Nutrients In Eggs

Eggs are a nutrient goldmine!

One large egg has varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein, all for 70 calories.

While egg whites contain some of the eggs’ high-quality protein, riboflavin and selenium, the majority of an egg’s nutrient package is found in the yolk. Nutrients such as:

  • Vitamin D, critical for bone health and immune function. Eggs are one of the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D.
  • Choline, essential for normal functioning of all cells, but particularly important during pregnancy to support healthy brain development of the fetus.
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that are believed to reduce the risk of developing cataracts and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, a disease that develops with age.

All-Natural Easter Egg Dye Recipes & Tips

In addition to the great Easter tips that Karen Buch provided earlier this week, we wanted to share some more egg-cellent ideas for decorating your Easter eggs this year.


Did you know that you can use spices and common foods to dye eggs naturally?

Get creative and resourceful – it’s fun and easy to use everyday kitchen ingredients to make your own natural Easter egg dyes! Fresh or frozen produce are great for dyeing. Berries work especially well as paint – simply crush the berries against dry boiled eggs for extra swishes of color. The longer you leave the eggs in contact with the dye, the deeper the hue you’ll ultimately be left with.

Chef Jeffrey Saad recommends using common household spices to color your Easter eggs – follow his three easy steps for naturally brilliant colored eggs:

1)      Fill a pot with enough cold water to hard-boil the amount of eggs you want. Stir in 3 TB of ground turmeric. Add the eggs to the water. Let the pot sit on the counter for two hours.

2)      Place the pot on the stove and bring to a boil. As soon as it comes to a boil turn off the heat and cover the pot. Allow to sit for 12 minutes for large eggs. Instead of rinsing under cold water life the eggs out of the water with a slotted spoon and rest on a plate until cool.

3)      Experiment with a dark red smoked paprika or boil some chopped beats and then use the beet water to color the eggs.

Tip: Naturally-colored eggs will not be glossy, but if you want a shiny appearance you can rub a bit of cooking oil onto the eggs once they are dry.

Your naturally-dyed eggs will make a beautiful centerpiece for any Easter table, and if you’re still looking for Easter brunch recipe ideas, make sure you check out this Egg & Swiss Chard Italian Easter Pie recipe from Teaspoon of Spice blogger, registered dietitian Deanna Segrave-Daly – It’s packed with protein and is sure to impress!

Photo courtesy of Teaspoon of Spice

Pregnancy, Protein, and Promoting Growth

Adequate protein intake is essential in every life stage; however, some stages require increased protein intake for optimal health. During pregnancy, it is recommended that women consume 1.1 g/kg body weight of protein per day, which is up from 0.8g/kg prior to pregnancy. The second and third trimester are the most important times to pay attention to protein levels, as this is when the baby will be growing  fastest, placing more demand on the mother for all essential nutrients.


Why is protein so crucial during pregnancy? The healthy pregnancy position paper from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes that “Unbalanced diets during pregnancy, particularly with respect to protein and carbohydrates, have been linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes, including low birth weight and other long-term effects on blood pressure.” More specifically, protein is necessary to help build the baby’s tissues and promote adequate growth in the womb.

Eggs, in particular, are a good source of all-natural, high-quality protein, which helps support fetal growth and is associated with a healthy birth weight. They also provide other nutrients that are vital to a baby’s development, such as folate, choline, iron, vitamin D and zinc.


For a healthy diet during pregnancy, give eggs the company they deserve, and pair with plenty of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and whole grains. Also keep in mind that food safety is especially important for those who are pregnant. Eggs should be cooked until the whites and yolks are firm or, for dishes containing eggs, until an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit is reached. has specific information on ways to build a healthy plate during pregnancy and lactation. USDA’s Supertracker tool can also be used to personalize information based on height, weight, and stage of pregnancy. The recipe below is a great example of combining eggs with other nutritious ingredients to boost protein, folate, iron, choline and vitamin D.

Hash Brown-Crusted Mediterranean Quiche

Makes 4 servings


  • 3-1/2 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small zucchini, quartered, thinly sliced (2 cups)
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped drained oil-packed artichoke hearts
  • 4 EGGS
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (2 oz.)
  • ½ tsp. dried basil leaves
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 2 cups marinara sauce, warmed


  1. HEAT oven to 425°F. PRESS potatoes evenly on bottom and sides of greased 10-inch quiche dish or pie plate. COAT lightly with cooking spray. BAKE in 425°F oven until potatoes are lightly browned and crisp, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven setting to 375°F.
  2. HEAT butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. ADD onion and garlic; sauté until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. ADD zucchini, bell pepper and artichokes; sauté until crisp-tender.
  3. BEAT eggs, milk, cheese, basil and oregano in large bowl until blended. ADD zucchini mixture; mix well. POUR into potato crust.
  4. BAKE in center of 375°F oven until knife inserted near center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. LET STAND 5 minutes. CUT into wedges; serve with marinara sauce.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

Calories: 452, Total Fat: 17g, Saturated fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated fat: 3g, Monounsaturated fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 206mg, Sodium: 845mg, Carbohydrates: 57g, Dietary Fiber: 8g, Protein: 19g, Vitamin A: 2701.2IU, Vitamin D: 60.2IU, Folate: 81.5mcg, Calcium: 233.5mg, Iron: 3.8mg, Choline: 158.4mg


Mayo Clinic. “Pregnancy diet: Focus on these essential nutrients.” Retrieved from

American Dietetic Association. Position of the American Dietetic Association: Nutrition and Lifestyle for a Healthy Pregnancy Outcome. JADA. 2008; 108 (3): 553-561.

Eggs, Eyes, and Other Emerging Evidence

Frittata with chicken and spinach and fresh spinach
Eggs provide a wealth of nutrients that can support our health, some of which aren’t even listed on the nutrition facts label. Here’s the scoop on two of these nutrients, lutein and zeaxanthin:

What are lutein and zeaxanthin? Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids that are found in high levels in the retina and macula of the eye. Both have a yellow-orange pigment and are known for their antioxidant capabilities.

What is their function in the body? Both lutein and zeaxanthin work to filter harmful blue light in the eye and prevent the production of free radicals. Over time, these antioxidants may help reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to blurred vision and even blindness. Preliminary research also suggests that lutein and zeaxanthin may be protective against different types of cancer, coronary heart disease, and stroke.

What are common food sources? Eggs! One egg yolk contains small amounts of both lutein and zeaxanthin (an average of 0.29mg of lutein and 0.21mg of zeaxanthin). Other common sources include spinach, kale, collard greens, peas, broccoli, onions and corn.

What makes eggs special? Carotenoids that are part of a lipid matrix, such as the lutein and zeaxanthin naturally found in eggs, have been found to have increased bioavailability. In one recent study, Chung et al observed that after consuming the same total amount of lutein from multiple sources, serum lutein levels were highest after consumption of eggs compared to supplements and spinach, suggesting that these nutrients may be more bioavailable in eggs than some sources with higher content.

How much do we need?  There is no consensus on daily recommendations for lutein and zeaxanthin intake. The American Optometric Association does, however, recommend 10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin per day for healthy eyes.

Try whipping up some scrambled eggs and adding plenty of chopped spinach or kale for an extra boost of lutein and zeaxanthin! Check out the ENC website for additional research articles related to lutein and zeaxanthin.



Chung HY, Rasmussen HM, Johnson EJ. Lutein Bioavailability Is Higher from Lutein-Enriched Eggs than from Supplements and Spinach in Men. Journal of Nutrition 2004; 134: 1887-1893.

Handelman GJ, Nightingale ZD, Lichtenstein AH, Schaefer EJ, and Blumberg JB. Lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations in plasma after dietary supplementation with egg yolk. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1999; 70: 247-51.

Ribaya-Mercado JD, Blumberg JB. Lutein and Zeaxanthin and Their Potential Roles in Disease Prevention. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2004;23(6):567S-587S.

Eggs: The “Whole” Story


While eggs are commonly associated with breakfast and protein, many individuals aren’t aware of the nutrient package the whole egg provides. This includes a variety of important vitamins and minerals required for the body to maintain health. In fact, a majority of these nutrients are found in the yolk, so today’s post focuses on the nutrient contribution of the egg’s sunny center.

From magazine recipes to restaurant menus, egg white options are everywhere.  However, it’s important to know what is lost when skipping the yolk. At least a portion of the following nutrients are found in part in the yolk and, in some cases, entirely in the yolk alone:

  • Vitamin A and Vitamin E: these fat-soluble vitamins act as antioxidants. Vitamin A also plays a part in supporting our immune system and eye health.
  • Vitamin D and Phosphorus: both of these nutrients work to promote bone health and structure, among other things such as immune function and DNA development.
  • Vitamins B12 and B6: the B-vitamins have many roles within the body and are necessary for energy metabolism, immune function, and production of DNA and red blood cells.
  • Iron: without iron, adequate oxygen would not reach our body’s cells. Helping with cell growth and immune function are other roles of this mineral.
  • Choline and Folate: these minerals are important for normal cell functioning and cell division. Choline assists with fetal brain development during pregnancy and folate helps prevent birth defects.
  • Zinc (0.4 mg): this mineral is key for immune functioning and wound healing, and it also helps with growth and development in childhood and during pregnancy.

In addition to these important vitamins and minerals, the egg yolk also contains 2.7 grams, almost half, of the egg’s high quality protein as well as antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.


Stay Informed, Stay Certified: Continuing Education Available from the Egg Nutrition Center

In an effort to keep health professionals updated on the latest in credible nutrition research, the Egg Nutrition Center (ENC) provides easy access to valuable continuing education opportunities. In fact, ENC is currently showcasing the two outstanding webinars highlighted below:

Dietary Patterns for Cardiometabolic Health: Unscrambling the Guidance
David Katz, MD

Bringing together two hot topics in today’s food and nutrition environment, this webinar takes a step back to assess the impact of food patterns on cardiometabolic health as well as the prevention of diseases and chronic conditions that health professionals commonly see in their patients. Dr. David Katz, a board-certified specialist in preventative medicine and public health, clinical instructor of medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, and founding director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center, takes viewers through the latest research on the health effects of the diet’s macronutrient content as well as the trends in consumption in the recent past. Dr. Katz clearly translates science into practical dietary guidance that health professionals can use with clients and patients.

This webinar is approved by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) for 1 CPEU.


Building a Better Breakfast with High-Quality Protein and Produce
Neva Cochran, MS, RDN, LD
While health professionals are well aware of the importance of breakfast, research continues to build on the benefits of fueling in the morning, which include boosts in nutrient adequacy of the diet, satiety and improvement in various markers of health. In this webinar, award-winning registered dietitian nutritionist Neva Cochran discusses the latest research on the health outcomes associated with eating breakfast. She also provides simple suggestions to help patients and clients create a daily nutrient-rich breakfast that combines high-quality protein with fruits and vegetables.

This webinar is approved by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) for 1 CPEU.

For more information and useful resources on these and other topics, check out ENC’s Patient/Client Education Materials.