by Hayley Blieden
The term ‘superfood’ is being thrown around very loosely these days. It almost seems that if a food has any nutritional benefits, then it should be classified a ‘superfood’. For this reason I label the humble egg as a superfood with a degree of apprehension. I feel the free use of this term does not do the nutritionally dense, readily accessible egg justice.
Over the last few decades, eggs have received a lot of flack. They were accused of increasing the risk of coronary heart disease due to their increased levels of dietary cholesterol. This link has now been disproved and the heart protective qualities of eggs are now being celebrated. Nutrition scientists are now exploring both the physical and mental health benefits of consuming eggs. Dr Carrie Ruxton, conducted a study into the health benefits of eggs and concluded “eggs are not only low in calories but are packed with nutrients that are essential to healthy living. They are an ideal food at every stage of life.”
How can eggs affect your mood?
When protein is consumed it has little effect on your blood sugar levels and reduces the absorption of carbohydrates. This results in a steady blood sugar level, which positively affects your mood. Protein also primes the brain to produce dopamine, a chemical that keeps you alert. Eggs have the highest quality nutritional protein of all food sources.
Omega-3 fatty acids help to fight feelings of depression and sadness. A study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that people, who had low levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood, were more likely to report symptoms of depression, moodiness and impulsivity. Conversely, people with high blood levels of Omega-3 were found to be more friendly and agreeable.
Another health benefit of eggs is their high levels of choline. An egg contains about 113mg of the essential nutrient choline. Choline is a B group vitamin that is concentrated in high cholesterol food sources including eggs. Choline is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is connected to memory. Low levels of acetylcholine have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and poor memory.
• Vitamin D
In an ideal world we would all get sufficient Vitamin D from exposure to the sun. Sadly, we often go extended periods of time with very little sunshine due to the weather and life’s demands. The connection between mood disorders and Vitamin D deficiency is well established. Eggs are one of the few natural sources of vitamin D. Just two eggs per day will provide 25% of the recommended daily intake.
Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse providing 11 different vitamins and minerals, high quality protein and healthy fats. Along with their nutritional value, eggs are a convenient, tasty and cost effective part of a well balanced diet.
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