You may be loading up on chia seeds and kale, but there are nutrition powerhouses all around you. (Probably in your pantry right now!) Here are 10 super foods most folks are missing out on.
There are so many misconceptions swirling around eggs. I hear egg chatter in crowded elevators or at dinner parties—folks so proud about tossing that golden yolk. The next time you find yourself in the midst of an egg conversation, pipe in with these egg-cellent facts.
Myth: Always toss the yolks (it’s egg white omelets or nothing!).
Fact: To get the scoop on this longtime myth, I spoke with dietitian Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author of MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better and consultant for Eggland’s Best. Ward says, “It is the fat and cholesterol that scares people most about egg yolks, but I think most folks would be surprised to learn that most of the fat in eggs is unsaturated, or the heart-healthy kind. In addition, eggs are surprisingly low in saturated fat. As you know, saturated fat raises blood cholesterol levels with more force than does cholesterol.”
In addition, “egg yolks have nearly half the protein of an entire egg, plus all the vitamins and minerals and omega 3s, ” Ward says. “Eggs pack in good nutrition for about 70 calories each.”
Food Safety Basics
Eggs are considered a potentially hazardous food that may cause illness if they’re not handled correctly. Raw and undercooked eggs have been associated with salmonella poisoning. Most folks infected with the salmonella bacteria develop symptoms about 12 to 72 hours after infected. Most people can recover but if symptoms are severe, hospitalization may be required especially in those with a compromised immune system (like the very young and old). Proper handling, cooking, and hand washing can prevent most of the issues.
Keeping Eggs Safe
Egg safety begins at your market and continues until the time when you reserve leftovers.
- Purchasing: Inspect egg cartons at the market. Don’t purchase cracked or dirty eggs and be sure to check the sell-by date. Eggs should always be refrigerated, even when on display.
- Storing: Be sure to get those eggs home quickly. They shouldn’t sit at room temperature longer than 2 hours—1 hour if it’s above 90 degrees. Once home, place the eggs in your refrigerator immediately.
- Preparing: When preparing eggs, wash your hands, any utensils, and surfaces that will come into contact with the eggs. If you’re not sure if the eggs are safe to eat, toss them. Once the equipment is used for the eggs, be sure to wash them with soap and warm water immediately. Don’t use them for another prep task (that’s cross-contamination!).
- Cooking: Always make sure that your eggs are safe to eat. For hard-boiled (or any cooked) eggs, you want to cook the eggs until both the white and yolk are firm. Learn how to make perfect hard-boiled eggs.
- Leftovers: Hard-boiled eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. They shouldn’t be frozen.
Many health-conscious folks opt for egg whites only. Little do they know they’re wasting a huge dose of protein and other precious nutrients when they toss out those golden yolks.
Q: When looking to take in healthy protein from eggs, should you go for the whole thing or just eat the egg white?
A: When you look at the nutrients it’s hard to dispute. Eggs have a lot of nutrition going on and most of it’s found in the egg yolk.
Marcia Greenblum, MS, RD, senior director of nutrition education for the Egg Nutrition Center brought us up to speed on all the goodies that eggs have to offer. The white of a large egg provides 3.6 grams of protein, but you’ll also find an additional 2.7 grams hanging out in the yolk. The yolk is also home to all the heart-healthy fats and hefty doses of vitamins like riboflavin, D and B12; nutrients like choline and selenium are also in abundance.
Yes, yolks are also where all the not-so-healthy fat and cholesterol are hiding. If you do have high cholesterol, you may have to limit your intake, but with only 1.6 grams of saturated fat per serving, eggs can certainly be worked in to a heart-healthy diet. To cut down on some of the fat and cholesterol, use a combination of whole eggs plus a few extra egg whites in egg dishes like omelets, frittatas and quiche.
Tell Us: Do you keep or toss the yolks?
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »
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