Why you should be eating Eggs

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Eggs are a versatile and highly nutritious food, though their precise nutritional content can vary greatly depending on how the chickens that produced them lived and what they  were fed. For example, chickens that have been able to feed on open pastures often have higher levels of important Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.

Once considered a nutritional no-no due to dietary cholesterol, eggs have now been exonerated and have found their way to superfood status.

Why it’s a superfood?

  • A complete protein source;
  • High in vitamin B12, riboflavin, choline, phosphorus and selenium;
  • Good source of vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid and iron;
  • Good source of Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA (in pastured eggs);
  • One only a few foods that naturally contain vitamin D.

Healthy evidence
This review article published in 2009 discussed the health benefits of choline, a compound that was only added to the list of recommended nutrients in 1998. The authors noted that eggs are one of the best sources of choline, which is vital in numerous metabolic functions.

For example, choline may help prevent atherosclerosis, neurological disorders and liver disease.

It has also been shown to help reduce the effects of short-term alcohol misuse, also known as a hangover. Choline is so important for alcohol metabolism that it can even protect fetuses against maternal alcohol ingestion (not that you should be consuming alcohol whilst pregnant).

Composition of an Egg
The composition of an egg is usually defined in two parts. The egg white and the yolk. The white is approximately 87% and 13% protein, and contains both vitamins and minerals.

The yolk is approximately 50% water, 33% fat and 17% protein. Similar to the egg white, it also contains both vitamins and minerals.

The nutrients available in an egg are distributed fairly evenly between the egg white and the yolk. This distribution of nutrients is a common characteristic of whole, natural foods and it is one of the main reasons why you should consume the entire egg.

How to choose your eggs
As stated above, the nutrient quality of an egg will depend largely on what living conditions and food available to the chickens that produced the eggs.

Just like all other animals, chickens that are able to express normal behavioural patterns, both socially and physically and are able to eat an optimal diet natural to the species will produce a higher quality egg.

Pastured eggs
Chickens roam freely outdoors, usually alongside cattle or llamas for protection and paddock sustainability. Constant access to sunlight, grass, seeds and bugs, which in turn leads to an excellent nutrient profile. The Gold Standard.

Free range eggs
Are produced by chickens that “may” be permitted outdoors, and have reasonable access to sunlight, grass and bugs resulting in a good nutrient profile.

The term “free range” may be used differently depending on the country and independent laws. In Australia, this means 10,000 hens per hectare in outdoor grazing areas where suitable.

Cage free eggs
Chickens that live indoors in large areas with some sun exposure and are often grain fed. However, the high stocking densities greatly restricts the chickens ability to move freely and conduct normal behavioural patterns, resulting in a lower nutrient profile.

Cage eggs
Chickens live en mass in what is known as battery cages with little to zero room to move about and conduct normal behavioural patterns causing massive amounts of stress. Nil outdoor access and commonly fed a grain based diet, resulting in the poorest nutrient profile.

The bottom line
Eggs are a nutrient dense, highly bio-available whole food. They’re relatively cheap, easy to prepare and can be combined with almost any other food.

Eat them often. Several studies have shown that eating three eggs per day is perfectly healthy. Is there an upper limit? There is no evidence to suggest that eating more is harmful to your health. It just hasn’t been studied enough.

In general, eggs are one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods you can eat. They are one of nature’s most complete foods.

Why you should be eating Garlic

 

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Garlic is native to the Mediterranean and Syria, although it is Central Asia where it is grows most abundantly today. Writings from Babylonia, China and India have indicated that garlic was well-known as a superfood in ancient times.

It has always been known as a medicinal plant. Ancient Greeks and Romans believed that it conferred protection and strength, and throughout the Middle Ages it was widely used as a medicine in Europe and Asia.

Throughout history, garlic has also been surrounded by many superstitions, most likely due to its odiferous nature. It is best known for the protection against vampires, and many years prior to that belief, midwives in ancient Greece would string garlic around the necks of newborns for protection against evil spirits.

Why it’s a superfood?

  • High in manganese;
  • Good source of vitamins B6 and C;
  • Contains numerous phytochemicals.

Healthy evidence
Garlic contains several important phytochemicals, including thiosulfinate allicin, and S-allycysteine, which act as antioxidants and have other functions that help fight disease.

This 2001 study found that daily garlic supplementation reduced the number of colds by approximately 65% when compared to placebo. The average length of the cold symptoms was also reduced by 70%, from five days in the placebo group to just one and a half in the garlic group.

Several studies have also found that garlic supplementation can have a significant impact in reducing blood pressure in people suffering from high blood pressure.

This study found that between 600 mg and 1,500 mg of aged garlic extract was just as effective as the drug Atenolol at reducing blood pressure over a six month period.

The amount required to achieve the desired benefits are equivalent to about four or five cloves of garlic per day.

Making the most of Garlic
The key to making the most of garlic is consistently and variety. Use it often, in a variety of dishes to receive all of the benefits. When roasting, cut cloves into slices to release the phytochemicals.

Why you should be eating Swiss Chard

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Particularly popular among Mediterranean cultures, Swiss Chard or Silverbeet is actually a member of the spinach family. It is however, more substantial and much greater in nutritional value than regular spinach. Generally inexpensive at the grocer, it makes an excellent bang for you buck.

Why it’s a superfood?

  • High in vitamins A, C, E and K, fiber, magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron and antioxidants;
  • Good source of calcium and copper.

Healthy evidence
The high levels of antioxidants, found in Swiss Chard, have been shown to prevent cardiovascular diseases and some cancers. Several studies have reported that higher dietary intakes of potassium lowered the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Making the most of Swiss Chard
Swiss Chard packs a lot of nutritional density for bone health. A single serving provides approximately seven times the daily value for vitamin K.

The best way to retain the nutrient density is to sauté. Stems will take slightly longer to cook, so allow extra time and cook with a tablespoon of olive or coconut oil and some chopped onion. Once the stems are tender, add the leaves and cover until the leaves are also tender. To enhance iron absorption, add some acidic juice to finish, like lemon.

Why you should be eating broccoli

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Vegetables have an impressive way of offering a widespread benefits to your health. Broccoli is no exception. When you’re eating broccoli, you’re getting dozen, maybe even hundreds, of super-nutrients that support optimal health and performance.

Why it’s a superfood?

  • High in Vitamins A, C and K, along with fiber and folate;
  • Good source of magnesium, manganese, potassium, sulforaphane, quercetin and other antioxidants.

Healthy evidence

Broccoli contains phytochemicals. It is high is the flavonoid quercetin and in sulforaphane, both protect the body against cancer. Potassium and folate also help prevent cardiovascular disease. Other antioxidants provide anti-bactierial and anti-viral activity.

Here is a short list of some of the science backed health benefits of broccoli:

  • Arthritis;
  • Cancer;
  • Blood pressure and kidney disease;
  • Anti-aging and immune system health;
  • Heart health, especially for diabetics.

Making the most of Broccoli

Broccoli’s phytochemicals and heat sensitive nutrients such as folate are best retained by either not cooking, steaming or lightly sauteing.

Boiling Broccoli reduces the level of active anti-carcinogenic compounds, with losses of approx 20% after 5 min and 40% after 10 min.

Another way to enjoy the many health benefits of broccoli is by eating its sprouts. Fresh broccoli sprouts  are FAR more potent nutrient dense than mature broccoli. They have about 50 times the amount of cancer fighting power of mature broccoli. This means more bang for buck.

Broccoli sprouts can be grown at home quite easily. They don’t have to be cooked and can be added to salads.

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