The healthiest way to eat eggs can be debated, but there is no possible discussion that they are healthy, nutritious and delicious!
Eggs are a cheap but incredibly nutritious food.
They contain relatively few calories, but they are packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and various trace elements.
That said, the way you prepare your eggs can affect your nutritional profile.
This article explores the healthiest ways to cook and eat eggs.
A review of the different cooking methods
The eggs are delicious and extremely versatile.
They can be cooked in many different ways and are easy to combine with other healthy foods , such as vegetables.
Cooking them also destroys any dangerous bacteria , making them safer to eat.
Here is a breakdown of the most popular cooking methods:
Hard boiled eggs are cooked in their shell in a pot with boiling water for 6-10 minutes, depending on how well cooked the yolk is.
The longer they cook, the firmer the yolk will be.
Poached eggs are cooked in slightly cooler water.
They are cracked in a pot with simmering water between 160-180 ° F (71-82 ° C) and cooked for 2.5-3 minutes.
Fried eggs are broken in a hot pan that contains a thin layer of cooking fat.
You can then cook them “with the sunny side up”, which means that the egg is fried on one side, or “with ease”, which means that the egg is fried on both sides.
Baked eggs are cooked in a hot oven in a flat-bottomed dish until the egg is ready.
Scrambled eggs are beaten in a bowl, poured into a hot pan and stir over low heat until they are set.
To make an omelet, beat the eggs, pour them in a hot pan and slowly simmer until they are solid.
Unlike scrambled eggs, an omelet does not stir once it is in the pan.
Microwaves can be used to cook eggs in many different ways. It takes much less time to cook the eggs in the microwave than on the stove.
However, it is generally not a good idea to microwave eggs that are still in their shells in the microwave . This is because the pressure can build up quickly within them and can explode.
Eggs can be cooked in many different ways, including boiling, poaching, frying, baking and stirring.
Cooking makes some nutrients more digestible
Cooking eggs makes them safer to eat , and also makes some of their nutrients easier to digest.
An example of this is the protein in eggs.
Studies have shown that it becomes more digestible when heated.
In fact, one study found that the human body could use 91% of the protein in cooked eggs, compared with only 51% in raw eggs .
It is believed that this change in digestibility occurs because heat causes structural changes in egg proteins .
In raw eggs, the large protein compounds are separated from each other and rolled into complex and twisted structures.
When the proteins are cooked, the heat breaks the weak bonds that keep them in shape.
The proteins then form new bonds with the other proteins that surround them . These new links in the cooked egg are easier to digest for your body.
You can see these changes that occur as the white and egg yolk change from a thick gel to gummy and firm.
The protein in raw eggs can also interfere with the availability of the biotin micronutrient.
Eggs are a good source of biotin, which is an important nutrient used in the metabolism of fats and sugars. It is also known as vitamin B7, or vitamin H.
In raw eggs , a protein in egg whites called avidin binds to biotin, making it unavailable for your body to use.
However, when eggs are cooked , heat causes structural changes in avidin, making it less effective in binding to biotin. This makes biotin easier to absorb .
Cooking eggs makes the protein they contain more digestible. It also helps make vitamin biotin more available for your body to use.
Cooking very hot can damage other nutrients
Although cooking eggs makes some nutrients more digestible, it can harm others.
This is not unusual. Cooking most foods will result in a reduction of some nutrients, particularly if they are cooked at high temperatures for a long period of time.
Studies have examined this phenomenon in eggs.
One study found that cooking eggs reduced their vitamin A content by about 17-20%.
Cooking can also significantly reduce the amount of antioxidants in eggs.
One study found that common cooking methods, including microwave, boiling and frying eggs, reduced the amount of certain antioxidants by 6-18%.
In general, it has been shown that shorter cooking times (even at high temperatures) retain more nutrients.
Research has shown that when eggs are baked for 40 minutes , they can lose up to 61% of their vitamin D , compared with 18% when they are fried or boiled for a shorter period of time.
However, although cooking eggs reduces these nutrients, eggs remain a very rich source of vitamins and antioxidants.
Cooking eggs can reduce their vitamin and antioxidant content. However, they are still very high in nutrients.
Cooking very hot oxidizes cholesterol in eggs
Egg yolks are high in cholesterol.
In fact, a large egg contains approximately 212 mg of cholesterol, which represents 71% of the previously recommended intake of 300 mg per day.
However, when eggs are cooked at high temperatures, the cholesterol in them can oxidize and produce compounds known as oxisteroles .
This is a concern for some people, since oxidized cholesterol and blood oxyphenols have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease .
It is believed that foods containing oxidized cholesterol and oxysterols contribute to the blood levels of these compounds.
The main dietary sources of oxidized cholesterol can be commercially fried foods such as fried chicken, fish and chips.
It is also worth noting that the cholesterol that is oxidized in the body is believed to be more harmful than the oxidized cholesterol that you eat.
Most importantly, studies have not shown a relationship between eating eggs and an increased risk of heart disease in healthy people.
Cooking at high temperatures can oxidize cholesterol in eggs. However, eating eggs has not been linked to an increased risk of heart disease in healthy people.
5 Tips for cooking super healthy eggs
Eggs are nutritious, but you can make your eggs even healthier.
Here are five tips for cooking super healthy eggs:
1. Choose a low-calorie cooking method
If you are trying to reduce calories, choose poached or boiled eggs.
These cooking methods do not add extra calories from fat , so the food will have fewer calories than fried or scrambled eggs or an omelet.
2. Combine them with vegetables
Eggs go very well with vegetables.
This means that eating eggs is a great opportunity to increase your consumption of vegetables and add additional fiber and vitamins to your food.
Some simple ideas include adding the vegetables of your choice in an omelet or scrambled eggs, or simply cook the eggs the way you want and eat vegetables to the side.
3. Fry them in an oil that is stable at high temperatures
The best oils for cooking over high heat , such as when frying in a pan, are those that remain stable at high temperatures and do not oxidize easily to form harmful free radicals.
Some examples of good options are extra virgin olive oil and butter. Coconut oil is also a good option for cooking at high temperatures, but some people may not like the taste of eggs.
4. Choose the most nutritious eggs you can afford
The nutritional quality of the eggs can be influenced by a number of factors, such as the method of breeding and the diet of the hens.
In general, grass-fed and organic eggs are thought to be nutritionally superior to caged and conventionally produced eggs .
5. Don’t cook them too much
The longer and hotter you cook your eggs, the more nutrients you can lose.
Using higher heat for a longer time can also increase the amount of oxidized cholesterol they contain. This is particularly true in the case of frying pans.
To make your eggs as healthy as possible, choose a low-calorie cooking method, combine them with vegetables, fry them in a thermostable oil and do not overcook them.
Message to take home
In general, shorter and lower heat cooking methods cause less cholesterol oxidation and help retain most of the nutrients in eggs.
For this reason, poached and boiled eggs (hard or soft) may be the healthiest to eat. These cooking methods also do not add unnecessary calories.
That said, eating eggs is generally super healthy regardless of the way they are cooked.
Therefore, you may just want to cook and eat them in the way you like and not obsess with the small details.