The health benefits of eggs

Jane Murphy / 13 May 2015

Eggs are packed with nutrients – and can significantly boost your mental and physical health. It's time to get scrambling, boiling or poaching...



1. You'll absorb more nutrients – and not just from eggs

Add a whole cooked egg to your salad and you'll increase your absorption of powerful antioxidants, known as carotenoids, from the vegetables by up to nine-fold. That's according to a brand new study carried out at Purdue University in the US.

2. How eggs could help you stave off diabetes

Regular egg consumption could cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to a third, says a recent study from the University of Eastern Finland. Researchers believe the effect may be due to the fact that eggs contain many important nutrients that have a positive influence on glucose metabolism and low-grade inflammation.

3. How eggs help you banish your hangover

Cysteine, the amino acid found in eggs, has been found to counteract the toxic effects of acetaldehyde, the chemical produced by the body as it metabolises alcohol. (Yes, that's the pesky culprit behind your headache and nausea.) Research from Cambridge University also shows that egg protein can help you feel more alert and awake – even after precious little sleep.

Read our guide to hangover cures

4. How eggs help boost your bones

Along with oily fish, eggs are one of the best dietary sources of vitamin D – the nutrient responsible for optimum bone health. In fact, eggs are a significantly better source than they used to be: a 2012 research paper, published in the Nutrition Bulletin, found they now contain an impressive 70 per cent more vitamin D than they did back in the 1980s.

Find out more about which foods help prevent brittle bones

5. How eggs can lift your mood

Cheer yourself up with a plate of scrambled eggs! According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, eggs are a key source of 'mood nutrients', such as folate, iron, protein and vitamin D. These magic ingredients can help lift the spirits and alleviate signs of mild depression.

6. You'll feel fuller for longer after an egg

Choose eggs for lunch and you'll feel full throughout the afternoon, which means you're less likely to be tempted by unhealthy snacks, says research published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition. Another major review of research, presented at the European Congress of Obesity in 2012, concluded that eggs 'appear to play a promising role in weight management'. A medium-sized egg contains around 78 calories.

Discover the best healthy snacks

7. Eggs could lower blood pressure

A component of egg white may help reduce blood pressure, according to research presented to the American Chemical Society. High blood pressure is a risk factor for serious health conditions, such as heart disease and stroke. Study leader Dr Zhipeng Yu explains: 'We have evidence that a substance in egg white - it's a peptide, one of the building blocks of proteins - reduces blood pressure about as much as a low dose of Captopril, a high-blood-pressure drug.'

Learn more about lowering blood pressure

8. Eggs are a good source of vitamin B12

Just one medium-sized egg contains a very impressive 56 per cent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B12. Among its many benefits, B12 contributes to the formation of red blood cells and normal energy metabolism, as well as healthy functioning of the immune and nervous systems.

Visit our A-Z of vitamins and minerals

9. It may protect your sight

Eggs are an important source of the eye pigments, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are sometimes known as 'nature's sunglasses'. The reason? They protect an area of the retina, known as the macula, from damaging chemical reactions involved in light detection. For this reason, eggs can play a significant role in the fight against macular degeneration, the age-related eye condition that can lead to blindness.

Get more information about protecting eye health

10. They're a cost-effective protein source

Eggs are one of the cheapest but most nutrient-rich sources of protein. When compared to other high-protein foods – such as beef, tofu, chicken and white fish - eggs have a similarly high level yet cost far less, according to a report published in the Nursing Standard. Eggs were also found to be richest in the essential nutrients vitamin A, folate, biotin and iodine.


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