Egg Nutrition, Calorie for calorie, eggs are a nutrient dense food. It is the cheapest source of protein. They are good source of complete proteins and contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. A single egg supplies about 10% of the protein you need for a day along with healthy doses of vitamins A, B12, D, K, and riboflavin. As a protein source, eggs are relatively inexpensive. They are versatile and quick-to-fix, easy to chew and digest, and enjoyed by people of all ages.
Eggs play an important role in our diet. Current American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines suggest that most people can enjoy an egg a day – as long as they watch their overall cholesterol intake. The AHA still recommends that people consume no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day. If you have elevated blood cholesterol levels, eating less saturated fat may be even more important than cutting back on cholesterol from food. The average egg contains only 1.5 grams of saturated fat.
Why eat eggs? Eggs may be considered as “functional foods”. Functional foods are foods that may have health benefits beyond their traditional nutritional value. Eggs as functional foods contain lutein and zeaxanthin that reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. They may also be considered as “designer foods”. These are foods that have been modified through biotechnology to enhance their quality or nutritional value. Eggs as designer foods contain omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E. Eggs contain the highest quality protein you can buy. Egg protein has just the right mix of essential amino acids needed by humans to build tissues. It is second only to mother’s milk for human nutrition. In addition, eggs have thirteen essential vitamins and minerals.
Storage – Do not wash them as this can remove their protective coating. Dirty eggs will keep longer than fresh eggs. Eggs which have been cleaned have had the protective coating removed, thus the eggs will spoil faster and absorb refrigerator odors. Store eggs in the refrigerator where they will stay fresh for about one month. Do not store them in the refrigerator door since this exposes them to too much heat. Never stack egg trays near grills or stoves. Take out eggs only for immediate use. Keep them in their original carton or in a covered container so that they do not absorb odors or lose any moisture. Make sure to store them with their pointed end facing downward as this will help to prevent the air chamber, and the yolk, from being displaced.
Cooking – Make sure eggs are safe to eat. Eggs should be cooked until the whites are set (completely coagulated and firm) and the yolks begin to thicken (no longer runny, but not hard). Scrambled eggs and omelets should be cooked until firm throughout with no visible liquid egg remaining. For egg containing dishes (like sauces, casseroles, etc) cook until an internal temperature of 160 F or above has been reached.
Important: If a freshly laid egg is left at room temperature for a full day, it will not be as fresh as a week old egg that has been refrigerated between 33 and 40 F from the time it was laid.
Expiration Date: the “self-by” or “best if used by” or “exp (date)” are all expressions used by the industry and are used by the retailer to assure you of freshness. The egg will continue to be fresh for at least another 2-3 weeks if it has been refrigerated from the time packed until use. As the egg ages, it does lose some of its qualities, so if you were baking a cake or whipping meringue, your cake might not rise as high as expected, and you might not get the volume of meringue you would expect, so for baking purposes it is better to use a fresher egg.
Buying – Fresh eggs have a rough and chalky shell, old eggs are shiny and smooth. To determine if an egg is fresh, immerse it a pan of cool salted water. If it sinks, it’s fresh. If it floats, it’s best to throw it away.
Local Names for Eggs:
Tagalog – itlog
Bikolano – bunay
Kapampangan – ebun
Ilokano – eklog
Pangalatok – itnol
Maranao – orak
Chavacano – webos