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Diet & Exercise: The incredible edible egg

You’ve probably all heard the ad for “The Incredible, Edible Egg,” but did you know the egg really is incredible?

First, eggs contain a low-cost, high-quality source of protein (the best for human consumption, in my opinion), minerals and vitamins (all except vitamin C), and egg yolks are one of only a few foods that contain vitamin D. They contain choline, which is necessary for healthy membranes in our bodies, and for proper brain function. Eggs are good for our eyes, too, because they contain more lutein than any green vegetable, even spinach.

Eggs are also versatile. They can be prepared over easy, sunny side up, shirred, hard boiled, soft boiled, poached or scrambled. In addition, eggs can be made into egg salad, or added to other food dishes. It is true egg yolks contain cholesterol, but most on a low-fat diet can eat one or two eggs a day without measurable changes to their blood cholesterol levels. In fact, “saturated” fat in the diet, not cholesterol, influences blood cholesterol levels most.

While eggs do seem a common allergen, especially in infants, many children outgrow the allergy, then have no problem. Also, folks allergic to chicken eggs shouldn’t take the flu vaccine. To avoid risk from Salmonella (a type of bacterium that can be present both on the inside and outside of eggs), cook eggs thoroughly, and don’t hold eggs in the temperature range of 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours.

Don’t eat raw eggs either; not only because of risk of Salmonella infection, but because raw eggs contain a substance called avidin. Avidin binds with biotin (a B vitamin necessary for cellular growth), and keeps it from being absorbed by our bodies. However, cooking eggs breaks avidin’s bond. Even if you mix an egg with your dog’s food for a shiny coat, first cook the egg, because avidin affects dogs the same way.

If you wash fresh eggs, do so only with cool water. An egg has pores that can draw contaminants in if washed in warm or hot water.

Now for some fun facts about eggs.

The average hen lays 250 to 270 eggs a year. The color of an egg is determined by the color of the laying hen. Hens with white feathers and white earlobes, lay white eggs. Hens with red feathers and red earlobes lay brown eggs, though brown eggs taste no different than white ones. An eggshell can have as many as 17,000 pores that are used to let in oxygen and keep out carbon dioxide. About 75 billion eggs are produced in the U.S. each year.

China is the biggest supplier of eggs in the world, producing 390 billion. If you can’t remember if an egg is raw or hard boiled, spin it. If it wobbles, it’s raw; if it spins, it’s cooked. A fresh egg will sink in water, but a spoiled egg will float.

So, consider the egg: it’s one of the most nutritious foods available to us. By the way, as to which came first, the chicken or the egg, read Genesis 1:20-22 and you’ll find … it was the chicken.

Diet or exercise question?  Email me atdwcrocker77@gmail.com, or visit fitness4yourlife.org. David Crocker ofLandrum has been a nutritionist and master trainer for 29 years.