Eggs – what do they contain?

Eggs are a well-liked, healthy whole food that contains a wide range of important nutrients. They are versatile and affordable.

Based on current scientific evidence

  • Those at an increased risk of heart disease can eat up to six eggs per week as part of a heart-healthy diet according to the Heart Foundation
  • For the general healthy population, eggs can be included as part of a varied and balanced diet (i.e., there is no set limit for the general healthy population)
  • Eggs are suggested as a good protein to include in the diet of people with diabetes. Diabetes NZ, in-line with the Heart Foundation and Ministry of Health says six to seven eggs a week is OK for people with diabetes


Eggs are a ‘complete protein’, meaning they contain all the essential amino acids needed for healthy body functions. For their weight, eggs provide the highest quality protein of all foods. This protein is highly digestible and may provide satiety (keeping you fuller for longer), which helps weight management.

The protein in eggs is particularly useful for:


A medium egg contains about 4 grams of fat – roughly 1g saturated and 2g unsaturated. The fat in eggs supply energy and contain fat-soluble vitamins.


Concerns about eggs stemmed from the fact that egg yolks are high in cholesterol. However, while cholesterol in food (such as egg yolks) can slightly increase our blood cholesterol, saturated fats have a greater impact on increasing our blood cholesterol levels.

If you are trying to improve your blood cholesterol, focus on changes such as reducing saturated fat intake, increasing vegetable intake, and eating more whole and less processed foods, rather than just restricting egg intake. Note that meat with skin on is high in saturated fat, whereas other protein sources such as fish, seafood and eggs are much lower in saturated fat (and legumes such as chickpeas and kidney beans contain virtually none).

Vitamins and Minerals

Eggs contain the following essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants:

  • Selenium is an antioxidant that protects our body and immune system
  • Folate  for growth and maintenance of healthy cells
  • Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5 ) releases energy from our food for our body to use
  • Vitamin B12 for brain and nervous system functions and blood formation
  • Vitamin A for growth and eye health
  • Iodine to ensure proper function of our thyroid gland
  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects our bodies against disease
  • Phosphorous helps build strong bones and teeth
  • Iron produces haemoglobin which carries oxygen around our bodies
  • Thiamin turns carbohydrates into energy our body can use
  • Zinc helps in the growth, wound healing, blood formation and maintenance of tissues
  • Vitamin D important in bone health
  • Calcium for building and maintaining bones and teeth
  • Biotin helps cell metabolism and the utilisation of fats, proteins and carbohydrates
  • Lecithin contains acetylcholine which has been proven to help the brain function
  • Choline is important in many metabolic processes, including those of the liver, heart and brain
  • Lutein is important for eye health


Eggs contain the phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin, which act as antioxidants and are thought to be protective in the prevention of eye disease.

New Zealand Nutrition Foundation White Paper – Role of eggs in the New Zealand Diet

Click to our report on the role of eggs in New Zealand Diet

The objective of this report is to review the literature on the major health areas that are relevant to eggs, draw conclusions and provide recommendations for various target audiences. Eggs are a popular food choice amongst the New Zealand population with each New Zealander consuming approximately 237 eggs per year.

Over the years there have been mixed messages on potential negative health effects of eggs, in particular the effect of increased consumption on cardiovascular health.  This is partly due to earlier epidemiological data that demonstrated a weak, positive association between dietary cholesterol and cardiovascular risk, and the fact that eggs are one of the richest sources of dietary cholesterol.  However, public health messaging on egg consumption has evolved over the past years, with many national and international health organisations including regular egg consumption as part of a healthy, balanced diet in their dietary recommendations.

Nutrient content of raw NZ Hen eggs

NutrientTwo medium eggs (120g)

% RDI Male

%RDI Female

Energy (kJ)



Protein (g)




Fat (g)

Saturated fat (g)

Monounsaturated fat (g)

Polyunsaturated fat (g)


Cholesterol (mg)


Sodium (mg)

Iron (mg)




Selenium (ug)



Zinc (mg)



Vitamin B12 (ug)




Folate (ug)




Vitamin A (ug) (Retinol)



Vitamin D (ug)

Choline (mg)


More information:

Last reviewed: 21/06/2022

Last modified: July 15, 2022