EAT SMART Don’t blame this high protein-source for your cholesterol. It does more good than you think. MALATHI MOHAN
Are eggs really as fearsome as they have been made out to be? They are the easiest source of proteins for eggetarians and yet, the medical field has literally banned them for the past 30 years, or so.
Spare the whites
As a food specialist, I have done my own detective work. You see, eggs were part of the breakfast scene, in the western world. Eggs were served always, along with butter, cream, ham, bacon, cheese and sausages. All these foodstuffs are high in saturated fats and cholesterol. While egg is high in cholesterol, which is only in the yolk, whites, which have no cholesterol, have been permitted. Have you eaten any dehydrated egg-white powders, which are made into omelettes or are scrambled? I have seen my nephew, diligently eating the same with a suffering, murderous look on his face! Whether it was directed at his doctor, his dietician or his wife, I’m not sure! The simple explanation about cholesterol is that it is produced by the body; it is an absolutely essential compound and is not present from any vegetarian or plant source.
However, saturated fats are required to produce cholesterol. This is the surmise under which saturated fats and cholesterol containing foods have been banned in our diets. Eggs were included in western diets on a daily basis and hence the reason for advice to avoid them. If eaten sparingly, as one egg only, three to five times a week, it has been permitted. However, athletes and body builders, look upon eggs as an excellent source of proteins and of good fats. They are known to consume many eggs a day. To study the effect of such consumption on the blood cholesterol levels, Dr. Andrew Rochford of Australia conducted an experiment on himself. He ate four full eggs per day for two weeks. As per his results, his blood cholesterol level, which was at the higher range of safe levels, reduced drastically, in spite of the high cholesterol consumption. He also studied another high consumption body builder, who ate 18 eggs a day and still had low blood cholesterol levels. True, that these individual studies are insufficient to come to a conclusion, but they can definitely question a well established theory.
- The egg is a neatly packed food which can be cooked in many convenient and tasty ways.
- It is not seasonal; Available throughout the year and in every part of the world.
- Eggs contain choline which is a neurotransmitter, i.e. it carries messages to and from the brain to the nerves. Therefore it helps in the health of our nervous system.
- Choline reduces inflammation.
- Eggs promote weight loss. There are studies to prove this.
- Eggs help in heart health in low fat diets. It has been proved that it is saturated fats and not dietary cholesterol that increases the blood cholesterol.
- Eggs help prevent blood clots.
- Eggs protect against age related macular degeneration in the eye and also against cataracts. This is due to the lutein, a carotenoid, which is higher in eggs than in green leafy vegetables.
- The egg protein is of excellent quality and is utilised over 90 per cent by the body. Along with the milk protein, casein, the egg protein is considered as a reference, against which other proteins are compared and classified.
- These are a few good points about eggs. We should definitely revise our opinion about the inclusion or exclusion of eggs in our diets.
My belief about diet has been: Do not believe in every disaster that is predicted. Do not press the panic button. Do not let it nag you and others constantly and make you feel guilty when you consume some taboo food. However, be informed, be sensible, be moderate and be balanced. If you can take a challenge, study the effect of eggs on your blood cholesterol levels and do let me know!
Bread-Spread: (Two portions )
- Eggs — 2 (boiled 10 mins., cooled in water, immediately shelled and mashed when still warm) to be mixed with…
- Refined oil — 2 tsp. (butter can be substituted for growing children and athletes).
- Beat the two well to a smooth consistency when the egg is still warm.
- Add to your taste, with salt and pepper, any or all of the following and mix well.
- Vegetables of your choice: tomato, carrot, capsicum, onion — Chop fine or grate.
- Green coriander, mint, green chilli (optional) — chop very fine.
- Spread this on bread, chapathi, naan, dosa or even idli.
Variation:This can be made into a salad also. Chop the boiled eggs or slice them and use along with the other ingredients. Add lettuce and lime juice or lemon slices. Nuts can be added for taste and texture.
Note: If oil is used, reduce it to one tsp. only.
The author is Dean AFM, FitnessOne India Ltd.
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