Working out is essentially the process of breaking down your muscle tissue and then letting it repair so it becomes thicker and stronger. The time in which your body is repairing is known as the anabolic state, and it begins immediately after working out. Anabolism requires nutrients, however, which is why it's important that you eat nutritious food after a good workout. Eggs are a good post-workout food because they are highly nutritious and have protein. Whether you eat them fried, scrambled, boiled or mix them into a shake, they are loaded with good stuff for your body.
Eggs are an excellent source of high-quality protein. One egg contains roughly 6 g of protein, which is about 10 to 13 percent of the daily recommended value for adults. Eggs are a complete protein, meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids your body needs. Amino acids are the raw materials used to make muscle tissue, and they help repair damaged tissues and aid recovery. According to WebMD, eggs have the highest biological value for protein next to milk.
Bounty of Vitamins and Minerals
Eggs are often called the perfect food because of the high value of their protein and because of the vitamins and minerals they contain. While many people focus on protein and carbs when it comes to replenishing and repairing the body, vitamins and minerals play just as important as a role. Eggs, especially the yolks, contain many important vitamins, including B-12, B-6 and A. Eggs also contain minerals your body needs for repair and tissue growth, such as magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc and copper.
High in Fat and Cholesterol
Whole eggs do not contain many calories but do contain a lot of fat and cholesterol. One whole egg has approximately 70 calories, 5 g of fat, and about half of your daily requirement of cholesterol. This can be a problem if you're trying to get most of your protein from eggs. For example, you have to consume five eggs to get about 25 to 30 g of protein, which means you would also be taking in about 25 g of fat and more than twice your recommended intake of cholesterol.
Post-Workout Egg Prep
Egg yolks contain most of the vitamins and minerals, but also lots of fat and cholesterol. Egg whites, on the other hand, contain about half the protein with virtually none of the fat or cholesterol. So, the best way to eat eggs after your workout is to mix five egg whites with one or two whole eggs. This way you are consuming approximately 21 g of protein and still getting all the good stuff in the yolk without going overboard on the fat and cholesterol.
To make a post-workout snack or meal that also contains carbohydrates, which are equally important for recovery, throw some veggies in your omelette and eat it with a piece of whole-grain toast or half of a sweet potato. Or, make a quick egg salad with whole eggs and egg whites, Greek yogurt, dijon mustard and spices. Serve it in a sandwich with whole-grain bread, lettuce and tomatoes.
- Georgia State University: Essential Amino Acids
- FDA: Protein
- WebMD: Good Eggs: For Nutrition, They're Hard to Beat
- Journal of Sports Science and Medicine: Protein – Which is Best?
- Medical Xpress: Athletes recover more quickly with carbohydrates
- USDA: Basic Report: 01123, Egg, whole, raw, fresh
- Well-Plated: Healthy Egg Salad
- Straight Health: What's the difference between a catabolic and anabolic state?