Is the egg a super-food or a dietary devil? New research may help unscramble the answer. A recent analysis of egg studies found that healthy people who included eggs in their diets showed no increased risk of heart disease or stroke.
Eggs do have cholesterol (186 milligrams apiece), but that's not a problem for most of us. "For heart health, there are bigger fish to fry in terms of food," says Meridan Zerner, RD, LD, dietitian at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas.
Eggs already stand out as a low-calorie source of protein (6 grams per egg). They may prevent you from overeating and keep blood sugar levels steady, Zerner says. Plus, eggs are one of the top sources of choline, a B vitamin that protects the heart and aids fetal brain development (making eggs a good choice for pregnant women). Egg yolks also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that appear to protect against age-related eye diseases.
Still, many experts recommend you limit yourself to an egg a day. If you have heart disease or diabetes, you may need to limit that amount further. It's best to think of eggs as just one option in your rotation of healthy foods, Zerner says. "We find health in the middle ground."
Eggcellent Salad Sandwich
This lunchtime favorite gets a healthy makeover with the help of light mayo and nonfat Greek yogurt.
Makes 4 servings
2 tbsp light mayonnaise
2 tbsp nonfat plain Greek yogurt
½ tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp grated lemon rind
freshly ground pepper
Salad and Fixings:
6 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
1 large celery stalk, minced
1 small red pepper, minced
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
8 slices whole grain bread, toasted
1 cup fresh arugula or baby spinach
1 small red onion, sliced
1. Place dressing ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.
2. Add to the dressing: eggs, celery, red pepper, and parsley. Toss gently.
3. Cover and refrigerate egg salad for 30 minutes to blend flavors.
4. Make the sandwiches: Place equal amounts of egg salad on four slices
of toast. Garnish with greens and red onion,
and top with remaining toast. Slice each sandwich in half and serve.
Per serving: 314 calories, 19 g protein, 33 g carbohydrate, 12 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 294 mg cholesterol, 6 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 386 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 34%.
Eggs get the Southwestern treatment in these warming enchiladas. Serve them as a healthy brunch entrée or a tasty light supper.
Makes 8 servings
1 15.5 oz can low-sodium tomato sauce
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
8 large eggs
¼ cup low-fat milk
⅓ cup chopped green onions
3 tbsp diced green chili peppers
8 6-inch fat-free flour or corn tortillas
1 15.5 oz can low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
6 oz (1½ cup) reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 avocado, sliced into
¼ cup light sour cream
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1. In a small bowl, combine tomato sauce with garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin. Set aside.
2. Beat eggs with milk until combined. Heat a large, nonstick skillet, coated with cooking spray, over medium heat. Add eggs, onions, and chilies. Scramble eggs until they're just cooked and still moist.
3. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray, and spread 2–3 tbsp sauce on the bottom of the dish. Set aside.
4. Assemble enchiladas: On each tortilla, spoon 1/8 of the beans and scrambled eggs in a line down the center. Top with 1½ tbsp shredded cheese. Roll each tortilla and place seam-side down in the prepared baking dish. Pour remaining tomato sauce over enchiladas.
5. Cover dish and bake 20 minutes at 350 F. Remove cover, top enchiladas with remaining cheese, and bake 5–7 minutes more until cheese melts.
6. Serve enchiladas garnished with avocado, sour cream, and cilantro.
Per serving:266 calories, 17 g protein, 27 g carbohydrate, 10 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 191 mg cholesterol, 7 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 284 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 35%.
Goat Cheese and Veggie Mini Strata
Makes 6 servings
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 cup small broccoli florets
1 cup diced portabella mushrooms
¼ cup thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
6 large eggs
¾ cup low-fat milk (more if needed)
½ tsp white pepper
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
5 cups cubed whole
1. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet to medium high. Add onion and cook 7–8 minutes until brown and caramelized. Add broccoli, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes and cook 4–5 more minutes until vegetables are soft.
3. In a large bowl, beat eggs with milk, salt, and pepper. Add vegetables, cheese, and bread cubes and mix to combine.
4. Pour egg-and-bread mixture into the muffin pan, dividing evenly to ensure that liquid saturates the bread cubes. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour or overnight.
5. Heat oven to 350 F. Bake strata 20–25 minutes until puffy and golden brown. Loosen with a knife and serve two per person.
Per serving:268 calories, 17 g protein, 22 g carbohydrate, 13 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 195 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 382 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 43%.
Pantry Picks for Our Egg Recipes
Keep these healthy ingredients on hand to make our three egg recipes extra-simple to prepare. Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, gives her take on what to look for at the supermarket.
Sauce Boss: To avoid the extra sodium in most tomato sauces, Zelman buys only no-salt-added brands: Muir Glen Organic No Salt Added Tomato Sauce (30 mg sodium) and Hunt's No Salt Added Tomato Sauce (20 mg sodium).
Bean Count: You can't beat beans for protein and fiber, but canned beans are another sneaky source of sodium. Zelman likes Goya Low Sodium Black Beans (125 mg sodium) and Bush's Best Low Sodium Black Beans (140 mg sodium).
Say Cheese: Zelman says these two cheeses are so flavorful you'd never know they're reduced-fat. She likes Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp -Cheddar Made With 2% Milk and Cabot Sharp Light Cheddar.
The opinions expressed in this section are of the experts and are not the opinions of WebMD. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.
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