The egg hasn't had it easy. It's tough to crack a bad image, especially one that links you to high cholesterol. But new evidence is in, and the message isn't scrambled: Researchers who studied the relationship between egg consumption and blood cholesterol found that the egg does not, in fact, raise levels of LDL or "bad" cholesterol. Even better, eggs contain nutrients that may help prevent certain serious diseases. Two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, found in large amounts in broccoli, spinach and eggs, may significantly reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of nontreatable blindness worldwide. And eggs happen to contain these valuable chemicals in a highly "bioavailable" form, meaning our bodies absorb more from eggs than from vegetables.
Just one egg also supplies 31 percent of the daily requirement for vitamin K, which may be as vital as calcium and vitamin D in maintaining bone health. And pregnant women might want to consider eating omelets; eggs are rich in choline, a nutrient that's required for fetal brain development and that's especially necessary in midpregnancy.
Finally, at only 70 calories, one egg provides 20 essential nutrients, precious fat-soluble vitamins and high-quality protein, which is important for those on low-calorie or vegetarian diets. Given all that good news, isn't it time we put eggs back on the menu? Eggs-actly.
Eggs for every day
Here are some quick recipes for your daily dose of eggs.
Brush whole-grain bread with honey mustard; top with fresh spinach. Bring 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon white vinegar to a boil. Crack egg into a small cup and then pour into boiling water; cook 3-5 minutes; serve poached egg atop spinach.
Whisk together 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon water, salt and pepper. Pour into hot skillet; turn pan to coat. When bottom is done, top one half with 1/3 cup diced smoked salmon and 1 tablespoon each drained capers and nonfat sour cream. Fold over; heat through. Sprinkle with dill.
Dunk 2 slices whole-grain bread into mixture of 1 egg, 1/4 cup nonfat milk and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon; brown both sides in hot nonstick skillet; serve with maple syrup.
Monte Cristo Sandwiches
Dip 2 slices whole-grain bread into mixture of egg, salt and pepper; top one slice with lean ham, reduced-fat Swiss cheese and romaine lettuce; top with second bread slice; cook in hot nonstick skillet until egg is cooked and cheese melts.
Whisk together 2 eggs and 2 tablespoons each diced onion, tomatoes and green pepper, and shredded reduced-fat Colby cheese; cook in hot nonstick skillet until just done; spoon between 2 whole-wheat flour tortillas. Bake on baking sheet 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Whisk eggs with any of these before cooking: leftover mashed potatoes; smoked turkey breast and low-fat cottage cheese; roasted red peppers, part-skim mozzarella and basil; sliced carrots and dill; Gorgonzola cheese and chopped spinach; mushrooms and pearl onions; broccoli and reduced-fat cheddar cheese.