With only 75 calories, one large boiled egg packs in 6.29 g of protein. The average American needs between 50 to 65 g of protein per day. Weight-lifters and athletes may need slightly more. Eggs contain all essential amino acids, making them a complete protein.
Protein in the Body
Protein plays a vital role in the body, as it makes up part of every cell and organ. It works to build, repair and develop at the cellular level. Made up of a chain of amino acids, protein is considered to be complete if it contains all of the essential amino acids -- the amino acids your body can't produce on its own, and needs to get from your diet. Animal proteins, such as eggs, are complete proteins, whereas vegetable-based proteins must be combined to be complete. Because of its role in repairing muscle tissue, protein is essential to the athlete or fitness enthusiast.
Parts of the Egg
The eggshell is not typically eaten and does not contain significant amounts of protein. Egg whites have 3.64 g of protein, slightly more than the yolk, which has 2.63 g. Eat several boiled egg whites for a healthy serving of protein without the cholesterol and fat, which is found in the egg yolk.
When looking for quality eggs at the supermarket, pay attention to the label for Grade and Size. U.S. Grade AA and U.S. Grade A eggs have larger and firmer egg whites than U.S. Grade B eggs. Large or Extra-Large eggs will provide more substance for baking and may provide slightly more protein. You can boost the nutrient content even more by choosing eggs enhanced with omega-3 fatty acids.
Benefits of Eggs for Athletes
Eggs contain a good proportion of the amino acid, leucine, which is essential for the muscles' protein synthesis and glucose use. Experts speculate that the leucine in eggs benefits both endurance- and strength-training athletes. Eggs provide both protein and B vitamins responsible for energy production and muscle recovery.
Due to the high cholesterol content of eggs, it is recommended that you limit your weekly intake to four whole eggs per week. Americans as a whole get plenty of protein in their diets, so there is usually no need to increase overall intake. However, vegetarians need to carefully combine proteins to get all of the essential amino acids; eggs may be a good option to increase protein consumption. Too much protein can convert to body fat and lead to kidney problems. Safe handling is also crucial to avoid food-borne illnesses. You should always cook eggs before eating them. If boiling eggs, be sure that the egg white is firm and the yolk has at least thickened. Refrigerate after cooking if you do not eat them right away.
- Eat to Compete; "Protein"; Iowa State University: University Extension; 2007.
- "How to Buy EGGS"; The United States Department of Agriculture
- "Nutrition Today"; Egg Protein as a Source of Power, Strength, and Energy; Donald K. Layman, Ph.D. and Nancy R. Rodriguez, Ph.D
- Medline Plus; "Protein in Diet"; 2010