The humble egg should be considered a superfood thanks to its ability to boost health and even help tackle obesity, according to researchers behind a new study.
Nutrition scientists have found that eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods available and are recommending that we eat at least one egg a day to get the optimum benefits.
In the study, to be published in the journal Nutrition and Food Science, researchers discovered that eggs can play an important role in maintaining health as well as help with weight-loss and dieting.
The nutrition scientists analysed data from 71 previously published research papers and reference documents that examined egg nutritional composition and the role of eggs in the diet.
They discovered that, despite being low in calories, eggs are a rich source of protein and are packed with essential nutrients thought vital to good health, particularly vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium and choline
The report also confirms that among protein foods, eggs contain the richest mix of essential amino acids – crucial for children, adolescents and young adults since a balance of amino acids is required for proper growth and repair.
And the high levels of antioxidants found in eggs means they could even help prevent age-related macular degeneration an eye condition that is the leading cause of blindness in the UK.
The research team highlighted data from previous research in the US which found that people who ate eggs had higher intakes of all nearly all nutrients compared with non-egg eaters.
Lead author of the report Dr Carrie Ruxton, an independent dietitian and registered public health nutritionist, said: “The health benefits of eggs would appear to be so great that its perhaps no exaggeration to call them a superfood they are one of the most nutrient-dense foods available.
Eggs are not only low in calories but are packed with nutrients that are essential to healthy living. They are an ideal food at every stage of life, as well as being easy to cook and enjoyable to eat.
The study review, by Dr Ruxton, together with Dr Emma Derbyshire, senior lecturer in human nutrition at Manchester Metropolitan University and Sigrid Gibson, an independent nutritionist, was funded by the British Egg Industry Council.
It identifies specific groups who could particularly benefit from eating more eggs including children, teenagers and older adults as well as heavy meat-eaters and those not consuming milk.
One of the key findings of the report – entitled The Nutritional Properties and Health Benefits of Eggs – is that eggs are an important dietary source of vitamin D and could significantly help to boost daily intake.
It says that each egg provides more than 20 per cent of the vitamin D recommended daily allowance or nearly half the requirements with two eggs a day.
Low vitamin D levels have been linked with a host of health conditions including poor bone health, cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, immune disorders and mental health problems.