Health Benefits
of Eggs

  • HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis

    A nutritionally adequate diet plays an important role in immune function. Deficiencies of protein and essential nutrients have a particular detrimental effect on the ability of the body to fight HIV/AIDS and TB. Eggs are a naturally nutrient-dense food, which means they have a high proportion of nutrients to energy (kilojoules). One large egg has 315kJ and provides the highest quality protein (6g/egg) and 13 essential vitamins and minerals, which makes an egg a valuable contributor to a nutritious diet for these diseases.

  • Heart Disease

    Numerous studies in recent years have clearly demonstrated the lack of relationship between egg intake, blood cholesterol levels and coronary heart disease risk. Foods high in fat, especially saturated and trans fatty acids such fatty meats, sausages and hard cheese, have a far greater impact on heart health than cholesterol in food. Eggs are low in saturated fats and higher in the "heart healthy" mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Healthy people can eat eggs every day, provided they are taken as part of a balanced diet, low in saturated and trans-fats. People with Familial Hypercholesterolemia (an inherited form of cholesterol which carries a high risk of heart disease) should restrict their egg intake to 3-4 per week.

  • Overweight and Obesity

    Several studies have reported that starting the day with eggs for breakfast, as part of a reduced-energy (kJ) diet, helps overweight adults feel fuller for longer, feel more energetic and lose more weight. At 315kJ per large egg eggs actually add few kJ for all the nutrients they provide. When teamed up with whole grains (e.g. whole-wheat bread) and fruit or vegetables they are a complete meal, readily available, easy to prepare and inexpensive, making them a useful tool in weight loss programmes.

  • Pregnancy and fetal brain development

    Eggs are an excellent source of choline, a nutrient essential for normal functioning of all cells, for brain and nerve function and for the transportation of nutrients throughout the body. It helps prevent birth defects, as well as helps promote brain and memory development in the fetus, newborn and into old age. Choline is therefore of extreme importance during pregnancy and lactation when the reserves can be depleted. One egg per day will provide 28% of a pregnant woman's choline requirement.

  • Eye Health

    Eggs are a good source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which play an important role in keeping the eyes healthy and helping prevent common causes of age-related blindness. These two antioxidants are found in the egg yolk and help to reduce the risk of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, a disease that develops with age and causes blurred or distorted vision. They accumulate in the eye where they protect against some types of harmful, high-energy wavelengths of light. Lutein and zeaxanthin seem to be more bioavailable from eggs than from other sources.

  • Protein Quality

    Protein is one of the most important elements of our diet. Our bodies use protein to build new and repair old tissue. Eggs are champions at providing high quality protein. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Nine of these amino acids cannot be manufactured by the body and must be derived from the diet. A complete protein food contains enough of these 9 essential amino acids to promote growth and maintain body tissue.

    Egg, milk and meat (including poultry and fish) proteins are all complete proteins, but egg protein is of the highest quality, rating 100. Compared to eggs, milk is rated 93 and fish and beef 75. One egg has approximately the same protein content as 30 g cooked meat, fish or poultry. And apart from being the most versatile and best source of protein in our diet, it is also the cheapest.

Source: Southern African Poultry Association (SAPA)