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NUTRITION

Underrated and Unadulterated: Egg is still the best source of protein
Tuesday, 04 August, 2020, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Dr Bhushan Bhavsar
The human body is made up of around 10,000 different proteins that make us who we are and keep us that way with only 20 amino acids comprising these proteins. However, nine of them are incredibly essential as our bodies cannot manufacture them which is why we have to get them by taking a proper diet.

People have different ways of getting all these nine amino acids even though there are only few foods that contain all of them namely red meat, fish, chicken, quinoa, cheese, milk, yogurt and eggs.

Out of these, eggs are inarguably the most popular and effective. This is because when it comes to Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score or PDASS egg scores a perfect 100 and is the only other protein than whey that is best utilised by our body.

Why is Protein Important?
Just like fats and carbohydrates, protein is a macronutrient that is a vital source of energy for the body. Protein is found in every other cell in the body as it facilitates a lot of functions like energy supply, boosting satiety, preventing muscle loss in old people as well as promoting muscle recovery in athletes. However, much of the work credited to protein is attributed to amino acids.

The current international recommended dietary allowance is 0.8 gram of protein per one kilogram of body weight per day giving an average requirement of 56 gm protein for an ideal 70 kg body weight person.

Why Egg is a Nutritional Powerhouse?
Egg is a powerhouse of nutrients which turns a single cell into a young hatchling. A whole egg contains several vitamins like Vitamin A, D, E, K, B6, B2, B5, B12 along with sodium, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, selenium, lutein, zeaxanthin and folate. These nutrients in eggs provide us a wide range of benefits like:
Strong Muscles: Eggs are rich in protein (branched chain amino acids) which helps us repair body tissues including muscles.

Immunity: Eggs are a good source of Vitamin A, B12 and selenium which are key in keeping the immune system healthy.

Reduces risk of Heart Disease: Choline present in egg reduces the levels of homocysteine present in human plasma, reducing the risk of heart diseases.

Eye Health: The lutein and zeaxanthin in eggs promote good vision and keep macular degeneration at bay which is the leading cause of age-related blindness. 

Good during Pregnancy: Egg is rich in folic acid which is effective in preventing congenital disabilities like spina bifida in new-borns and provides a health to the mother.

Brain Health: Eggs are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which aid in good brain function.

The Cholesterol Controversy
There have been misconceptions associated with eggs in the past including the notion that eggs increase blood cholesterol levels. To put it squarely, an egg has 212 mg of cholesterol but since eggs are low in saturated fat, they are actually good for heart health.

Our body has two kinds of cholesterols namely LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) and HDL which is High Density Lipoprotein. When we consume eggs it increases our HDL cholesterol which is good for us and reduces LDL that is bad for us. This evolved understanding about eggs has in recent years helped bust some old myths around egg consumption.

The Versatility of Eggs makes them Popular and Unique
Eggs are very easy to incorporate into a diet as they can be enjoyed when they are fried, scrambled, baked or boiled. This makes it easier for people to consume eggs with boiled eggs as part of a vegetable salad becoming a popular choice of evening meals. An egg being a versatile food tastes different when prepared for different meals but does not lose its nutritional value. This is why it is a part of most midday meals served to schoolchildren around the world.

(The author is MD, Vetphage Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd)
 
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