Female animals of various species such as fish, reptiles, birds, amphibians, and birds are created to lay eggs which are eaten by human beings.
Bird and reptile eggs consist of a protective shell, albumen (egg white), and vitellus (egg yolk) and the most type of consumed eggs are chicken, turkey, fish and duck. Eggs are one of the most versatile ingredients used in cooking (Kumaravel et., al. 2012). They are of high nutritional value however, there are some potential health issues resulting from the quality of the egg, storage, and allergies. Eggs are rich sources of essential amino acids, protein,vitamin A, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin D, folic acid, iron, calcium, phosphorous,choline, potassium, Vitamin B12, CoQ10 and minerals.
The vitamins are located in the egg yolk which makes up about 33% of the liquid weight of the egg and a large one contains more than 2/3 of the recommended daily intake of 300 mg of cholesterol. The choline content is an important nutrient for the development of the human brain hence recommended for pregnant and nursing women to boost healthy fetal brain development.
Goose, quail and duck eggs are often used as a connoisseur ingredient in western world and are everyday food in various parts of Asian countries. Ostriches are known to lay the largest sizes of eggs which are only used as special luxury food. In England and Scandinavian countries, gull eggs serve as special delicacy while the guineafowl eggs are very popular in the African countries.
Chicken eggs are popularly used in the preparation of various dishes and some of the preparation methods include fried, omelettes, scrambled, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, and pickled. When using egg yolks as an ingredient, it can serve as an emulsifier and also as a thickener in custard preparation. The albumen or egg white has protein which allows it to be easily whipped or aerated to form foams or fluffy consistency while preparing dishes.
Eating eggs in the morning as breakfast can help an individual to lose weight. An article published in the International Journal of Obesity (2008) compared weight loss in people who eat eggs in the morning for breakfast to those who eat flour products. Although the both groups retained identical caloric deficit during the study, those individuals who ate eggs lost more body fat and weight than the flour products group.
It is highly recommended that individuals who consume carbohydrates for breakfast but aim to lose weight, should switch to omelette for breakfast as it promotes weight loss without food restrictions. Weight loss nutrition with omelette can be boosted by adding healthy fibrous vegetables such as mushrooms, leeks, spinach, tomatoes, onions and green peppers. This addition tends to add essential minerals and vitamins to nourish the body, and also increases dietary fiber intake which facilitates easy digestion of food.
Cooling the egg briefly in cold water prevent the greenish ring from forming on the surface of the yolk and aids easy cracking of the shell. Due to the iron and sulfur compounds in the egg, a greenish ring which does not affect the taste of the egg is often noticed around the egg yolk once it is overcooked however, this tends to harm the quality of the protein.
The easiest means of egg preservation is by treatment with salt which tends to draw water out of bacteria and molds thereby minimising their growth. Despite all the benefits associated with egg consumption, Salmonella enteritidis is amongst the health issues linked with eggs due to the presence of pathogenic bacteria. Health experts encourage people to never consume raw eggs, cook eggs thoroughly before consumption,always refrigerate washed eggs and consume them within two weeks of purchase.
Kumaravel, S., Hema R. & Kamaleshwari A. (2012) Effect of Oven Drying on the Nutritional Properties of Whole Egg and its Components, International Journal of Food and Nutrition Science vol. 1 no. 1, pp. 4-6.
International Journal of Obesity: Egg Breakfast Enhances Weight Loss.