When I was a kid, I was a really picky eater.
My mom would make three meals a day, but eating was not a high priority for me. I think I weighed about 85 pounds when I graduated high school. Can’t say that now!
Breakfast was a bit of a challenge for both my parents, as they tried to lure me to the kitchen table. He would be frying bacon, and she was busy with the enormous pan of scrambled eggs. My dad would take one piece of warm and extra-crispy bacon and hand it to me as I watched cartoons, anticipating a dreaded table of culinary horrors they would make me devour.
When we lived in Brooklyn, they did not allow dogs in the apartment, so I couldn’t share my breakfast with a pet. I thought they wouldn’t notice I’d placed a good portion of those eggs in my napkin, rolled it up and attempted to toss it. Wrong! My sweet and very soft-spoken mother made it quite clear that, one way or the other, I would ingest those eggs!
Oh, if only that was the case today. I love to eat!
There was a whole hullabaloo about the cholesterol in eggs awhile back. Both Grandpa and I enjoy egg salad, cheese omelets, hard-boiled eggs and one of his favorites: fried egg sandwiches. Off I go to the internet to get the latest scoop on the “incredible edible egg.”
Protein is extremely important for our health, especially as we get older and need more density in our bones. It is essential for muscle health and repair, which takes the pressure off our joints. Eggs are rich in protein, with approximately 6 to 7 grams in each one. The choline in this no-sugar, no-carbohydrate, approximately 70-calorie food helps increase metabolism and deliver vitamins and minerals to the body. Choline — that same nutrient that helps your liver function — might also reduce the risk of breast cancer in women, according to Women’s Health. Don’t shy away from the whole eggs, since this is found only in the yolk.
There are about 5 grams of fat in each egg, but less than 2 of saturated fat. The egg also contains iron, carotenoids and disease-fighting nutrients like lutein, antioxidants and zeaxanthin, which are all excellent for eye health and can help deter disease.
The old rumor that you shouldn’t eat whole eggs because they’re too fatty is a fallacy for most people. Lipoproteins, commonly referred to as the healthy cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. You can increase the level of HDLs in your body by regularly consuming eggs.
The liver already produces cholesterol, so when you consume eggs, your body naturally starts producing less. The truth is that eggs increase HDLs, which is considered the good cholesterol. This may be different for people with Type 2 diabetes, so a doctor consultation is always something I recommend for any diet or exercise changes. Some studies show too many eggs might increase the risk of heart disease in people with Type 2 diabetes.
Eating breakfast is essential for a good metabolism, and having eggs can help you eat less throughout the day. The high amount of protein places eggs on top of the list of “filling” foods. Eggs also contain a B-complex vitamin called biotin. This vitamin helps your body metabolize fats and carbs for energy. As an added plus, biotin can improve your hair, nails and skin!
There are dozens of different ways to cook eggs. They are used in most recipes, especially for moisture and helping things stick together, like my famous turkey meatballs. When we go out for breakfast, which is Grandpa’s favorite meal, I overhear other patrons describing exactly how they like their eggs prepared. It has become quite an art to get them done precisely how the person wants it.
A friend likes his scrambled and served on a microwaved plate, so they stay warm. Another loves shredded cheese in hers. Everyone has their thing!
Last but not least, eggs are a great standby for lunch or dinner, too. Many times, we enjoy a tasty omelet and some fruit in lieu of a heavier meal before bedtime. As for me, I enjoy almost any kind of egg now. I still don’t have a pet, so I guess it’s all up to me to clean my own plate.
Marla Luckhardt is a Brentwood resident who works with several local senior care and advocacy groups. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.