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Eggs - what do they contain?
Eggs are a well-liked, healthy natural whole food that contain a wide range of important nutrients. They are versatile and affordable. The NZ Ministry of Health Eating and Activity Guidelines state eggs can be eaten by healthy New Zealanders every day of the week.
Based on current scientific evidence, the Heart Foundation states New Zealanders who are at increased risk of heart disease can eat up to six eggs per week as part of a heart-healthy diet.
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 say six to seven eggs a week – that’s up to one a day 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.
Vitamins and Minerals
Eggs contain the following essentail vitamins, minerals and antioxidants:
- Selenium an antioxidant which 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 an antioxidant to protect our bodies against disease
- Phosphorous helps build strong bones and teeth
- Iron to produce haemoglobin which carries oxygen around our bodies
- Thiamin to turn carbohydrates into energy our body can use
- Zinc helps in growth, wound healing, blood formation and maintenance of tissues
- Vitamin D important in bone health
- Calcium for building and maintain bones and teeth
- Biotin helps cell metabolism and the utilistion of fats, proteins and carbohydrates
- Lecithin contins acetylcholine which has been proven to help brain function
- Choline is important in many metabolic processes, including those of 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.
Eggs & cholesterol
Studies conducted in healthy people show no effect of daily egg intake on blood cholesterol. In addition the latest scientific evidence shows no association between increased intake of dietary cholesterol and increased risk of heart disease or stroke.
NZNF White Paper - Role of eggs in the New Zealand Diet
The objective of this report is to review 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 230 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
Two medium eggs (120g)
% RDI Male
Saturated fat (g)
Monounsaturated fat (g)
Polyunsaturated fat (g)
Vitamin B12 (ug)
Vitamin A (ug) (Retinol)
Vitamin D (ug)