Whether you scramble them, fry them or bake them in a quiche, eggs are an all-natural food with a laundry list of health benefits. Eggs remain a healthy choice even for those concerned about their cholesterol levels.
Inflammation– Eggs are a rich source of the B vitamin choline. In addition to helping your body produce new cell membranes and healthy nerves, choline can reduce chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation occurs when your body’s natural healing process goes haywire. Instead of healing, inflammation wreaks havoc on your body –increasing the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Protein– Getting enough protein is essential for health. Dietary protein builds muscle, boosts the immune system and allows for healthy skin and nails. However, not all protein is created equal. Certain sources of protein are highly utilized by the body while others are not.
Weight Loss- Trading in your morning breakfast of cereal and a bagel in favor of eggs can accelerate weight loss. In a study published in the October 2008 issue of “International Journal of Obesity,” 150 men and women dieters were assigned a breakfast either with or without eggs. The group that started their day off with two eggs lost 65 percent more weight than the non-egg eating group. The researchers hypothesize that the protein in the eggs helped curb the dieters’ appetites throughout the day.
Degeneration- Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. Eggs are bursting with a pair of nutrients — lutein and zeaxanthin — which protect your eyes from damage caused by free radicals and sunlight exposure. In a study conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and published in the October 2006 issue of the “Journal of Nutrition,” subjects who consumed just one egg per day significantly boosted the levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in their blood.
A flavorful addition to many dishes, the versatile onion is low in calories and provides healthy phytochemicals, flavonoids, sulfur compounds and heart-healthy allicin. Onions rank sixth among the world’s leading vegetable crops; approximately 7 percent grown are red onions. Red onions have a sweet mild flavor and can be added to stews, soups, cooked vegetables or sauces.
Mushrooms are big favorites of mine, but if you’re just starting to learn about their medicinal properties, I don’t blame you for being confused about which ones are, or aren’t, good for you. Mushrooms have been used for thousands of years both as food and for medicinal purposes. They are often classified as a vegetable or a herb, but they are actually fungi. Today, mushrooms are enjoyed for their flavor and texture. They can impart their own flavor to food or take on the flavor of other ingredients. Their flavor normally intensifies during cooking, and their texture holds up well to usual cooking methods, including stir-frying and sauteing. t was already known that mushrooms offer high-quality protein, vitamins, unsaturated fatty acids and fiber, but a precise carbohydrate breakdown had been elusive. Mushrooms are low in calories, high in fiber, and contain many important vitamins and minerals. Some also have medicinal properties such as complex carbohydrates that strengthen the immune system.
Why are edible mushrooms considered a healthy food? In terms of nutrition they contain:
- Protein – Most mushrooms have a high protein content, usually around 20-30% by dry weight. This can be useful for vegetarians or anyone looking to increase the protein content in their diet.
- Fiber – Helps lower cholesterol and is important for the digestive system.
- Niacin and other important B vitamins – As certain B vitamins are found in animal tissue but not plants, this can be another good supplement for vegetarians.
- Vitamin D – Essential for the absorption of calcium.
- Copper – Aids in helping the body absorb oxygen and create red blood cells.
- Selenium – An antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals, thus preventing cell damage and reducing the risk of cancer and other diseases. Mushrooms contain more selenium than any other form of produce.
- Potassium – An extremely important mineral that regulates blood pressure and keeps cells functioning properly. A large portobello mushroom is said to have more potassium than a banana.
- Other important minerals – Such as phosphorous, zinc, and magnesium.
- Low levels of fat, calories, and sodium
- No cholesterol
Yet the nutritional value of mushrooms can be measured in more ways than just strictly dietary. Further health benefits are gained from:
- Polysaccharides – Complex carbohydrates that stimulate the immune system.
- Enzyme inhibiting activity – Mushrooms can inhibit the production of certain enzymes such as aromatase, which the body uses to make estrogen. This could reduce the risk of breast cancer.
- Triterpenes – Steroid-like molecules that inhibit histamine release and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Not all types of mushrooms have the same levels of vitamins, minerals, and medicinal properties. Do a little research if you have special health needs or goals. Of course, don’t forget to take taste into account!