EGG: Nature’s Oval Shaped Nutrition Storehouse
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations recently brushed a very gloomy picture by stating that around one billion people across the globe are at present underfed or undernourished. The picture gets more dismal as it is expected that this figure is expected to jump as the global population is going to increase to 9.1 billion people by 2050. This is not merely a statistics. This is a matter of utter serious concern. But an oval-shaped tiny eatable, according to nutritionists worldwide, is believed to be able to solve the pressing issue of undernourishment by feeding people around the world. This Friday, the world is celebrating World Egg Day by generating awareness about the magnanimity and versatility of eggs. The World Egg Day is encouraged by the International Egg Commission (IEC) to raise global awareness about the nutritional benefits of eggs. It is celebrated every year on the second Friday in October. The first World Egg Day was celebrated in 1996 at the International Egg Commission’s conference in Vienna. Touted as nature’s large vitamin pill by nutritionists, eggs contain many of the essential vitamins and minerals required for a sound diet. Considered to be a storehouse of nutrition, an egg has significant amount of vitamins, minerals and protein, and yet it contains only 70 calories. An egg contains the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and E. While vitamin A is necessary for the healthy development of cells, maintenance of healthy skin, vision and immune functions, vitamin D is necessary for development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, and of a sound immune and nervous system. Eggs also contain vitamin E, which is necessary for a sound reproductive system. Egg yolks are one of the few foods naturally containing vitamin D. An egg is an excellent source of vitamin B1, B2, B5, B12. Vitamin B2 in eggs supports healthy skin and eyes, while vitamin B12 is vital for the formation of red blood cells in the body, apart from being supportive in the normal functioning of the brain and the nervous system. Eggs are also a rich source of vitamin B5, which aids the synthesis of amino acids and fatty acids among others. It is important to know that the nutritional value of an egg is divided between its white portion and the yolk. The white contains more than half its total protein, niacin, riboflavin, chlorine, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and sulfur and all of the zinc. On the other hand, the yolk contains all of the fat in the egg and a little less than half of the protein. The protein inside the eggs helps a person to stay energetic throughout the day. The proteins in eggs contain nine essential amino acids, which are considered to be the building blocks for the body as they help in the formation of proteins. A study reveals that one large egg contains 6.3 grams of protein, which is almost equally split between the egg white and the yolk. The white contains 3.5 grams of protein while the yolk contains 2.8 grams. The protein in an egg contains all the essential amino acids used for growth and development. Apart from it, the protein content also helps in building muscle strength and helps prevent muscle loss in middle-aged and aging adults. The yolk also provides folic acid and minerals like iron, calcium, copper and phosphorus. It is a blessing for persons at risk of iron deficiency including pregnant women, growing children and athletes. Eggs are also a storehouse of selenium which is required for synthesis of thyroid hormones as well as works with vitamin E as part of a major antioxidant enzyme. An egg also contains iodine which is necessary for the normal functioning of the thyroid. According to researchers, egg yolks are an excellent source of choline, an important nutrient that contributes to foetal brain development and helps prevent birth defects. Cholinealso helps in the brain function of adults by maintaining the structure of brain cell membranes. Amongst many antioxidants, eggs contain lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are considered to play a protective role in the prevention of eye diseases. It has been observed that lutein and zeaxanthin from eggs are better absorbed by a human body than from various plant sources. The versatility of eggs serves the nutritional needs of all people: children, adolescent, pregnant woman, aged person, athletes. The proper growth of children is sufficiently aided by the protein depot contained in eggs. Studies suggest that eggs are important for pregnant women as they fulfill the requirements of all essential amino acids needed for the growth and development of the baby. Eggs, thus are the one of the most all-encompassing perfectly balanced food, which on one hand help growth and various vital function in one’s body and on the other hand, let the immune system work properly. Eggs, hence are nature’s storehouse of nutrition. ****** World Egg Day is celebrated every year on the second Friday in October. *With inputs from the Department of Animal Husbandry Dairying & Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture.