Eggs aren’t just delicious, they’re incredibly nutritious. There’s a good reason eggs are often referred to as nature’s multivitamin – they’re one of the healthiest foods you can eat.
What’s in an egg?
The humble egg is a superfood with 11 different vitamins and nutrients packed into only 300 kilojoules.
Eggs are a perfect protein source because they contain all the essential amino acids our bodies need in the right amounts. They’re a natural source of key nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, E and B12, antioxidants and choline.
The nutrients found in an egg are distributed evenly between the yolk and the white, which is why we recommend eating the whole egg for a nutritious start to the day.
Every time you crack open an egg you’re receiving the goodness of:
- Protein: Athletes often consume eggs before training because they’re a good source of high-quality protein. Protein is used by the body for growth and repair, helping in the formation of muscles, hair, nails, skin and organs.
- Vitamin D: Egg yolks are one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D, making it a convenient way to up your intake without having to sit out in the sun. Vitamin D is essential for strong bones and muscles, as well as overall health.
- Vitamins A, E and B12: Eggs contain a number of vitamins but are particularly rich in A, E and B12. Vitamin A helps form and maintain healthy skin and teeth, while also promoting good vision. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect body tissue from disease. Vitamin B12 is essential for brain and nervous system function, also aiding proper blood formation.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These are essential in protecting against heart disease, inflammatory disease and autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. They help keep your eyes healthy and also play a major role in infant development.
- Antioxidants: Eggs are high in several natural antioxidants including Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which protect your eyes and maintain their health. They are thought to slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of legal blindness in Australia. Egg whites also contain selenium, which protects your immune system.
- Choline: Choline is used by the body for metabolic processes such as liver function, normal brain development, nerve function and muscle movement. It’s particularly important during pregnancy to support foetal brain development.
- Iron: It’s estimated that up to five per cent of Australians are iron deficient. Iron is required to produce haemoglobin, which carries oxygen through the blood. Eggs are an easy way to help hit your recommended iron intake levels.
A good food for life
Healthy eating is good idea regardless of how old you are and what else you do. It helps reduce the risk of lifestyle-related health conditions and boosts energy levels, helping you get the most out of each and every day.
To meet your daily nutrient requirements, it’s important to include a variety of foods from the key food groups. You should also be active, take time out to enjoy life and make sure you get enough sleep.
While diet trends come and go, the basics of healthy eating don’t. And unlike the latest food fads, eggs are relatively inexpensive – making them a valuable inclusion in your healthy, well-balanced diet.
Eggs are also a convenient way for pregnant women, athletes, the elderly, and others with restricted diets or increased nutrient requirements to top up their intake.
Nutritional value of eggs
The nutrient profile of Australian hen eggs and the contribution to Recommended Dietary Intakes (RDI) is shown in the following table:
(104g edible portion)
|Sat fat (g)||24||3.3||3.4||14%|
|Mono fat (g)||n/a||5.1||5.3||n/a|
|Poly fat (g)||n/a||1.6||1.7||n/a|
|Thiamin (Vitamin B1) (mg)||1.1||0.12||0.12||11%|
|Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) (mg)||1.7||0.5||0.5||29%|
|Vitamin B6 (mg)||1.6||0.05||0.05||3%|
|Vitamin B12 (µg)||2||0.8||0.8||40%|
|Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) (mg)||5||2||2.1||42%|
|Vitamin A (Retinol) (µg)||750||230||239||32%|
|Vitamin D (Cholecalciferol) (µg)||10||0.8||0.8||8%|
|Vitamin E (Alpha-tocopherol) (mg)||10||2.3||2.4||
|Omega - 3 fatty acids (total) (g)||
|Short chain Omega-3s (ALA) (g)||
|Long chain Omega-3s (DHA/DPA) (mg)||
|Omega-6 fatty acids (g)||
|Lutein + zeaxanthin (mg)||n/a||0.51||0.53||n/a|
|Vitamin K (µg)||80||<2~||<2~||n/a|
* Food Standards Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. Reference Values for Recommended Dietary Intakes on Food Labels, Standard 1.1.1, Schedule Column 3 and Daily Intakes,
Standard 1.2.8, Table to subclause 7(3) ^ National Health and Medical Research Council. Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, 2006.
Adequate Intakes (AI) ~ Limit of Quantification