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National Restaurant Association - Ask the Nutritionist: Keep eggs in your diet beyond Easter

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Ask the Nutritionist: Keep eggs in your diet beyond Easter

The National Restaurant Association’s Director of Nutrition & Healthy Living Joy Dubost, Ph.D., R.D., provides regular commentary on the NRA News blog. In this post, she's sharing useful information about eggs beyond the Easter holiday.

Now that the Easter holiday is over you may have a few extra eggs in your refrigerator, or eggs that your family colored still sitting around. With regards to food safety, hard-cooked eggs should be refrigerated within two hours of cooking and used within one week. If eggs were kept out of refrigeration for more than two hours as part of your Easter decorations, they should be discarded.

Given the recent emphasis on Easter baskets and colored eggs, I thought it might be a good time to talk about the nutritional value of eggs. More than 40 years of research has shown that healthy adults can eat eggs without significantly affecting their risk for heart disease.

We were advised to restrict our intake of eggs due to their cholesterol content, though recent studies show eggs have less cholesterol than ever before. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently assessed the nutrients of eggs which indicates  the amount of cholesterol in a Grade A, large egg is 185 mg, 14% lower than previously recorded. Scientists suspect this is due to the improvement in the feed given to hens. Also it is important to keep in mind that studies show saturated fat and trans fat have much more of an impact on raising blood cholesterol levels than dietary cholesterol. Eggs are unique in that most of the fat is unsaturated, with 1.5 grams of saturated fat being provided in a large egg. In general, the evidence indicates that consumption of one egg per day is fine and does not result in significant changes in cholesterol levels.

Overall, eggs are nutrient rich and a good source of high quality protein. Eggs provide 13 vitamins and minerals for as little as 70 calories per large egg! The egg yolk contains almost half the amount of protein and the majority of the other nutrients. Remember to accompany your egg with fresh fruit, vegetable, low fat dairy and/or whole grains for a well balanced, complete meal.

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