Nutrients in Chicken eggs

Eggs, as laid by chickens, are rich in a variety of nutrients but are especially rich in high quality protein.  Protein is needed for growth and repair of cells in the body.  Eggs are a versatile food as they can be used in many different ways; they are simple to store and there is very little wastage to an egg - with the exception of the shell. For example, they can be eaten in / as

  • omelettes,
  • snacks such eggs on toast,
  • boiled eggs with 'bread soldiers'
  • or used to thicken custards and sauces
  • to make mayonnaise 
  • to make meringues
  • to make food 'sticky' so that bread crumbs stick to it
  • to bind various ingredients together to make burgers, or meat balls or fish cakes
  • to brush pastry (e.g. on pies) in order to produce an attractive glaze (when baked)

Nutrients in eggs.

The principal nutrient in eggs is protein, and it is present in the white and the yolk.  As an egg is cooked, the protein coagulates and hardens. Eggs also are rich in fat, which is a rich source of energy. Much of the fat is located in the yolk of the egg; only about a quarter of the fat is in the form of saturated fat. There is also cholesterol, but eating an egg a day is not going to particularly affect the levels of 'bad' cholesterol in the bloodstream.  Current thinking suggests that pre-formed cholesterol does not significantly raise blood cholesetol levels.  Much of the blood cholesterol comes from what the liver synthesises, or eating foods rich in saturated fats.  People who have 'familial raised cholesterol /  familial hypercholesterolaemia' have to take greater care of what they eat, especially in terms of saturated fats / cholesterol.

In addition, eggs can add vitamins A, B6, B12 and D to the diet and minerals such as iron, calcium, zinc and potassium.  Neither the colour of the yolk nor that of the shell affects the nutrient value of the egg. 

As an egg ages water moves from the white into the yolk, the 'lining' of the yolk weakens, the shell develops a somewhat dry appearance as water evaporates through it and eventually bacteria will penetrate the shell, leading to decomposition of the contents.

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