Eggs are so incredibly healthy that some people even call them a perfect food. After all, they contain all the nutrients necessary to make up a baby chicken!

Like other animal products, eggs are a "'complete" source of protein as they contain all nine essential amino acids. In fact, they're probably the best vegetarian protein option around because they allows you to get "animal proteins" without eating an actual animal. Sorry vegans!

Eggs are also quite low in calories; 1 medium boiled egg contains 84 calories, 8.3 g protein, 5.7 g fat and only 1.6 g of saturated fat. More than half the protein of an egg is found in the white while most of the fat is found in the yolk, so you may want to plan your egg consumption accordingly.

Yet eggs haven't egg-actly been everyone's favorite food these days, especially because of the controversy over their high cholesterol content. An egg yolk is indeed high in cholesterol, containing over half of our recommended daily value of it.

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However, eating more cholesterol will not necessarily increase your blood cholesterol levels; when most people increase their dietary intake of healthy cholesterol (as opposed to the more dangerous trans fats), most people's livers will simply produce less. In one study in which all the participants added eggs to their diet, 70 percent of people experienced no elevation in their cholesterol level.

Yet for another 30 percent of participants, eggs did indeed mildly raise total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. However, another recent study suggested that eating two eggs per day for six weeks increased participants' HDL (good) cholesterol levels by 10 percent. The cholesterol in eggs can also help change the small, dense LDL particles to healthier large ones, which are easier for the liver to remove. Like a lot things having to do with cholesterol, it's complicated.

As a general rule, if you're young and otherwise healthy, you don't have to give your egg consumption much thought. But if you are on the older side and/or already have high cholesterol or diabetes, you may want to discuss the matter with your doctor. A good rule of thumb may be no more than 7 eggs per week.

Eggs also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that are necessary for eye health, and the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Though vegetables contain many of these nutrients too, the fat in eggs makes them easier for your body to absorb; get your maximum health benefit by having both in the same meal!

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Eggs yolks are also the primary ingredient in mayonnaise, which is why a small amount of egg yolks are allowed on the 123Diet's egg stall days and the condiment shouldn't be totally off limit once you've reached maintenance mode.

For extra benefit, choose omega-3 enriched eggs, laid by chickens who have been fed an omega-3 rich diet, or pastured eggs, which are laid by chickens raised in more natural conditions. Pastured eggs have been found to contain less cholesterol and saturated fat and more vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, beta carotene, and vitamin D, so they're probably your best choice. Consuming either of these varieties has also been shown to lower human triglyceride levels.

Eggs are also high in choline, which is so important that it is sometimes referred to as the technically nonexistent vitamin B4. It is used to build cell membranes and has a role in producing signaling molecules in the brain, and can also break down excess homocysteine, a compound which can increase your risk of heart disease.

Eggs are affordable and filling; eating them early in the day, like for lunch on phase 2 or breakfast on phase 3, could help you eat less during the rest of the day. Just try not to eat eggs raw; if you do so you not only risk salmonella but may be less able to absorb all of eggs' protein and nutrients.

Eggs can be served fried, hard-boiled, poached, or scrambled. Their relatively understated flavor also means they pair well with a variety of ingredients; some of my personal favorite add-ons are mushrooms, spinach, and avocado!

Eggs are also often used to make desserts, such as baked goods and meringues; and though mixing eggs with unhealthy oils, flour and sugar could easily be a diet disaster, if you use stevia and fruit instead you could whip yourself up a healthy swap dessert in no time.

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The creamy lemon sweetheart recipe below is a great example! That recipe and the rest listed here all come from the members of our lovely Facebook group, and a quick scroll through will give you many more healthy and eggy suggestions. Last one to try 'em is a rotten egg!


Tomato And Onion Quiche

Ingredients

Directions

Mix the flour, soda water, and eggs with a whisk. Pour soda water in little by little until batter reaches pancake consistency. Add all the other chopped ingredients into bowl. Stir with spoon. Fill 4 holes of a pie maker. Cook till the top is light brown. 2 quiche is one serving.

Curried Egg Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 egg yolk, 3 whites
  • Onion to taste
  • Garlic to taste
  • Curry powder to taste
  • 3/4 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/4 tbs feta
  • Chive to taste
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup cucumber
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Fry up the egg and chop it up. Roast the onion and garlic. Mix it all up with the curry powder, sour cream, salt and pepper, and chive. Serve with the cucumber and spinach salad, with a little feta to garnish. If you'd like, sprinkle on a little lemon juice!

Creamy Lemon Sweethearts

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs (separated), room temp
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1-2 drops of vanilla extract (from vanilla bean) optional
  • 2 tsps finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup of powdered sweetener (stevia or natvia)
  • Grated lime zest for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 100 Celsius. In a small glass bowl, beat 4 egg whites until white and frothy for about 1 minute. Stop and add 1 tsp of lemon zest and add one tablespoon of lemon juice. Beat again for about another minute, or until white and thick. Stop and slowly add the quarter cup of powdered sweetener a little at a time. Beat until soft peaks form.

Place mixture in a piping bag and pipe out mixture onto a baking tray in any shape you wish. Bake for about 40 mins.
Once cooked, leave in oven to cool a bit before taking out.

For filling put egg yolks in a bowl, then add 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tsp of lemon zest. Whisk over saucepan of hot water on low heat. Add 3 and a half tbsp sweetener. Keep whisking until thickened, and fold in any leftover meringue mix. Refrigerate for about 15 mins. Place in a piping bag, then pipe mixture on top of cooled meringues. If desired, grate a little lime zest over the top.

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