Here are more Grade-A reasons to shop your local farms for eggs:
Vision: Eating just one egg a day significantly boosts levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in your blood. These protect your eyes from free radicals and UV exposure, which may lower your risk of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Immune system: A large egg gives you 15.3 micrograms of the 55 mcg of selenium that your body requires a day. Selenium boosts immune function, helps prevent skin infections and, according to the National Institutes of Health, may decrease your risk of skin cancer.
Skin: Eggs are filled with vitamin A and copper, and both help with tissue regeneration. Vitamin A prevents acne, and copper boosts the production of elastin, which keeps skin strong and healthy.
Inflammation: The choline in eggs can reduce inflammation, linked to heart disease and cancer, by more than 20 percent by helping produce new cell membranes and improving neural connections, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Muscle growth: Eggs have a high concentration of leucine, an amino acid that helps turn the protein in your meals into strong, lean muscles.
Hair: Eating eggs can help keep your mane healthy because it has vitamin D (prevents hair loss), vitamin A (scalp health), biotin (improves hair thickness) and B vitamins (prevents graying).
Brain function: Egg yolks are the richest source of choline (113 mg) and only 10 percent of us get enough choline. According to studies at Tufts University, choline and lecithin in eggs help regulate brain activity, the nervous system and cardiovascular health by maintaining the integrity of brain cell membranes. The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids also have been shown to help memory, enhance mood and ward off cognitive disease.
Folic acid: This B vitamin is critically important for health and is more likely to be deficient if you are deficient in choline.
Weight loss: Replace the carbs at breakfast with eggs and lose more weight. The protein in eggs will give you energy and keep your belly satisfied longer. Eggs' satiety index is 50 percent higher than that of most cereals.
Heart health: Studies show that eggs do not significantly affect cholesterol levels in most individuals.
Nutrition profile: Eggs are also a good source of iodine, vitamin B2, phosphorus, vitamin B5, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.
So enjoy healthfully prepared eggs and make them part of your regular diet. Registered dietitian Desiree Nielsen says, "We always have to take care in demonizing any one food, especially when it is a natural and unprocessed food. Eggs scrambled with plenty of vegetables and served with a single piece of sprouted grain toast is a dramatically different meal than greasy fried eggs served with giant slices of ham, hash browns and white toast. One meal has plenty of nutrition; the other is fiber-poor, drowning in salt and fat."
Cindy Boggs, fitness presenter, author and Activate America director, has been an ACE-certified instructor/trainer since 1989. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to her at YMCA of Kanawha Valley, 100 YMCA Drive, Charleston, WV 25311, or email cindys...@aol.com.