Our favourite dietitian Orla Walsh is here to set us straight about eggs and their nutritional facts. Prepare to be surprised!
When it comes to creating meals that are quick, tasty and nutritious – eggs are hard to beat. Packed with protein, vitamins and minerals, there are many ways to cook and enjoy this versatile ingredient without spending hours in the kitchen. Which is why Orla Walsh has teamed up with Bord Bia for their # CrackOn campaign with some tips and tricks for making natural, protein-rich, quick and nutritious meals using Bord Bia Quality Mark eggs.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions around eggs and nutrition?
One of the biggest misconceptions about eggs is that they are high in calories. There are about 70 calories in a single egg which isn’t a lot. That’s less than the standard apple!
Another example is that one slice of toast with butter contains more calories than two eggs. Some people might find this surprising as eggs are so filling! It’s easy to eat two slices of toast, but more of a challenge to eat more than four eggs. This is, in part, because of their protein content. Protein helps fill us up and keep us full.
How many eggs can we eat in a week? And does it depend on exercise levels or other nutritional needs?
A lot of the myths surrounding food comes from the fact that we focused on single nutrients for so long. For example, we focused on cholesterol. We don’t eat cholesterol, we eat food. It was previously presumed that as eggs contain dietary cholesterol that they would raise our blood cholesterol leading to heart disease. What research has shown is that is not really the case. What research needs to focus on going forward is food, not singular nutrients, in order to get a better understanding of diet. Eggs can be part of a healthy balanced diet. Once you focus on eating as many different types of foods as possible each week, you’re on the right track. Nutritional needs are based on exercise, gender, age, conditions, diseases, medications etc. Therefore, it’s not one-size-fits-all.
What’s so good about eggs?
Eggs are nutritional powerhouses. They contain so many different vitamins and minerals. For example, two eggs contain more iron than your standard bag of spinach. Two eggs will give you your daily requirement for vitamin B12 and about one-third of your daily need for Vitamin D, iodine and selenium. Vitamin B12 is important for our nerves and Vitamin D is needed for our bones, while iodine and selenium are necessary for the proper functioning of our thyroid. They also contain phosphorus, zinc, vitamin B2, vitamin A and vitamin E. Impressive, aren’t they?
Does how they are cooked change their nutritional value?
No, the nutritional content remains similar. They’re great for you no matter how you like to eat them. This is obviously great news as they’re hugely versatile and can be eaten in so many different ways.
What’s your favourite egg-based dish?
Pancakes! My favourite recipe is so simple. Add a banana and two eggs to a blender, whizz up and they fry up! Delicious with peanut butter and some yoghurt.
What part of the egg is the most nutritionally beneficial?
Far too often for my liking people throw out the egg yolk. The yolk is where nearly half of the protein is found and the bulk of the vitamins and minerals. So, I implore people to eat the whole of the egg, it’s so good for you and much tastier than going the egg white route.
What’s a benefit of eating eggs that people may not realise?
Oh, there are many… Choline is a super important ingredient to a healthy pregnancy and eggs contain choline. Plus, eggs contain vitamin D. Irish people don’t eat enough oily fish which is one of the few other foods that provides vitamin D. So Irish people need to eat more eggs to up their vitamin D intake. Vitamin D is famous for its role in bone health. However, it’s also important for a healthy immune system. Important for us all, especially coming into the Winter months!