Egg nutrition facts include high-quality protein, as they are a nutritious and inexpensive meat substitute. Low in calories, they great when alone or used in a wide variety of recipes, such as sauces and baked goods.
This versatile food, once shunned for their high cholesterol content, can make up part of a healthy diet for most individuals. In addition to protein, eggs provide vitamins and minerals essential for optimal health.
One Egg Nutrition Facts
One egg is the equivalent, for protein, of 1 ounce of red meat. According to USDA FoodData Central, there are 72 calories in one large egg, 6.3 grams of protein, 4.8 grams of fat, 1.6 grams of saturated fat, 0.4 grams of carbohydrate, 71 milligrams of sodium and approximately 186 milligrams of cholesterol. Most of an egg's protein is in the white portion, while the fat and cholesterol is found in the egg yolk. The yolks also come packed with vitamins and minerals.
Egg Protein and Vitamins
Egg protein serves as a standard protein source. In fact, it's such a great source that it sets the standard to which other protein sources are compared. Egg-white protein is referred to as egg albumin and is often used by athletes and bodybuilders in powdered supplement form.
Eggs provide vitamin B2, or riboflavin, and vitamin B12, or cobalamin. One large egg provides 0.23 milligrams of riboflavin, meeting about 15 percent of the recommended daily value, as well as 0.5 micrograms of vitamin B12, or nearly 20 percent of the recommended daily value, according to the National Academies of Sciences.
Riboflavin, like other B vitamins, plays a role in energy metabolism, or breaking down the foods you eat into energy your cells can use. Vitamin B12, found almost solely in animal foods, helps you make genetic material, or DNA, as well as red blood cells. All of the B vitamins are important for promoting a healthy nervous system, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Support Eye Health
Egg yolks, according to the Iowa Egg Council, contain lutein and zeaxanthin — two types of antioxidants. The content of these antioxidants in an egg yolk varies and depends upon the hen's diet, but eating 12 eggs per week increases blood lutein and zeaxanthin levels significantly. These antioxidants promote eye health and those with increased blood levels experience lower rates of developing age-related macular degeneration.
Meet the Minerals
Eggs are a good food source of several essential trace minerals, selenium and iodine, according to the Egg Nutrition Center. One large egg provides 13.5 milligrams of selenium, meeting 25 percent of the recommended daily value and 28 micrograms of iodine, or 20 percent of the recommended daily value. Eggs also contain a small amount of iron, a mineral important for blood circulation.
Selenium helps prevent cells from damage, promotes immune system health and is necessary for regulating the thyroid hormone. Like selenium, iodine is important for proper thyroid function.