Know your food: EGGSAccording to nutritionists, consuming eggs daily has multiple benefits including weight loss, reduced blood pressure and protection against infections.
Chicken eggs are a healthy, nutritious superfood, containing most of the minerals and vitamins a body needs. They are relatively cheap as well. They are a complete source of protein, credited with a reduction in malnutrition in children and pregnant women in recent years in Nepal.
According to nutritionists, consuming eggs daily has multiple benefits including weight loss, reduced blood pressure and protection against infections.
Sourcing of our eggs
Nepal is self-reliant on chicken eggs. According to the Nepal Egg Producers Association, poultry farmers in the country produce 3.1 million eggs a day.
“Our production is sufficient to meet domestic demand,” said Shiva Ram KC, chairman of the association.
Sizes and types
Eggs are mostly available in two sizes—big and medium. Big-sized eggs cost Rs450 a crate (30 eggs) while medium-sized ones cost Rs435 a crate. Pastured eggs or eggs from local chickens are also available but they cost more than double the price of eggs produced in poultry farms. These are called Omega-3-enriched eggs, which are more nutritious than those produced on farms. Nutritionists say such eggs contain higher amounts of Omega-3 fat and are high in vitamins A and E. Omega-3 fatty acids are also known to reduce blood levels of triglycerides, a well-known risk factor for heart disease.
As pastured eggs are scarce, one has to directly contact farmers to buy them. Officials at the Department of Food Technology said that generally, pastured eggs are not produced in bulk, but they may be made available through some trusted suppliers.
Why have them, and how many?
As chicken eggs are rich in protein, most minerals and vitamins, there are multiple reasons to take them. A whole egg contains Vitamin A, Vitamin B9, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B 12, Vitamin B 2, Vitamin D, E, B6, minerals—phosphorus, selenium, calcium and zinc.
“A healthy adult can eat 1–2 eggs a day without hesitation,” said Dr Atul Upadhyay, a nutritionist. “A whole egg contains almost all the nutrients a body needs.”
What about the quality of eggs?
No agency in the country is checking the quality of the eggs being sent to the market. The issue of excessive use of antibiotics in chicken is often raised but no one talks about the presence of antibiotic residue in eggs.
Studies in other countries including India show high levels of antibiotic-resistant pathogens in chickens raised for meat and eggs.
The Department of Food Technology and Quality Control examines the quality of processed foods containing eggs but does not check the quality of eggs per se. Experts say there is no mechanism in the country to ascertain the quality of eggs. It is also difficult to determine the quality of eggs by merely looking at them, for instance whether they have thick or thin shells.
Eggs help in weight loss and strengthening prenatal bone. They increase mental energy. The lutein in the eggs enhances skin’s moisture and the protein helps tighten the skin. Egg yolk boosts skin complexion, as they are high in fatty acids, nutritionists say.
Daily consumption of eggs might lower the risk of stroke. Antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin contained in eggs help prevent eye diseases like cataracts and age-related muscle degeneration. Choline in eggs is important for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, as it helps with baby’s brain development.