Busy people know eggs are one of nature’s great convenience foods. A dozen eggs, stored in the refrigerator, is the most handy of protein foods, always on hand to create a quick omelette, frittata or simply served scrambled on toast when there’s nothing else in the fridge.

What’s in an egg?

An egg is a compact package of nutrition. For a very modest 355 kilojoules (85 calories), it gives you every vitamin except vitamin C and a host of essential minerals. Worth mentioning is vitamin B12, which is hard to obtain on vegetarian diets, and folate, a B vitamin which can help minimise birth defects.

Carotenoids

Eggs are a surprising source of two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, natural compounds related to the beta-carotene of carrots and usually found only in vegetables and fruits. These two anti-oxidants are now under study for their role in preventing macular degeneration of the eye, a common cause of blindness in older folk.

How many eggs?

The number of eggs you can eat on a healthy diet depends on your overall fat intake and your likelihood of heart problems. If your risk is low (cholesterol less than 5.5 millimoles per litre, non-smoker, no family history), then the Heart Foundation believes that an egg a day poses no problem. Just don’t fry it in bacon fat or coddle it in cream.

Eggs have had an unjustified bad press

We used to be told that eggs were bad for our cholesterol. We now know this is not the case as they are not high in saturates. A medium 60gram egg has only 6 grams of fat. Of this, less than 2 grams is saturated fat, with the remaining 4 grams being the healthy monounsaturates and polyunsaturates.

Nutrition stats

Per serve:

One large egg (65-70g in the shell) supplies: 6g protein, 6g fat, trace of sugars, trace of starch, no dietary fibre and 355 kilojoules (85 calories).

Per 100g egg only, no shell:

12 per cent protein, 12 per cent fat, trace of sugars, trace of starch, no dietary fibre and 670 kilojoules ( calories).

Easy ways to enjoy eggs

  • A poached egg with asparagus and chutney on toasted Turkish bread makes a delicious and easy light meal
  • Add hard boiled eggs to salads and rice dishes
  • Beat eggs with chopped green onions (shallots), chopped parsley, grated cheese and a little ham and cook for a quick omelette dinner
  • A raw egg cracked into a smoothie will boost the protein and make a well-rounded breakfast-on-the-run (Not for pregnant women due to the risk of Listeria contamination or frail elderly due to Salmonella)

Written by guest contributor, dietitian-nutritionist Catherine Saxelby, and reproduced here with permission from www.foodwatch.com.au.