Organic, free-range eggs are one of the best foods you can eat, morning, noon, or night. The way you cook them makes a big difference in their nutritional value, however, as does their source.
My advanced nutrition plan recommends eating your eggs raw, provided they come from a high-quality source, and this is because it’s the best way to preserve their valuable nutrients.
A simple way to do this is to incorporate whole organic raw eggs into a morning smoothie; you won’t even know they’re there. Just be sure to add them in after the blending (just stir them in gently with a spoon) to avoid damaging their proteins or molecular structure.
Did You Know?
- Poached eggs are an excellent source of protein, antioxidants, choline, selenium, biotin, B vitamins, and more
- Collard greens and mushrooms help fight inflammation and support immune-system health
- When combined, poached eggs with collard greens and mushrooms offers valuable nutrients and rich flavor
Next to Raw, Poached Eggs Are Best
In my beginner nutrition plan, eggs are still included and you can prepare them any way you like them. That being said, the less you cook them, the better. Scrambled or fried eggs are the worst, as this oxidizes the cholesterol in the egg yolk.
If you have high cholesterol this could pose a problem, as oxidized cholesterol may cause some damage in your body. Egg yolks also contain valuable antioxidants, which are reduced by as much as 50 percent when the egg is fried or boiled. Microwaving your eggs will result in an even greater reduction in antioxidant content.
Heat will also alter the chemical composition of the egg protein, which can easily lead to allergic reactions. When consumed in their raw state, the incidence of egg allergy is very rare. If you choose not to eat your eggs raw, poached or soft-boiled would be the next best option.
This leaves the yolk still runny and the cooking method is gentle enough to preserve many of the nutrients and antioxidants.
What Makes Eggs So Good for You?
If you eat them in the healthiest forms (i.e. raw or poached), you can easily eat one dozen eggs per week as a simple and cost-effective way to add valuable nutrition to your diet. Each egg contains about six grams of high-quality protein, and two raw egg yolks have antioxidant properties equivalent to half a serving of cranberries (25 grams), and almost twice as many as an apple.1
Eggs also contain choline, selenium, biotin, B vitamins, phosphorus, and more, making them are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. And, contrary to popular belief, eating eggs may actually help prevent disease, including heart disease. For example, previous studies have found:
- Consumption of more than six eggs per week does not increase the risk of stroke and ischemic stroke2
- Eating two eggs a day does not adversely affect endothelial function (an aggregate measure of cardiac risk) in healthy adults, supporting the view that dietary cholesterol may be less detrimental to cardiovascular health than previously thought3
- Proteins in cooked eggs are converted by gastrointestinal enzymes, producing peptides that act as ACE inhibitors (common prescription medications for lowering blood pressure)4
- A survey of South Carolina adults found no correlation of blood cholesterol levels with "bad" dietary habits, such as use of red meat, animal fats, fried foods, butter, eggs, whole milk, bacon, sausage, and cheese5
High-Quality Eggs Are Important for Nutrition and Safety
The best eggs are those that come from hens with access to the outdoors, who are allowed to roam and eat their natural diet. Free-range eggs are far more nutritious than commercially raised eggs.
In one egg-testing project, Mother Earth News compared the official US Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs with eggs from hens raised on pasture and found that the latter typically contains:6
- 1/3 less cholesterol
- ¼ less saturated fat
- 2/3 more vitamin A
- 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
- 3 times more vitamin E and 7 times more beta carotene
The dramatically superior nutrient levels are most likely the result of the differences in diet between free ranging, pastured hens and commercially farmed hens. If you’re purchasing your eggs from a supermarket, be aware that labels can be very deceptive.
The definitions of "free-range" are such that the commercial egg industry can run industrial farm egg-laying facilities and still call them "free-range" eggs, despite the fact that the birds' foraging conditions are far from what you'd call natural.
In addition, conventionally raised eggs are far more likely to be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria such as salmonella, which is why, if you're eating raw eggs, they MUST be organic pastured eggs.
Poached Eggs with Collard Greens and Shiitake Mushrooms
Today’s recipe is adapted from The George Mateljan Foundation’s Poached Eggs Over Collard Greens & Shiitake Mushrooms.7 It’s an excellent combination, both in flavor and nutrition.
Collard greens, rich in vitamin K and phytonutrients – caffeic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin, and kaempferol – help lower oxidative stress in your cells while fighting inflammation.
Collard greens contain glucosinolates called glucobrassicin that can convert into an isothiocyanate molecule called indole-3-carbinol, or I3C, a compound with the ability to activate and prevent an inflammatory response at its earliest stage.8
Other phytonutrients in collard greens, specifically diindolylmethane and sulforaphane, have been clinically proven to combat breast, prostate, ovarian, cervical, and colon cancer cells, help prevent their growth and even help prevent them from forming in the first place.9
Also noteworthy, collard greens are especially high in fiber, with more than 7 grams per cup, making them ideal for digestive support. They’re also particularly useful for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.10
Shiitake mushrooms are another veritable superfood. They contain a number of health-stimulating agents, including lentinan, which has been isolated and used to treat stomach and other cancers due to its anti-tumor properties. It has also been found to protect your liver,11 relieve other stomach ailments (hyperacidity, gallstones, ulcers), anemia, ascites, and pleural effusion.
In another study, adding one or two servings of dried shiitake mushrooms was found to have a beneficial, modulating effect on immune system function.12 So by eating the delicious recipe that follows, you’ll be flooding your body with the nutrients it craves to maintain and reach optimal health.
Poached Eggs over Collards with Fresh Mushrooms Recipe
Total Time: 20 minutes
- 11 pounds cooked, cold leg of ham
- 6 cups chopped collard greens
- 1 medium onion
- 6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
- 4 fresh organic, free-range eggs
- About 4 cups water
- 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
- 3 medium pressed garlic cloves
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- Slice onions and press garlic and let sit for 5-10 minutes to bring out their health-promoting benefits.
- Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a steamer pot.
- Rinse greens well. Roll or stack leaves and cut into 1/4-inch slices and cut again crosswise. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Steam collard greens, mushrooms, onion, and garlic together for 5 minutes.
- While steaming greens, get ready for poaching eggs by bringing water and vinegar to a fast simmer in a small, shallow pan. You can start on high heat, and once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer before adding eggs. Make sure there is enough water to cover eggs.
- Mix together lemon juice, ginger, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
- Poach eggs until desired doneness. This will take about 5 minutes, or just until the white is set and the yolk has filmed over.
- Remove vegetables from steamer and toss with dressing. Remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon and place on plate of tossed greens.
(Adapted from Healthy Recipes for Your Nutritional Type)
+ Sources and References