Egg Nutrients can help Boost Immunity
Did you know that eggs can help boost your immune system? With 13 vitamins and minerals and the highest quality protein of any food, eggs can help keep you healthy and fight colds and flu! In total, Americans suffer from an estimated 1 billion colds each year, and children miss 22 million school days because of it1. While there is no cure for the common cold, getting a wider variety of immune-boosting nutrients may be one simple way to reduce the risk. Add these nutrients – including several found in eggs – to your diet to enhance immunity and promote good health during cold and flu season:
• Selenium: Selenium works with vitamin E to function as an antioxidant. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are currently looking into the role that selenium plays in decreasing vulnerability to the influenza virus2. Eggs are a rich source of selenium: two eggs provide more than half (56 percent) of the recommended daily intake.
• Vitamin A: Vitamin A is necessary for maintaining the body´s immune functions and decreasing susceptibility to infections. It is also found in egg yolks: one egg has 244 International Units (IU) of vitamin A, or 5 percent of the recommended daily intake.
• High-Quality Protein: Protein plays a key role in building the antibodies needed to fight infection, as well as building and repairing body tissues. Impressively, eggs contain the highest quality protein of any food! One egg has six grams of protein, or 13 percent of the recommended daily intake.
• Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 works with folate to build red blood cells, helping the body stay healthy. Eggs provide 11 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B12.
• Zinc: Decades of research have shown that zinc plays an important role in reducing both the duration and severity of common cold symptoms. Eggs have 0.6 mg of zinc, which is 4 percent of the daily recommended intake.
Bridget Swinney, a registered dietitian and author of three books including Healthy Food for Healthy Kids: The Practical and Tasty Guide to Child Nutrition, agrees that eating nutrient-rich foods is important during the winter months. “I encourage parents to feed their family foods with nutrients that offer extra protection during the cold and flu season. Those foods will help children stay healthy and fight off germs,” says Swinney.
Swinney provides these additional tips for fighting off the cold and flu. When eating eggs, don´t skip the yolk! The yolk contains nearly half of the high-quality protein, as well as the majority of the other immune-boosting vitamins and minerals. For dinner, or any meal of the day, try a comforting nutrient-rich egg dish like quiche. Serve with orange juice or a kiwi, which are excellent sources of vitamin C, for an extra boost.
1. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “Common Cold.” 7 December 2007, http: // www3. niaid. nih. gov /healthscience /healthtopics /colds/ overview. htm
2. Zeizel SH. “Choline: needed for normal development of memory.” J Am Coll Nutr. 2000; Oct; 19(5 Suppl): 528S-531S.
Source: Iowa Egg Council press release