Why Eggs Are The Perfect Recovery Food

By Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD

The Egg Nutrition Center partnered with Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD to write this blog post.


Eggs have a unique nutrition profile that is great for athletes of all ages. While they make a nice addition to any meal of the day, the nutrients in eggs can help with recovery after exercise. Just as stretching and cooling down is important after a workout, recovery nutrition is vital for repairing worn down muscle and revitalizing energy stores. But it’s not just the protein in eggs that make them a recovery food. Let’s take a look at the plethora of nutrients in eggs that help refuel a healthy athlete.

Protein: Research indicates that eating 20-30 grams of protein from foods that include leucine, such as eggs, may promote muscle repair after exercise1. One large egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein with all nine essential amino acids. The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends athletes focus on whole food sources of protein that contain all of the essential amino acids to aid in muscle protein synthesis2.

Vitamin D: This micronutrient is critical for bone health, and research suggests that adequate vitamin D intake reduces the risk of stress fracture, total body inflammation, illness, and impaired muscle function3. Unfortunately, adequate vitamin D intake is difficult to achieve due to variations in skin color, the time spent outdoors and geographic location. Eggs are one of the only natural food sources of vitamin D, with one large egg containing 6% of the daily value.

Lutein: This antioxidant has been known to accumulate in the eye, and scientists have recently discovered that it’s also present in the brain. Lutein in the eye may help athletes with visual performance and protecting the retina from damaging light4. Plus, new research in children suggests that lutein could have cognitive boosting capabilities and may even improve academic performance5. Luckily, lutein bioavailability is enhanced when it is consumed with dietary fat, making lutein from eggs a more absorbable source of lutein than many other foods6.

Other Benefits

Besides the impressive nutrient profile, eggs also have other practical applications for recovery, such as:

  • Eggs are affordable. One egg only costs about 15¢, which is quite the nutritional bang for your buck.
  • They are quick to cook. You can cook up an egg in less than 10 minutes, which will quickly satisfy a rumbling tummy and tired muscles after a tough workout.
  • Eggs go with practically anything. You can put an egg on almost anything— pizza, pasta, grains, bread, oatmeal, veggies and more!



  1. Mamerow, M., Mettler, J., English, K., Casperson, S., Arentson-Lantz, E., & Sheffield-Moore, M. et al. (2014). Dietary Protein Distribution Positively Influences 24-h Muscle Protein Synthesis in Healthy Adults. The Journal Of Nutrition, 144(6), 876-880. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.185280
  2.  Campbell, B., Kreider, R., Ziegenfuss, T., La Bounty, P., Roberts, M., & Burke, D. et al. (2007). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: protein and exercise. Journal Of The International Society Of Sports Nutrition, 4(1), 8. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-4-8
  3. Larson-Meyer, D., & Willis, K. (2010). Vitamin D and Athletes. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 9(4), 220-226. doi: 10.1249/jsr.0b013e3181e7dd45
  4. Hammond, B., & Fletcher, L. (2012). Influence of the dietary carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin on visual performance: application to baseball. The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, 96(5), 1207S-1213S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.034876
  5. Barnett, S., Khan, N., Walk, A., Raine, L., Moulton, C., & Cohen, N. et al. (2017). Macular pigment optical density is positively associated with academic performance among preadolescent children. Nutritional Neuroscience, 21(9), 632-640. doi: 10.1080/1028415x.2017.1329976
  6.  Chung, H., Rasmussen, H., & Johnson, E. (2004). Lutein Bioavailability Is Higher from Lutein-Enriched Eggs than from Supplements and Spinach in Men. The Journal Of Nutrition, 134(8), 1887-1893. doi: 10.1093/jn/134.8.1887

Easter Recipe Ideas

By Jessica Ivey, RDN, LDN

The Egg Nutrition Center partnered with Jessica Ivey, RDN, LDN to write this blog post.


Easter Sunday is a time for family and friends to gather and celebrate, and at least in my family, where there’s a celebration, there’s food. What better way to enjoy this holiday than with eggs? Americans are projected to consume about 279 eggs in 2019, and many of these eggs are consumed on Easter. So, before you dive into all those Easter basket goodies, fill up on these egg-centric dishes.

Easy-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs

One large hard-boiled egg provides 6 grams of protein and varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals. Eating a protein-rich meal or snack can help increase satiety and might help keep you from over-indulging on Easter basket goodies and sweet treats. Easy-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs are a foolproof way to enjoy this protein-rich snack. Check out this Easter toolkit and these ideas for fun and creative ways to decorate your eggs, from naturally dyed eggs to glow-in-the-dark and glitter eggs. If you plan to eat your decorated eggs, be sure to keep them refrigerated as much as possible, and throw out any eggs that have been cracked or have been unrefrigerated for more than two hours.

Make-Ahead Brunch Recipes

Whether you’ll be hosting a meal or taking a dish potluck style, a make-ahead recipe can free you up to enjoy time with family and friends. For a classic option, make Deviled Eggs, which can be prepared the day before (just refrigerate the eggs and filing separately and fill them just before serving). Or if you’re feeling extra festive, make these adorable Deviled Egg Chicks. Asparagus and Egg Strata, featuring ham and a favorite seasonal vegetable, can be prepped the night before, refrigerated overnight, and cooked in the morning for a fuss-free option. Banana Oat Walnut Muffins are higher in fiber and lower in sugar as compared to traditional banana bread for a nutrient-rich alternative. And Classic Egg Salad is an ideal option for a picnic in the park.

Egg-Centric Dishes for Any Time of Day

Eggs aren’t just for breakfast and can be a nutrient-rich part of any meal. For a fun and festive bread try The Easter Bunny’s Eggs in a Basket, and serve alongside ham and a light green salad. Basic Cheese Souffle is an elegant dish sure to impress your guests; just be sure to time your preparation so that the soufflé can be served immediately.

Fun and Creative Sweet Treats

Save the Easter candy for later and enjoy these special occasion desserts. Bunnies’ Tres Leches Mini Cakes are perfectly portioned and can be made the night before. Featuring two seasonal fruits, Strawberry and Rhubarb Custard Meringue Pie is a sweet-tart treat to round out a special meal.


Jessica Ivey, RDN, LDN, is a dietitian and chef with a passion for teaching people to eat healthy for a happy and delicious life. Jessica offers approachable healthy living tips, from fast recipes to meal prep guides and ways to enjoy exercise on her website, Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Eggs and Cholesterol: New study, old story

A new study1 published in the Journal of the American Medical Association examining the relationship between dietary cholesterol and egg consumption with regard to cardiovascular disease risk provides interesting new data to consider as part of the broader context of the scientific literature in this area.

The authors report:

  • Small but statistically significant increases in cardiovascular risk with dietary cholesterol and egg consumption in six U.S.-based cohorts totaling over 29,000 participants.
  • These findings contrast with previous meta-analyses2,3 of observational cohorts not included in the present study that reported no relationship with egg consumption and cardiovascular risk in cohorts totaling almost 350,000 participants.
  • Furthermore, additional studies have shown small but statistically significant favorable relationships with egg consumption and cardiovascular risk in non-U.S. cohorts4,5, while randomized controlled trials consistently show egg intake does not negatively impact cardiovascular disease risk factors6.

The inconsistency of this new study with that of other recent studies demonstrates the importance of additional research to further explore this area, including the need to understand the unique contribution of eggs as part of healthy eating patterns set forth in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The fact that studies outside the U.S. appear to show favorable relationships with egg intake and cardiovascular risk may speak to the importance of what other foods are consumed with eggs as part of the overall diet pattern, as recent research has demonstrated the importance of separating eggs from other foods to understand their independent impact on health outcomes7.

  1. Zhong et al. Associations of dietary cholesterol or egg consumption with incident cardiovascular disease and mortality. JAMA. 2019;321(11):1081-1095.
  2. Shin JY, Xun P, Nakamura Y, He K. Egg consumption in relation to risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jul;98(1):146-59.
  3. Rong Y, Chen L, Zhu T, Song Y, Yu M, Shan Z, Sands A, Hu FB, Liu L. Egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMJ. 2013 Jan 7;346:e8539.
  4. Qin C, Lv J, Guo Y, Bian Z, Si J, Yang L, Chen Y, Zhou Y, Zhang H, Liu J, Chen J, Chen Z, Yu C, Li L; China Kadoorie Biobank Collaborative Group. Associations of egg consumption with cardiovascular disease in a cohort study of 0.5 million Chinese adults. Heart. 2018 Nov;104(21):1756-1763.
  5. Virtanen JK, Mursu J, Virtanen HE, Fogelholm M, Salonen JT, Koskinen TT, Voutilainen S, Tuomainen TP. Associations of egg and cholesterol intakes with carotid intima-media thickness and risk of incident coronary artery disease according to apolipoprotein E phenotype in men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Mar;103(3):895-901.
  6. Blesso CN, Fernandez ML. Dietary Cholesterol, Serum Lipids, and Heart Disease: Are Eggs Working for or Against You? Nutrients. 2018 Mar 29;10(4). pii: E426. doi: 10.3390/nu10040426. Review.
  7. Sabaté J, Burkholder-Cooley NM, Segovia-Siapco G, Oda K, Wells B, Orlich MJ, Fraser GE. Unscrambling the relations of egg and meat consumption with type 2 diabetes risk. Am J Clin Nutr. 2018 Nov 1;108(5):1121-1128.

Daily Consumption of Eggs Increase Plasma Choline Without Affecting Risk for Heart Disease in Healthy Individuals

Featured article in the March, 2019 Issue of Nutrition Research Update; written by Bruno S. Lemos, PhD

Currently one in every four deaths in the United States is from cardiovascular disease (CVD)1. The major cause of CVD is atherosclerosis due to cholesterol accumulation in the arterial wall, building up to form a plaque that upon rupturing, can lead to major cardiovascular events such as stroke, heart attack and sudden death2. With that, consumption of cholesterol-rich foods have historically been a concern to the American population in regards to association with CVD risk. Continue reading “Daily Consumption of Eggs Increase Plasma Choline Without Affecting Risk for Heart Disease in Healthy Individuals”

Healthy dietary patterns and brain health in children: the emerging role of lutein

Higher intake of carotenoid-rich vegetables and fruits has been consistently identified as a characteristic of healthy eating patterns.  Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids (lipid-soluble pigments) found abundantly in various vegetables such as spinach, kale, squash, peas, and are also present in egg yolks.  These yellow carotenoids are selectively taken up by macular tissue of the retina and new research links these pigments to eye health as well as cognition1. Continue reading “Healthy dietary patterns and brain health in children: the emerging role of lutein”