A hot debate that continues to rage on – Are eggs good for you? Are eggs healthy? We’ve been told for decades now to limit our egg consumption and lower our amount of cholesterol to lower our risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.
However – they is one undeniable fact. Eggs are loved almost universally and across many cultures. How can such a shunned simple whole food in its natural state be so damn good?! Well, it’s all to do with the perfect human nutritional profile in the humble Egg.
This article sets the scene on how nutrient dense foods trigger innate sensations to be consumed, and specifically what is it about Egg Nutrition that makes it so good for our body, and a culinary delight. Eat your eggs people!
Taste & Experience – Your Body Motivating you to get Nutrition
Have you ever wondered why we universally really like certain foods? You may just say taste, texture, mouthfeel, smell etc, and of course that would be correct.
However, it’s a little deeper than that. Our amazing bodies know what’s good for them, if we only stop to listen.
From an evolutionary perspective, if we stumbled across a tree bearing ripe fruit, we’d be compelled to get in as much fruit as possible, as food (i.e. energy) was scarce and unpredictably available.
The sugar in the fruits would upregulate the hormone dopamine and overall satisfaction levels, as your body attempts to reward your ego and hardwire the experience such that you are motivated to do the same again when the opportunity arises.
Here’s an Article on hormones and their impact if you’re interested – The Happy Hormone Quartet – Making Happiness.
The excess calories would be stored as fat, to get us through the next period without food until we caught or came across our next meal. Quite often, we could go days without sufficient food, but luckily the human body adapted to tap into our fat energy stores in periods of famine. Pretty amazing really.
Our bodies have evolved to leverage food in the most efficient and effective manner, and to support survival, our body has us experience enjoyment from foods that are either good for us and/or give us an immediate hit of energy we can then store as fat and glycogen for later use.
But I Don’t Like ‘Healthy’ Foods!
All well and good, but you might be thinking “hang on there Steve – broccoli is good for me for sure, but I don’t like it! I can’t stand the bland taste.”
That’s not an issue of evolution or the above theory breaking down. That’s an issue of chronically over consuming hyper-palatable lab-created foods that have been perfectly blended to leverage our bodies natural instincts for fat, sugar and salt – with the goal of addiction, cravings and hijacking the signals that say we’ve had enough.
All in the spirit of greater product sales. Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss is a fantastic read on this very subject of the engineering that goes in to the processed foods we love.
So, when many of us in western society have grown accustomed to engineered foods designed to make you want more, and to over stimulate your senses, Broccoli (or Blueberry / Leeks / Asparagus etc) taste of nothing in comparison. That’s a problem created by modern day humans – to hijack our natural instincts and motivate behaviours for profit and business growth, not with individual wellness in mind.
That said, not all whole foods are created equal. Broccoli, for example, pales in comparison from a Nutrient Density perspective when compared to animal nutrition. Especially the Egg…
Eggs – The One Whole Food that get’s us ALL going!
That said, whether you’ve cleaned up your diet to something like IIFYM+ Thrive Eating Approach or similar, or you have still got some way to go to get the processed and addictive hyper-palatable foods out of your diet, there is one whole food that pretty much universally makes people happy.
Why is it Cooked Eggs done any way have more #foodporn hashtags than any other food ingredient? Why does it create such a positive and excited response in most people? For example, AdapNation’s most popular foods in our Food Diary are ALWAYS the ones showing a fried or poached egg, where you can see the yolk bursting out with its orange runny sumptuousness.
Again, the answer is taste, texture, mouthfeel, smell and their incredible versatility right? Right!
However, why have our bodies grown to appreciate the taste of Eggs as much as they do, causing mankind to salivate when seeing a runny egg over avocado toast or in a Eggs Royale? The answer is similar to our bodies innate desire to gobble up sugary things – it values what’s inside the egg.
But unlike sugar, where our bodies wish to indulge in order to store as body fat for a later time of famine, the reasons why Eggs are so attractive to our bodies is more to do with ‘Perfect’ nutrition.
Eggs Are The Perfect Whole Food
Eggs are so nutritious that they’re often referred to as “nature’s multivitamin”.
Additionally, they contain a perfect blend of proteins, healthy fats and antioxidants that support the human body to thrive. That’s why you salivate and get excited about Eggs before you even realise what you are doing…
Here are 6 reasons why eggs are so damn irresistible to our bodies, at a deeper level than most of us realise.
The Egg Nutrition Facts:
#1 – Eggs Are Amongst the Most Nutritious Foods on Earth
One whole egg contains an amazing range of nutrients, as you would expect considering it must contain all the necessary nutrients to turn a fertilised egg into an perfectly formed baby chicken.
One large egg contains a significant amount of Vitamin B12 (cobalamin), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin A, Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) and Selenium. Eggs also contain small amounts of almost every vitamin and mineral required by the human body, including calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, manganese, vitamin E, folate and many more.
A large egg contains 77 calories, with 6 grams of quality protein, 5 grams of fat and trace amounts of carbohydrates. Worth noting that almost all of the nutrients are within the egg yolk. The egg white only contains the protein.
#2 – Eggs Have A Perfect Amino Acid Profile
Proteins are the main building blocks of the body and serve both structural and functional purposes. There are about 21 amino acids that your body uses to build its proteins. Nine of these cannot be produced by the body and have to be obtained from the diet. They are known as Essential Amino Acids.
The quality of a protein source is determined by its relative amounts of these essential amino acids.
Eggs are among the best sources of protein in the diet with all of the essential amino acids in the right ratios, and almost all the non-essential amino acids.
Protein in Eggs
One large whole egg contains just over 6 grams of protein, containing 18 of the 21 amino acids. They contain all nine essential amino acids: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lycine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
Of the four nonessential amino acids, eggs have alanine, aspartic acid and glutamic acid. The semi-essential amino acids arginine, cysteine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine are also present in eggs.
#3 – Eggs Have Perfect Bio Availability
Bioavailability is the percentage of the absorbed protein that can actually be used and incorporated into the proteins of the organism’s body. The higher the number the better the protein is used.
When a protein contains the essential amino acids in a proportion similar to that required by the body, it has a high Biological Value. When one or more of the essential amino acids are missing or present in low numbers, the protein is has a low biological value.
Eggs have a perfect biological value (BV) of 100! All other foods are measured against this yardstick.
Check out the below table to see the bioavailability of other whole foods:
#4 – Eggs Improve Your Cholesterol Profile for Optimal Hormone Production
Studies show that eggs improve the cholesterol profile, and NOT the other way round as we were led to believe. They raise HDL (good) cholesterol and increase the size of LDL (bad) particles, which should lower the risk of heart disease.
One large egg contains 212 mg of cholesterol, which is significant compared to most other foods. Your liver actually produces cholesterol, every single day. The amount produced depends on how much you eat. If you get a lot of cholesterol from food, your liver produces less. If you don’t eat cholesterol, your liver produces more of it. So it’s time to move on from the dated recommendations of limiting egg intake due to it’s cholesterol content.
One study discovered that eating 3 whole eggs per day reduced insulin resistance, raised HDL and increased the size of LDL particles in people with metabolic syndrome.
Importance of Cholesterol
Healthy fats (lipids) are critical to healthy hormone production and therefore overall wellbeing. Hormones are the chemical messengers your bodies uses to create change from your organs, tissues, brain, mindset and metabolism. If your hormones are out of whack, you are destined for emotional, mental and physical challenges. But when we talk about healthy fats, chief amongst them all is Cholesterol.
This might surprise you. While your brain represents about 2-3% of your total body weight, 25% of the cholesterol in your body is found in your brain, where it plays important roles in such things as membrane function, acts as an antioxidant, and serves as the raw material from which we are able to make hormones, critically including vitamin D.
After the brain, the organs hungriest for cholesterol are our endocrine glands: adrenals and sex glands. They produce steroid hormones. Steroid hormones in the body are made from cholesterol: testosterone, progesterone, pregnenolone, androsterone, estrone, estradiol, corticosterone, aldosterone and others.
To read more on Cholesterol, and how it have been wrongly demonised for decades, check out the below article.
#5 – Eggs Improve Brain & Functional Development
Eggs contain Choline. Choline is an essential nutrient for human health and is needed for various processes in the body. Choline is important for liver function, normal brain development, nerve function, muscle movement, supporting energy levels and maintaining a healthy metabolism
The best sources of choline in the diet are egg yolks and beef liver. One large egg contains 117 mg of choline.
#6 – Eggs Protect Eye Degeneration with Antioxidants
There are two antioxidants in eggs that can have powerful protective effects on the eyes and promote good eye health. They are called lutein and zeaxanthin, both found in the yolk.
Lutein and zeaxanthin tend to accumulate in the retina, the sensory part of the eye, where they protect the eyes from harmful sunlight and can dramtically reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
So, Here’s Some Eggs-tra #Foodporn
Like you needed it! Eggs for brunch tomorrow… anyone?
Eggs are amazing. No need to hold back from your urges any longer, or ration yourself as you were once advised. How many eggs per week should you eat? As many as you like!
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