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Food combinations and cooking methods, eggs

April 19, 2023
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Food combinations and cooking methods, eggs

Eggs provide proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are valuable for eyesight, muscles, bones and the immune system. Let's see the different properties based on the different cooking methods

More and more scientific research shows that the egg is not that harmful food that we thought but almost ... a superfood, useful for all ages! Today we are therefore talking about eggs, their properties but also about cooking methods and how these can modify the action of eggs on our body. As we will see, the advice is to consume the eggs by alternating the preparations in order to guarantee the different benefits that arise from the different ways of cooking the eggs.

Eggs, nutrients

Eggs provide precious proteins and vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, vitamins B2 and B12, which participate in the production of energy and red blood cells, and choline, also called vitamin J, essential for the synthesis of neurotransmitters, for the transport of fats and to protect the liver. Not only that, eggs are also a source of mineral salts, such as iron, calcium, zinc and selenium. Vitamins, fats and minerals are mainly concentrated in egg yolk while proteins are equally distributed between egg whites and yolks (Hernandez Olivas et al, J Agric Food Chem, 2021). Eggs contain cholesterol but studies have shown that this contribution does not affect blood cholesterol values, provided that eggs are consumed without excesses and within a healthy and varied diet (Hernandez Olivas et al, J Agric Food Chem, 2021).

Eggs, a precious source of protein

Eggs, as mentioned, are a precious source of protein that are preserved and are not lost even if the eggs are cooked (Hernandez Olivas et al, J Agric Food Chem, 2021). Proteins are essential at all ages and in the elderly they help to counteract the loss of muscle mass and sarcopenia. In case of digestive problems, which can occur at any age but are observed especially in the elderly, it is advisable to offer poached or soft-boiled eggs. In fact, in these preparations, egg proteins are more easily digestible since the egg white is cooked and the yolk is more liquid (Hernandez Olivas et al, J Agric Food Chem, 2021).

As for the yolk, when it is well cooked and loses its liquid appearance, as in the case of an omelette, its proteins can become more difficult to digest, resulting in a problem for those with digestive problems. This observation also applies to hard-boiled eggs, which must be cooked just right, 9 minutes after boiling and then dipping the egg in cold water to stop it from cooking, and never for excessive amounts of time. If the egg cooks too much, in fact, the yolk takes on a light greenish yellow colour, which indicates that the proteins have undergone denaturation and can be difficult to assimilate.

Eggs, the cooking methods that save your eyesight

Eggs bring substances that protect your eyesight, such as vitamin A, which keeps the tear filter healthy by counteracting dry eye and helps in night vision, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are two antioxidants that protect the retina from light damage and counteract macular degeneration. While lutein and zeaxanthin are resistant to heat, which, indeed, increases their availability and therefore are found in all forms of cooked eggs, including omelettes, hard-boiled eggs and scrambled eggs, vitamin A is more delicate and some types of cooking methods determine a decrease due to an increase in exposure to light and oxygen (Nimalaratne et al, J Agric Food Chem, 2012). For example, omelets show a decrease in vitamin A compared to hard-boiled eggs and poached eggs (Hernandez Olivas et al, J Agric Food Chem, 2021).

Eggs, cooking methods that strengthen the immune system

Vitamin D is the vitamin of health, not only capable of strengthening bones but also the immune system, making the body more resistant to infections. Eggs provide vitamin D, which, however, can be altered by some cooking methods. In particular, in this case, the problem is not so much the exposure to light and oxygen, as it is for vitamin A, but the time to which the eggs are subjected to heat. The longer they cook, the more the eggs lose vitamin D (Hernandez Olivas et al, J Agric Food Chem, 2021).

Eggs, cooking methods for heart health

Egg yolk contains lecithin, which is a substance with an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and cardioprotective action, capable of reducing the values of bad LDL cholesterol, increasing its excretion through bile and to promote the synthesis of good HDL cholesterol (Zhao et al, Front Nutr, 2022). Lecithin is sensitive to heat and, therefore, for those who want to keep cholesterol under control, the advice is to choose cooking methods that leave the yolk liquid or semi-liquid, such as poached or soft-boiled eggs.

The dessert for the little ones

Do you have any egg yolks left? Here is a recipe for preparing an extraordinary dessert for the little ones, simple but full of energy, vitamins and minerals, zabaglione. In a bowl, beat the yolks with the brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of sugar for 4 yolks.

Then, cook in a bain-marie on a low flame. At this point, the recipe calls for 4 tablespoons of Marsala wine, or Vermouth or Madeira wine port, to be added, but you can replace it with milk, even plant based milk. Mix with the whisk until the cream begins to thicken. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and serve.

Eggs and vegetables

A valid food combination is given by eggs, a source of protein, and vegetables. For example, an idea is to serve fried eggs and asparagus but also omelettes made with eggs and vegetables, such as agretti, chicory or even artichokes. In this way, in fact, it is possible to add mineral salts, excellent in case of physical activity or tiring work, and to stimulate the work of the liver, for better digestion and greater elimination of excess cholesterol (Aufiero, The nutritional and therapeutic role of food, Vis sanatrix Naturae, 2015).

Poached eggs in case of debilitation and nausea

In convalescence or after intense treatments it is possible to find yourself debilitated, perhaps with nausea. Help comes from poached eggs, which provide sustenance, proteins and which, thanks to the presence of vinegar, added to the cooking water to promote egg coagulation, will also fight nausea (Vis sanatrix Naturae, 2015).

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