Thursday, March 26, 2009

Egg-cellent Food

Once restricted from the daily diet for its high cholesterol levels, recent studies have restored the egg's nutritional reputation. Not only are eggs a healthy source of protein, they are also high in Vitamins and Minerals: A, B-12, D, E, Calcium, Folate, Iron, Pantothenic Acid, and Riboflavin.

Many people see the dietary cholesterol value and gasp. However, recent studies indicate this high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is good for us – actually carrying away the "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and has less impact on cholesterol levels than saturated fats. The Canadian Heart and Stroke foundation now recommends eggs as a good source of polyunsaturated fats , which help lower the risk of blood clots, stroke, and heart disease. And, another recent study links the high B-12 concentrations to better brain health . In fact, various studies have proven many health benefits .

Given the rising costs of meats (see table below) the egg has become, by far, one of the most economical choices. Economy is lost, however, if cooking methods produce a poor result. So, here's a fool-proof recipe for hard-boiled eggs, without a blackened yolk:

  1. Place eggs in pot and completely immerse in COLD tap water.
  2. Set (uncovered) pot on stove and bring to a boil.
  3. Once at a RAPID boil, remove pot from heat and cover tightly.
  4. Set timer for 20 minutes. (This is based on sea-level cooking; I time my eggs for 17 minutes because we are a few thousand feet above sea-level.)
  5. Rinse under cold running water for 1 minute. Then, fill pot with cold water and allow eggs to cool completely (about 5-10 minutes.)
  6. Store unused eggs in refrigerator for no more than a week.

Note: I've also experimented with the "perfect" soft-boiled egg and have found that I need only change the timing to 5 minutes to achieve that result. Also, no cold water rinse is then necessary as the eggs are consumed immediately.

Nutrional & Cost comparisons -- Protein

Units of Measure

Egg (Approx. = 2 large)

Chicken (Breast, boneless, skinless)

Pork (Tenderloin/lean cut)

Beef (Tenderloin/lean cut)

Fish (Cod Loin fillet)

Calories

k

149.0

110.0

173.0

249.0

105.0

Total Fat:

grams

10.0

1.2

6.1

18.5

0.9

Saturated Fat

grams

3.1

0.3

2.1

7.5

0.2

Polyunsaturated Fat

grams

1.4

0.3

0.5

0.7

0.3

Monounsaturated Fat

grams

3.8

0.3

2.5

7.9

0.1

Trans Fat

grams

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Cholesterol (mg)

mg

425.0

58.0

79.0

68.0

55.0

Sodium (mg)

mg

126.0

65.0

55.0

50.0

78.0

Potassium (mg)

mg

121.0

255.0

433.0

300.0

244.0

Total Carbohydrates: (grams)

grams

1.2

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Dietary Fiber (grams)

grams

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Sugars (grams)

grams

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Protein

grams

12.5

23.1

27.8

19.4

22.8

Vitamin A

*percentage

12.7%

0.4%

0.1%

0.0%

0.9%

Vitamin B-12

*percentage

16.7%

6.3%

9.2%

15.3%

17.5%

Vitamin B-6

*percentage

7.0%

27.5%

20.7%

26.8%

14.2%

Vitamin C

*percentage

0.0%

2.0%

0.7%

0.0%

1.7%

Vitamin D

*percentage

13.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

Vitamin E

*percentage

5.2%

0.7%

1.3%

0.9%

1.5%

Calcium

*percentage

4.9%

1.1%

0.6%

2.2%

1.4%

Copper

*percentage

0.7%

2.1%

2.4%

3.4%

1.8%

Folate

*percentage

11.8%

1.0%

1.5%

2.5%

2.0%

Iron

*percentage

8.0%

4.0%

8.1%

7.9%

2.7%

Magnesium

*percentage

2.5%

7.0%

6.8%

5.0%

10.5%

Manganese

*percentage

1.2%

0.9%

1.9%

0.5%

1.0%

Niacin

*percentage

0.4%

56.0%

23.3%

25.9%

12.6%

Pantothenic Acid

*percentage

12.6%

8.2%

6.8%

5.5%

1.8%

Phosphorus

*percentage

17.8%

19.6%

25.7%

18.2%

13.8%

Riboflavin

*percentage

29.9%

5.4%

22.6%

6.2%

4.6%

Selenium

*percentage

44.0%

25.4%

67.7%

32.3%

53.7%

Thiamin

*percentage

4.1%

4.7%

61.8%

4.6%

5.9%

Zinc

*percentage

7.3%

5.3%

17.3%

22.1%

3.9%

Average Cost (@ Feb/09)

Canadian $

$ 0.44

$ 0.63

$ 0.96

$ 1.57

$ 1.47

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.