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From baby food to a source of iron: 6 facts you probably don't know about eggs.

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From supporting immunity to healthy pregnancies, eggs do a lot of jobs for us.

The original superfood, eggs are one of the healthiest foods you can eat, packed full of amino acids, antioxidants and essential vitamins.

All those nutrients are not only great for boosting our immune systems, but they also play different roles in assisting us throughout all of our life stages.

We asked expert dietitian Sharon Natoli to explain the exact ways eggs can benefit both your health, and your loved ones’ health too.

Eggs help boost our immune system.

With COVID-19 never far from our thoughts and winter drawing closer, many of us are concerned about building up our immunity. Containing 13 different vitamins and minerals, eggs are indeed a superfood that can help to protect and strengthen your body from disease.

“Eggs contain a variety of key nutrients that are needed for a healthy immune system,” Sharon tells Mamamia.

“They have protein, which helps antibodies fight infection; iron for helping the immune cells to multiply and mature; selenium, which is an antioxidant that protects cells and fights off free radicals; vitamin A for healthy skin, and healthy mucous membranes that are our first line of defence against invaders.”

They’re also very high in vitamin D, which is especially helpful if we’re spending more time indoors right now.

“One of the key things we’ve found recently is that they’re really high in vitamin D, which has a role in influencing how the immune system responds,” Sharon shares. “A recent study found that vitamin D might be helpful in reducing the risk of respiratory symptoms.”

Dietitian Sharon Natoli’s best advice around egg nutrition. Post continues after video.

Eggs are great for women who are pregnant.

You’ve probably heard about the many health benefits of consuming eggs during pregnancy. Eggs contain vital nutrients for this period of life, such as folate, vitamin B12 and the little-known choline.

Choline is an incredibly important nutrient that most of us aren’t getting enough of, and it’s even more necessary to get a good dose of choline during pregnancy when your baby’s spinal cord and brain is developing.

According to Sharon, recent research by the University of Wollongong found that less than 10 per cent of the Australian population get enough choline in their diet.

“It’s difficult to reach choline requirements during pregnancy without eating eggs,” she explains. “Choline has an important role to play in brain development and the functioning of the nervous system.

“Eggs also contain omega-3s, which are needed for eye and brain development, and they’re a useful source of iodine, providing 20 per cent of the RDI (recommended dietary intake) during pregnancy. Iodine is needed for normal thyroid functioning and one in five pregnant women don’t get enough iodine.”

Sharon stresses that eggs should always be safely consumed during pregnancy, meaning that they’re cooked properly, and not runny. Hard yolks, folks!

Eggs are the ideal baby food.

The nutrients in eggs support the growth and development of our little ones. The high-quality protein, omega-3s and variety of vitamins and nutrients found in eggs make them a great introduction to solids for babies.

“Babies and children require nutrient rich foods. They have small stomachs, but their nutritional requirements are high,” Sharon says.

Her best advice is that we match the texture of the eggs to the infant’s stage of development. Start with purees before moving on to mashed, then lumpy, and make sure yolks are always cooked hard for babies.

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As they grow, you can introduce eggs in different ways. Image: Getty.

Eggs can help teenagers avoid iron deficiency.

From the teenage years to midlife and beyond, eggs are a quick and easy food to cook that are budget-friendly, low in calories and packed full of protein.

For teens learning to cook, they offer a sense of independence, and contain a useful amount of iron (check out these easy recipes even beginners can do).

“Iron is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in this age group, while vitamin D assists with the absorption of calcium for bone density. The protein in eggs along with the antioxidants is also useful for active teenagers,” Sharon says.

Eggs can help us maintain a healthy weight.

As we get older, the protein in eggs and low-calorie count can be ideal for assisting us with weight management, keeping us fuller for longer and reducing the niggling inclination to snack throughout the day.

“In mid-life, eggs can be useful for their protein and satiety benefits, helping manage appetite and weight,” Sharon says.

“Research shows eating eggs for breakfast reduces kilojoule intake during the remainder of the day compared to a cereal, oatmeal or croissant-based breakfast.”

Eggs have the nutrients we need to age gracefully.

Eggs are a great way for older people to have a quick, healthy meal instead of resorting to sugary jam on toast.

Not only are they easy to prepare and a source of high-quality protein, but they also give women the key nutrients our bodies require as we age.

They provide the Omega-3s necessary for good heart health, while containing antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin that are linked to eye health and a reduction in the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

“The vitamin B12 found in eggs can help prevent a type of anaemia, while vitamin D supports bone health and immunity,” said Sharon. “One serve of eggs provides 82 per cent of the RDI of vitamin D for those aged 51 to 70 years, and 54 per cent for those over 70 years.”

So, whatever age or stage you're at, eggs are a great way to boost your daily nutrition.

Find out more about the nutritional benefits of eggs here.

Australian Eggs

Whichever way you like to eat your eggs, or to try something new, find more egg recipe inspo here

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