Eggs: the way, the truth and the life!

By Dr. Anthony Chacko
National trustee, Poultry Association of Zambia (PAZ)

Forgive me for the biblical phrase I have used here, done just to emphasize the importance of eggs and the essentiality of their consumption in Zambia.

Today, 9th October, is the World Egg Day, celebrated world over. This day comes on second Friday in October every year. It helps to raise awareness of the benefits of eggs and their importance in human nutrition.

The fact is that the layer or egg farming in Zambia had met with serious setbacks in the last couple of years, regrettably due to the increase in cost of production which was disproportionately high against the prices of eggs prevalent that time. It is a common knowledge that Egg consumption in Zambia is one of the lowest in the world and the major hurdle in increasing its consumption is the lack of knowledge and awareness among our people, of the nutritional quality of egg, of the convenience of having it for any time of the day, of its making sense economically as one of the ‘eggcellent’ but inexpensive food for the people of all walks of life. When it comes to the intake of protein foods the common argument is that our people languish with the lack or reduced disposable income or purchasing power. But when you observe our food habits closely we will know that most of us do not manage a well balanced diet at least cost. We tend to ignore to eat some of the most nutritionally valuable products like eggs but go after rather expensive foods which may not come any closer to the nutritional excellence of eggs!

Do you remember the dream of ‘an egg a day for every Zambian?’ The dream has not lost its significance. In fact, it has become more relevant now than any other times in our lives. The major problem of under nutrition or malnutrition in Africa is caused not mainly due to deficiency of carbohydrate but due to lack of protein. The truth is that you will not find a complete protein like eggs that are available affordably and conveniently for the masses.

Agreed, we need to have more affordable price structure for eggs; that means, the industry should wake up to have ‘sensible’ profits and sensible production costs in egg production. Optimizing efficiency in rearing and production systems should make the corner stone of egg production management. More players in the industry should be encouraged to go into egg production. Marketing of eggs should be handled more professionally and NOT on an ad hoc basis as it has been done by both small scale and large scale layer farmers in the country. When you sell eggs make them more attractive (better after lay care, packaging and presentation) and appetizing. Educate your customers on the nutritional quality of eggs. Small hand bills on nutritional information, egg recipes etc will do to start with.

Eggs should get its deserving place in School feeding programmes. NGOs, Government and the industry should team up here to reach out to our children and incorporate eggs in their diet. They are our future and their future is in our hands. Anyone is listening?

The ‘Eggceedingly Eggciting’ EGGS!

Egg is one of nature’s marvels. It contains the highest quality food protein known to mankind. We can say an egg is nearly perfect and quite often the egg protein is referred to as a standard protein or a ‘measuring stick’ against which other proteins are assessed and evaluated.
Scientists frequently use eggs as a standard for measuring the protein quality of other foods. Protein quality is expressed as biological value, which measures the rate of efficiency that protein is used for growth. At 93.7%, eggs score higher than any other food, except mother’s milk!. On a scale with 100 representing top efficiency, following are the biological values of proteins in several foods.
Mother’s Milk: 100.0
Whole egg : 93.7
Cow Milk :87.4
Chicken:82.0
Fish:76.0
Beef:74.3
Soybeans:72.8
Polished Rice:64.0
Whole Wheat:64.0
Maize:60.0
Dry Beans:58.0
So do you see that only Mother’s Milk protein is better than Egg Protein?

Protein: One single egg has about 7 grams of protein of the highest quality, containing all the 9 essential amino acids your body requires. These amino acids are the building blocks of life, necessary for the growth of your children. Egg protein is critical for pregnant women because it enables the baby to grow normally and even builds his resistance against ailments for the future. Moreover eggs help in the development of the mother’s uterus, breasts, and other reserves. What’s more, the high quality protein of an egg is essential to repair worn-out and damaged tissues. It is an excellent source of energy ( 140 cals in two eggs). And it helps in digestion and in building resistance.

Vitamins: Eggs are rich in Vitamin A, critical for good eyesight and healthy skin. They have the entire Vitamin B Group, necessary for a good appetite, healthy metabolism and stable nerves. Eggs also have Vitamin D essential for strong teeth and bones and Vitamin K for the normal clotting of blood. Minerals: The secret of mental and physical efficiency is well-balanced body chemistry.

Eggs are an excellent source of 11 critical minerals. They have iron, critical for healthy blood and good respiration; Phosphorous, to stimulate the nerves and the brain. Not to mention calcium, sodium, chlorine, potassium, sulphur, magnesium, zinc, copper and iodine for the normal functioning of your body.

Fats: A large egg contains in its Yolk about 5gms of fat, of which 1.5gms is saturated and 2.5gms is unsaturated. Eggs are very rich in Carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for maintaining good vision and also found to lessen the risk of Age related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Egg is an excellent source of Choline, which is essential for brain development of fetus and new born.

Demystifying Eggs

The Cholesterol myth exploded!

Let us ponder again. It is unfortunate that the eggs have gathered over the years an infamous tag with them that says eggs can cause cardiac problems and is rich in cholesterol. Let us look at the reality scientifically.

Let us ask this question. Eggs contain cholesterol, but does eating eggs raise blood cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease?

Two commonly talked about types of blood cholesterol include LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) and HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is considered ‘bad’ (more saturated fat) because it is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease where as HDL cholesterol is considered ‘good’ (more unsaturated fat) because it is thought to help reduce the risk of heart disease. EGGS CONTAIN CHOLESTEROL that has low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fat. Studies show that saturated fats play the most critical role in raising blood cholesterol levels. In recent studies, adding two eggs to a healthy diet did not significantly increase blood cholesterol levels in men or women, young or middle-aged, with either normal or moderately blood cholesterol levels.

In addition to this information we also know that there is no sufficient evidence yet to say that dietary cholesterol significantly increases blood cholesterol. The prestigious organizations such as British Heart Association, the American Heart Association, the Foods Standards Agency and the like do not restrict the number of eggs in the diet. The dietitians and medical doctors who are aware of this fact only limit eggs for health reasons especially for people who suffer from a genetic condition of predisposition to high cholesterol.

Eggs are delicious, nutritious and affordable food that is quick to prepare and convenient for breakfast, lunch, a snack or dinner. From a basic morning scrambled, poached or boiled egg to an elegant evening soufflé, eggs add texture and flavour to a world of delicious dishes.

In addition to creating these comforting foods, eggs are used to emulsify, leaven, foam, coagulate, clarify and glaze in desserts, soup and breads. That’s why a great chef once referred to eggs as the cement that held the castle of cuisine together. Why not enjoy a delicious and ever popular “incredible edible egg” dish today.

Go cracking the eggs!

Just some simple recipes to make eggs a pleasure having!

Boiled Eggs
To hard boil, put eggs in water and boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. As soon as they are cooked, plunge eggs into cold running water and cool rapidly. This will prevent a dark ring between the yolk and white of the egg.
Scrambled Eggs
Ingredients:
2 eggs, 2 tablespoons milk or cream, 1 tablespoon butter, salt and pepper to taste.
Method:
To make scrambled eggs, beat the eggs lightly, add milk, salt and pepper. Then heat the butter and pour in the egg mixture immediately. Stir the mixture constantly over a low flame until the eggs thicken. Remove at once from heat and serve with mashed potatoes and sausages.
Spanish Omelet
Ingredients:
2 eggs, ¼ onion, ¼ capsicum, ¼ tomato, 3 – 4 button mushrooms, 1 pinch white pepper
Powder, 1 tablespoon oil or butter and salt to taste.
Method:
Cut the vegetables into cubes. Separate the egg white from the yolk. Beat the egg white until it is stiff and then add the yolk. Add salt and pepper to the mixture. Heat oil and fry the vegetables.
Add the beaten eggs and stir the surface lightly with a fork for 10 – 15 seconds till the eggs become semisolid. Turn over. Cook for half a minute. Serve hot with toast, grilled tomato and mash potato.
Oriental Omelet
Ingredients:
6 eggs, 2 well chopped onions, 2 chopped tomatoes, 3 finely chopped green chilies, salt
and pepper to taste, oil for frying. Method : Beat the eggs and add chopped onions,
tomatoes, chillies, salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add a portion of the mixture to make one omelet.
Cook over a low flame till the mixture is firm. Flip it over and cook on the other side. Repeat method to cook the remaining mixture. Serve hot with chutney or sauce.

Make Eggs a habit from TODAY!

The tail piece: Which one came first, the chicken or the Egg?
British scientists claim to have answered the question that has confounded philosophers for centuries: which came first, the chicken or the egg? It was, they say, the chicken. A team from Warwick and Sheffield universities examined the formation of a chicken’s egg in microscopic detail and discovered that the shell was made from a protein found only in a chicken’s ovaries. The protein acts as a catalyst to speed up the development of the shell.

By: Dr. Chacko serves Poultry Association of Zambia
National Trustee. E Mail: ranimanizam@gmail.com

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