Eggs have so much to offer... especially for our children. They are at the core of a diet that will help them grow up healthy, strong and smart. From a nutritional perspective, eggs are an excellent source of iron and are a nutritious source of protein, fat, Vitamins A, D, E, and B12 and choline. While eggs have been a part of our diet for millennia, yet we’re still learning just how beneficial they can be to human health. This week You! takes a look at some health benefits of this superfood…
According to medical expert, Dr Hurtamina Khan, at JMPC, eggs are an inexpensive wholesome food, free of sugar, and rich in vitamins and nutrients, which makes them a great school lunch for kids. Plus, they can be cooked in so many delicious ways-the perfect option for breakfast requirements. Moreover, Dr Khan recommends that introducing whole eggs to babies when they are six months of age or as soon as the baby starts eating whole foods, which is around eight or 10 months. You can start by a small amount and gradually increase the portion.
Karachi-based obstetrician Dr Tasnim Shah at Sadiq Clinic Saddar informs, “The choline in eggs is best for brain health as it boosts parts important for learning and memory. We know pregnant women need more choline as it helps in foetal brain development, so expecting mothers shouldn’t avoid eggs during pregnancy! It has been found that mothers who ate eggs while expecting and breastfeeding their babies were healthier physically as compared to those who didn’t. Although, I recommend a half-boiled egg, not a fried one which can affect cholesterol levels in obese mothers.”
Keeps obesity at bay In current times, when outdoor activities have reduced due to the shift in playtime to mobile-based games, foods with less sugar are the best choice as childhood obesity is becoming more common. Children who are overweight, have high blood pressure or have heart disease in their family need to have their cholesterol tested and follow their doctor’s advice for any necessary changes to their diet and lifestyle. Dietician Ghazala claims that eggs are good for avoiding obesity in children. She adds that breakfasts higher in protein reduce hunger in overweight children from 8 to 12 years of age.
As per research, children who eat high-protein egg-based breakfasts feel full till lunch hours and eat lesser calories at lunch. Another study tells that hunger was reduced overall when children ate a higher-protein egg-based breakfast before going to school. However, cooking eggs with oils or butter increases the caloric and fat contents significantly. For a healthier option, one can replace the cooking oil with olive oil.
Eating a high-protein diet can enhance the metabolism through a process called the thermic effect of food. It happens because the body needs to use extra calories to digest and process proteins in food. Carbohydrates and fats also boost the metabolism, but to a lesser extent than protein. Protein increases a person’s metabolic rate by 15-30 per cent.
Furthermore, eggs have minimal harmful cholesterol. In fact, consumption of eggs leads to a spike in the HDL (good cholesterol). This is extremely important keeping in mind the global children obesity epidemic. You can prepare eggs with minimal fats lesser oil or boiled eggs to ensure that you kid receive adequate nutrition without the harmful effects.
Kids are always chewing off their nails or breaking them and eggs ensure faster regrowth. Eggs contain 9 essential amino acids which help in the growth of the healthy nails and hair for kids. You can also use egg as a natural conditioner!
While it’s tempting to have lots of eggs given its health benefits, cooking versatility and convenience, egg intake shouldn’t be excessive. There is no particular limit on the number of eggs a child can consume in a week, but it is generally believed that four eggs are ideal to ensure that s/he is getting the required nutrients and at the same time avoiding the risk of high cholesterol due to excessive consumption. It’s important to strive for as much variety as possible in a child’s food choices. If an egg provides the protein at breakfast, opt for another type of protein at lunch and dinner. This not only provides nutrient variety, but also texture and flavour variety. The best way is to feed your kid with a combination of foods to ensure that s/he is getting all the nutrients, instead of overfeeding with just one type of food.