Kalie Thompson, DI, Baptist Health System Dietetic Internship
Proteins are the basic building blocks of the body. We need protein to keep our bodies in good working order, to repair body cells as they wear out, and for protecting us from bacteria and viruses. This essential nutrient can also make you feel full, so feel free to include some protein with each meal.
Recent research suggests that a protein intake greater than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) can improve muscle mass, strength, and function in older adults, and this increased amount can be beneficial across the lifecycle as well. Current average recommendations are set at 46 grams of protein per day for women and 56 g for men. Some additional benefits to a higher protein intake include a stronger immune system, and improved wound healing, bone health, and blood pressure.
There are many different types of healthy protein, such as fish, chicken, pork, eggs, nuts and even beans, just to name a few. Let’s look at eggs specifically. Eggs are a great, nutritious lean source of protein; one large egg provides 7 gm of protein. If you have a history of high cholesterol, please consult your physician before increasing the amount of eggs in your diet. Egg whites and Egg Beaters will not affect cholesterol levels.
Eggs are delicious and easy to make; below you will find some quick and easy methods to making your eggs.
Baking Eggs in the Oven
Set your oven to 350 F, grease a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray, and crack your eggs into the tin. Add some flavor with your favorite spices, salt and pepper. Bake for about 17 minutes and voila!
Boiled Eggs in the Oven
Preheat oven to 350 F, put 1 egg in each of 12 muffin cups and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Plunge baked eggs in a large bowl filled with ice water until cooled completely, about 10 minutes.
Cooking Eggs in the Microwave
Place the egg into the bowl of hot water, cover with a plate, and microwave at 50% power for 4 minutes. If you like a runnier yolk, remove and peel the egg now. If you want it to be more cooked, leave the egg in the water for 2 minutes.
In addition to 7 grams of high quality protein per egg, they also provide, iron, Vitamins A, D, E and B12, folate, selenium, and choline. The egg is a powerhouse of disease-fighting nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin. According to the American Optometric Association, studies have shown that lutein and zeaxanthin can reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Choline, a compound found in egg yolks, performs a variety of functions in the human body including memory and brain development, it plays an important role in metabolism, and is a component of all membranes.
Nutrient Benefits in Eggs
Iron-Helps prevent anemia, and the iron in eggs is easily absorbed in the body
Vitamin A-Helps maintain healthy skin and eye tissue.
Vitamin D-Strengthens bones and teeth.
Vitamin E-An antioxidant that plays a role in maintaining good health and disease prevention
Vitamin B12-Helps protect against heart disease
Folate-Helps prevent anemia.
Protein-Essential for building and repairing muscles, organs, skin, hair and other body tissues; needed to produce hormones, enzymes, and antibodies.
Selenium- Works with Vitamin E to acts as an antioxidant to prevent the breakdown of body tissues.