blocks of protein.
One large egg contains 6.3 grams of protein. The protein is almost equally split between the egg white and the egg yolk. The white contains 3.5 grams of protein while the yolk contains 2.8 grams. The protein in an egg contains all the essential amino acids used for growth and development.
Based on the essential amino acids it provides, egg protein is second only to mother's milk for human nutrition. Essential amino acids must be provided by the food we eat because our body cannot produce them. While providing 6.25 grams of the highest quality protein, each egg contains 10 percent of the USRDA.
Muscles, organs, skin, hair as well as antibodies, enzymes, transport molecules and hormones are all made from protein. Each protein has a certain number and sequence of amino acids. Nine amino acids cannot be made by the body. These nine are known as essential amino acids and you must get them from the foods you eat.
Foods that contain all nine essential amino acids are called complete protein foods. The nine essential amino acids are:
The remaining acids if not supplied in the diet are produced mostly from the essential amino acids.
The Goldmine of Goodness
An egg is one of the most exciting ways to get your daily dose of essential nutrients, protein, vitamins and minerals.
For 140 calories, a serving of two eggs provides all the following nutrients:
• 20% protein - contains amino acids for repair and renewal of cells
• 12% vitamin A - essential for normal growth and development
• 16% vitamin B12 - essential for blood cells and nevous system
• 8% vitamin B6 - required to metabolise protein
• 12% vitamin D - aids mineral absportion and good bone health
• 6% vitamin E - protects against heart disease and some cancers
• 12% folate - for red blood cell formation
• 4% thiamine - important for brain function, nerves and energy release
• 16% phosphorus - essential for healthy teeth and bones
• 30% riboflavin - helps with energy release from proteins and fats
• 8% zinc - helps with immunity, growth, taste and perception
• 8% iron - helps with red blood cell formation.
The egg contains the highest quality protein amongst all nutrition," because the egg contains "essential amino acids" of the protein not synthesized by the human body and must be obtained externally via nutrition. Digestibility is high and almost all of the consumed egg is used by the body and converted into bodily proteins.
The dietetic experts recommend that, for adequate and balanced diet for the children in growth and development period, at least half of the protein consumptions must be animal originated. Therefore, egg must be taken into specific consideration for children's' diets due to its protein value.
One single egg has 6.25 grams of protein of the highest quality, containing all the 9 essential amino acids your body requires. These amino acids are the building blocks of life, necessary for the growth of your children.
Egg protein is critical for pregnant women because it enables the baby to grow normally and even builds his resistance for the future. Moreover eggs help in the development of the mother's uterus, breasts, and other reserves.
What's more, the high quality protein of an egg is essential to repair worn-out and damaged tissues. It is an excellent source of energy. And it helps in digestion and in building resistance.
Egg yolks contain lutein and zeaxanthin which contribute to health of the eye. The choline found in eggs plays a role in brain function. Everybody requires the right amount of fat to stay healthy. An egg contributes only 6% of the recommended maximum of total fat. The fat in eggs is easily digested, which is an important factor in the diet of young children, convalescents and old people. No wonder, eggs are recommended by the National Institute of Nutrition as an important part of a nutritionally balanced diet.
Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 enhanced eggs come from chickens that are fed a diet of natural grains fortified with sources of omega 3 fatty acids, such as algae or flax seed
These fats are an essential component of the human diet and are needed for brain growth and development
They may be helpful in the prevention and treatment of heart disease, high blood pressure, inflammation, mental health disorders, diabetes, digestive disorders and autoimmune diseases
The vitamin content of the egg particularly comprises of A, D, E and B group vitamins as well as others.
Vitamin A in the yolk procures better ocular health (good eyesight) and is also required for development of bones, healthy teeth and healthy skin. Vitamin A assists development of body cells, ensures healthy respiration and digestive system and provides protection against infections.
Vitamin D assists utilization of calcium within the human body. The yolk is among several nutrients which are the source of Vitamin D and in case one benefits adequately from sunlight, egg particularly prevents formation of bone disorders due to Vitamin D deficiency, particularly for children.
The egg is also rich in content with respect to Vitamin E. Due to antioxidant effect; Vitamin E protects our body against detrimental materials.
Group B vitamins are necessary for transformation of some nutrient elements into energy in the body. They have the entire Vitamin B Group, necessary for a good appetite, healthy metabolism and stable nerves. The egg is particularly rich in content of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin). Furthermore, choline contained in the egg also plays significant role for fulfillment of cerebral functions.
Vitamin K for the normal clotting of blood.
Although the egg does not contain Vitamin C, if it is used in combination with any nutrient with rich Vitamin C content, absorption rate of iron in egg's structure will increase
Eggs are an excellent source of 11 critical minerals.
Iron is necessary for generation of blood. Insufficient iron intake can lead to anaemia (deficiency of blood). Moreover, iron is also important for growth, development of immune system, brain development, temperature regulation, energy metabolism and work performance. Inadequate iron intake can deteriorate learning capacity and skills of children and thus decrease their achievement in school.
The zinc contained in the egg is particularly important for growth, development and immune system.
Phosphorous, to stimulate the nerves and the brain.
Calcium, sodium, chlorine, potassium, sulphur, magnesium, zinc, copper and iodine for the normal functioning of your body.
Eggs for the Woman
Eggs are especially good for women at all stages of their lives, contain vital nutrients and help with controlling weight and preventing deteriorating in eyes and bones.
High Quality Protein for Women's Health
Protein is the only essential nutrient that provides nitrogen, extremely important for building and repairing muscle and organ tissues as well as maintenance of blood, nerves, bones and heart. After mother's milk, an egg contains the highest quality food protein known. The human intestine is able to absorb ninety seven percent of the egg's protein in the form of amino acids. In fact, egg protein contributes all the amino acids known to be essential for humans in the amounts needed for normal body function. Egg white has the highest biological value protein of any one food. This means all nitrogen from egg protein can be absorbed and retained by our body. Recent studies of protein metabolism have highlighted the vital importance of protein consumption for women. One study where elderly women were fed diets containing protein from either animal or vegetable sources found less breakdown of body protein in the elderly women consuming protein from animal rather than vegetable sources.
In addition, animal protein was also found to increase bone density, while vegetable protein intake decreased it. Another study found elderly women experienced significant loss of normal body function including immune response, muscle function and muscle tissue stores when a low protein diet was consumed.
Pregnancy and Infant Nutritional Needs
Adequate nutrition, even as early as 8 weeks before pregnancy begins, can help to ensure proper growth during critical stages of embryonic and fetal development and maintain optimal health of the mother as well. Vitamin needs increase considerably during pregnancy. Certain vitamins such as foliate and vitamin B6, and minerals such as iron and iodide, are needed in quantities nearly double that of non-pregnant females due to their involvement in cell metabolism and reproduction.
Other nutrients newly found to be essential for health are not yet classified as either vitamin or mineral but have been shown to be necessary for promotion of normal development of the fetus into infancy and beyond. Choline is an essential nutrient that is associated with memory storage and muscle control. Choline metabolism is closely inter related with the metabolism of folate and vitamin B12 to produce the amino acid methionine from homocysteine. Eggs are an excellent dietary source of choline, which in laboratory studies has been shown to enhance fetal brain development and memory function even into old age. The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, also found in eggs, have been found to protect eyes from illness associated with vision loss in the elderly.
Eggs contribute many B vitamins including folate and vitamin B6 as well as a readily absorbable form of iron. It is well known that severe iron deficiency in pregnancy, especially during the first half of pregnancy, may lead to preterm delivery, low birth weight, and increased risk for fetal death in the first weeks after birth. Most recently, research has indicated that egg yolks are a good food source of absorbable iron for infants even after the first 4-6 months when their fetal stores of iron becomes depleted and dietary iron is essential for continued health. In fact, this study also found that antibody levels specific to egg yolk or egg white were no higher for the group that received the egg yolks. Other recent findings have shown that infants who consumed adequate amounts of vitamin D had an 80% lower risk of developing diabetes. Again, eggs are one of the few foods that are a natural dietary source of vitamin D.
Yes but, what about the cholesterol?
For over 25 years eggs have unjustly been the icon for the fat, cholesterol and caloric excesses in diets and the message to limit eggs to lower heart disease risk has been widely circulated. The "dietary cholesterol equals blood cholesterol" view is a standard of dietary recommendations, yet few consider whether the evidence justifies such restrictions. Over 50 years of cholesterol feeding studies show that dietary cholesterol does have a small effect on plasma cholesterol concentrations. Cholesterol feeding studies demonstrate that dietary cholesterol increases both LDL and HDL cholesterol with little change in the important LDL: HDL ratio.
The American Heart Association has revised its dietary guidelines to allow an egg a day in your diet, if the rest of your daily cholesterol intake is limited. Many misconceptions about the function of cholesterol in human nutrition may lead young mothers to be needlessly concerned about providing eggs to their children. Human milk contains more cholesterol than both cow's milk and infant formula. For the infant who is weaning from breast milk or formula, no significant effect was found in plasma cholesterol levels when infants age 6-12 months when fed a diet including 4 egg yolks a week. As a matter of fact, current American Heart Association recommendations are not to restrict fat in the diets of children under two years old.
The benefits derived from cholesterol consumption during early childhood relate to cholesterol's role in the development of the central nervous system as well as stimulation of enzymes needed for cholesterol degradation. Additionally, when finances are tight, eggs are extremely inexpensive for the powerhouse of nutrition that they are. Eggs are portion sized so there is little wastage and can be refrigerated for up to a month saving many inconvenient trips to the grocery store. Since eggs are so versatile they can be prepared in an infinite number of ways and mixed with so many other healthy ingredients they are sure to keep boredom from interfering with a nutritious intake, and will make you seem like a gourmet chef time and again.
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