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.

Nutrient Spotlight: Vitamin E


As American Heart Month winds down, it’s a great time to remind patients and clients of the precautionary measures that can be taken year-round to prevent heart disease and improve one’s overall health. Beyond cutting back on sodium and unhealthy fats, a heart-healthy diet is also about incorporating foods that are rich in nutrients, offering a variety of health benefits.

Today’s post focuses on Vitamin E, a nutrient with beneficial antioxidant properties that may be important to heart health (1). In addition to being associated with lower rates of heart disease, Vitamin E is also involved in immune function and has been linked with prevention of some cancers, reduction of age-related eye disorders (i.e. macular degeneration, cataracts) and slowing cognitive decline/dementia (2).

Evidence that vitamin E could help prevent or delay coronary heart disease (CHD) comes from several sources – in vitro studies have found that the nutrient inhibits oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, a crucial initiating step for atherosclerosis (3). Vitamin E might also help prevent the formation of blood clots that could lead to a heart attack or venous thromboembolism (3).

Recently, concerns have been raised regarding the safety of Vitamin E supplementation, particularly in high doses (4). The best way to get all the health benefits of vitamin E is to include natural foods sources of Vitamin E in the diet. The adult RDA for Vitamin E is 15mg – which can easily be achieved through diet alone (2). The top sources of Vitamin E include nuts, seeds and vegetable oils, green leafy vegetables and whole grains. Eggs also contain Vitamin E (0.5mg per large egg) in addition to 13 other essential vitamins and minerals.

The easy recipe below is a good example of a vitamin E-rich salad combining leafy greens, tomatoes and eggs to deliver a heart-healthy, nutrient-rich meal.

Mixed Greens Salad with Eggs (pictured above)  

Makes 4 Servings


  • 1 Package (7 to 9 ounces) baby lettuce mix
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 Hard-boiled eggs cut into wedges
  • ½ cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese


  • Divide lettuce evenly among 4 serving plates
  • Top each with 1 sliced tomato and 4 egg wedges
  • Sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons cheese

Nutrition Information

Calories: 141, Total Fat: 8g, Saturated fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated fat: 1g, Monounsaturated fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 194mg, Sodium: 157mg, Carbohydrates: 6g, Dietary Fiber: 1g, Protein: 12g, Vitamin A: 877.7IU, Vitamin D: 43.5IU, Folate: 31.3mcg, Calcium: 132.5mg, Iron: 1mg, Choline: 116.8mg


(1)    Verhagen H, Buijsse B, Jansen E, Bueno-de-Mesquita B. The state of antioxidant affairs. Nutr Today 2006;41:244-50.
(2)    Office of Dietary Supplements. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin E. Retrieved from
(3)    National Academy Press. Dietary Reference Intakes: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids.Retrieved from
(4)    Mayo Clinic. Vitamin E. Retrieved from

Getting to the Heart of Healthy Fats


saladAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, with one out of every three deaths resulting from heart disease or stroke (1). As American Heart Health Month kicks off this week, now is the perfect time to speak with your clients about the ways they can make heart-healthy choices every day, particularly with regard to dietary fat.

The American Heart Association recommends that 25-35%of a person’s daily calories come from fats, with less than 7%of calories coming from saturated fat and less than 1%from trans-fat (2). Most dietary fat consumed should be monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fats, as they help maintain healthy blood lipid levels. Monounsaturated fats are found in foods such as avocados, olive oil and peanut butter and have been shown to provide additional benefits, such as improving insulin levels and blood sugar control (3).

Eggs can also be a great source of these healthier fats, with 1.8g of monounsaturated fat and 1.0g of polyunsaturated fat in each large egg. It’s also important to pair eggs with other good-for-you foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. To build a nutritious plate, vegetables can be added to easy egg dishes, like casseroles, quiche, or on salads.

For more information to help your clients build simple, nutritious meals –check out the education resources and recipes based on MyPlate, which are available for download on the ENC website.   In addition, our friends at the Mediterranean Foods Alliance recently released Fresh Fridays Begin with Breakfast in their Fresh Fridays e-newsletter and featured the Italian Vegetable Custard.

Here is an easy recipe combining avocados and eggs, along with veggies to deliver a tasty meal that’s rich in heart-healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

Tomato & Avocado Egg Salad (pictured above)

Makes 6 Servings


  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • 2 avocadoes, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley OR cilantro
  • Spinach OR lettuce leaves
  • Dressing:
    • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
    • 2 Tbsp.  sour cream
    • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • ¼ tsp. hot pepper sauce


  • Mix dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Reserve and refrigerate 6 center slices from eggs for garnish. Chop remaining eggs.
  • Combine chopped eggs, avocados, tomato, onion and parsley in a large bowl; toss gently to mix. Add dressing; stir gently until ingredients are evenly coated with dressing.
  • Refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors. Serve on spinach leaves, garnished with egg slices.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 218, Total Fat: 17g, Saturated fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated fat: 3g, Monounsaturated fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 189mg, Sodium: 316mg, Carbohydrates: 10g, Dietary Fiber: 5g, Protein: 8g, Vitamin A: 867.9IU, Vitamin D: 41.8IU, Folate: 89.6mcg, Calcium: 51mg, Iron: 1.5mg, Choline: 139.8mg, Vitamin C: 16.2mg.


  1. Heart Disease Facts In Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from
  2. Fats and Oils: AHA Recommendation. In American Heart Association. Retrieved from
  3. Mayo Clinic. Dietary fats: Know which types to choose. Retrieved from



Egg Trends-Home and On the Go

January is more than half over! At the end of the previous year there are always countdowns, predictions and trends, but what happens in the next year?  Late in 2012 the breakfast experts at the American Egg Board teamed up with trend authorities at NPD Group to compile the following list of top egg trends for 2013. In addition, leading health expert and well-known registered dietitian Kathleen Zelman predicted the role protein will play in healthy eating next year.

Protein Powerhouse

Protein at all meals, especially breakfast will be the power play of 2013. High-quality protein, found in foods like eggs, is the secret to staying fuller longer, helping people trim calories and their waist lines. In fact, several studies have shown that 25-30 grams of high-quality protein eaten at each meal may be best when it comes to maintaining healthy muscles and bones for adults. With breakfast still being the most important meal of the day, here’s what a power-packed one could look like: one whole egg and egg white, a slice of Canadian bacon and low-fat cheese on an English muffin, fruit, tomato and non-fat milk – all for approximately 350 calories. (Source: Kathleen Zelman)

Eggs on the Go

In 2013, expect to see increased growth in the restaurant breakfast category, with quick service restaurants (QSR) continuing to lead the way. QSR’s have increased their share of breakfast overall over the past five years by 8%, and QSR egg breakfast menu items have increased by 20%. Today almost 85% of all breakfasts eaten away from home are consumed at QSRs, and that means that much of the breakfast innovation that is driving consumer eating habits is bubbling up from QSRs. Families are also starting to use QSRs as family sit down restaurants, so expect to see more platters, bowls and skillet dishes rising to the top of their menus. (Source: The NPD Group/CREST®, year ending August 2012)

Fry It Up

As the QSR breakfast boom continues, expect more chains to add fried egg creations to keep customers satisfied with new and innovative breakfast menu items. Fried egg menu items increased 20% over the past year at chains like Dunkin’ Donuts and ‘wichcraft. Whether at QSR’s or casual dining restaurants, plan to see upgraded quality and ingredients paired with eggs like avocados, mushrooms, flavored sausages, upscale cheeses (look at Panera Bread’s sausage and gouda baked egg soufflés), as well as upgraded prep techniques like toasted breads and frying eggs.  (Source: Datassentials Egg Menuing: Breakfast and Beyond Volume 9)

Keep On Trucking

Food truck menu offerings with eggs will be on the rise as more and more food trucks focus on breakfast as a way to break into the category without competing in the saturated lunch day part. To differentiate themselves, these trucks are not only changing the breakfast terrain, but driving innovation. From egg sandwiches on brioche and flatbreads to meat proteins like pork belly and pulled pork being paired with eggs, to crepes, indulgent pancakes (red velvet, maple bacon) and donuts, consumers love the culinary exploration, and so do restaurant chains, who often get their inspiration from these trucks.  (Source: Datassentials Egg Menuing: Breakfast and Beyond Volume 9)

Going Global

Chefs and home cooks will continue to create innovative egg dishes using fresh vegetables, ethnic flavors and spices. In fact, Mexican-influenced preparation styles are on the rise at home, in restaurants and at QSRs. Case in point: the Chorizo and Egg Tortas from Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless’s newest restaurant XOCO and Taco Bell’s breakfast debut with the Grande Skillet Burrito and their AM Crunchwrap. Bruegger’s Bagels has added a Santa Fe Sandwich with eggs, sausage and jalapeño cream cheese on a bagel.  (Source: Datassentials Egg Menuing: Breakfast and Beyond Volume 9).

Oldies, But Goodies

While innovative egg preparations are taking over restaurants, we predict Americans are going to keep it old school at home when it comes to preparing eggs in 2013. According to Google Trends, hard-boiled eggs, deviled eggs and scrambled eggs are still among the top searched egg recipes on Google.  (Google Trends – Search Term, “Eggs.” October 12, 2012.)

Have you seen any of these trends so far in 2013?   Any favorites?
As you can see some of these trends are more indulgent, so remember to enjoy these as well as balancing more nutritious choices. Using MyPlate as a guide can help you balance your meals and snacks.  Also starting your day off with breakfast, as discussed in a previous post, is an easy trend to start and encourage your clients to do the same.  Also here is a post from Kathleen Zelman about designing your power packed breakfast.

Fun Fact Friday: Give Your Oatmeal an Egg Protein Boost

In a recent post, we talked about the benefits of eating breakfast, including improved cognitive function, better school performance and improved markers for overall health. We also highlighted research on the added benefits of including high-quality egg protein at breakfast, such as heightened satiety throughout the day.

However, on hectic mornings, convenience often trumps healthy eating. When thinking of quick breakfast ideas, carbohydrate-based options—often high in sugars—typically come to mind. While eggs are sometimes thought of as a special weekend breakfast that takes more time to cook, that certainly doesn’t have to be the case. You can find fast and easy egg recipes that take as little as 3 minutes to prepare at Hard boiling eggs on Sunday for easy grab-and-go weekday breakfasts or snacks is another great strategy.

Another creative way to boost the protein of your breakfast in a hurry is to add an egg to your oatmeal during preparation, as shown below. The addition of an egg gives the oatmeal a creamy consistency, and you can even prepare it in a mug to eat on-the-go!


Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 1-1/2 to 2 minutes
Makes: 1 serving

1 Egg
1/3 cup milk
1 pkg. (1.23 oz) apples & cinnamon instant oatmeal
¼ cup vanilla yogurt


1. BEAT egg and milk in 2-cup microwave-safe bowl until blended. STIR IN oatmeal.

2. MICROWAVE on HIGH until liquid is absorbed and egg is set, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes; stir. TOP with yogurt.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

Calories: 292, Total fat: 9g, Saturated fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated fat: 2g, Monounsaturated fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 196mg, Sodium: 317mg, Carbohydrates: 40g, Dietary fiber: 3g, Protein: 15g, Vitamin A: 1,551.8IU, Vitamin D: 81.1IU, Folate: 122.5mcg, Calcium: 339.3mg, Iron: 4.9mg, Choline: 148.1mg