SOURCE: The American Egg Board
Released in late December 2020, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans has explicitly urged expectant and breastfeeding moms to include eggs in their diets, as well as in the diet of infants and toddlers. Particularly to support a baby’s healthy brain development at a time when the brain undergoes the most rapid development. While eggs provide several vital nutrients at a time when excellent nutrition is essential in a growing baby, choline has been singled out due to the benefit it has on brain development and its high natural content in eggs. Emily Metz, CEO and president of the American Egg Board (AEB) had this to say about the newly released Guidelines: “The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans confirm what the science has shown: eggs provide critical nutritional support for brain health, and they play a crucial role in infant development and prenatal health. With 90% of brain growth happening before kindergarten, eggs help make every bite count, especially when babies are just being introduced to solid foods.”
If you’re looking for an ingredient packed with choline, eggs are one of the most concentrated sources of choline; one large egg satisfies the daily choline requirement for babies and toddlers and two large eggs satisfy more than half of the daily choline requirement for pregnant moms. Contrary to common beliefs, the Guidelines also recommend that eggs are introduced as a first food to attempt to reduce the risk of developing an egg allergy.
Dr. Mickey Rubin, executive director of the AEB’s Egg Nutrition Centre had this to add: “As a nutrition scientist and a dad, I know this is important news for parents. Choline is a nutrient under-consumed by all Americans, and the Guidelines recommend eggs as a notable source of choline to support brain health and development during pregnancy. Additionally, establishing healthy eating patterns from the start ensures children’s growing bodies and brains get the nutrition they need. Eggs are a fundamental food in these early years because they provide a unique nutrient package.”
The Guidelines also confirmed that the level of nourishment provided by the egg, despite its small size, can benefit those of all ages in varying ways. A few of those benefits include:
- High-quality protein and choline levels: Including eggs in the diet of pre-teens and adolescents, girls in particular, has been encouraged in the newly released Guidelines due to the importance of these nutrients at this stage of life.
- High-quality protein: The egg ranks in the top four ingredients providing high-quality protein and, among other things, helps to maintain and repair muscle and supports good bone health.
- Vitamin B12: Seniors are at risk for insufficient protein and vitamin B12 in their diets; eggs are a good source of these and should be included in the diet.
- Naturally occurring Vitamin D: Vitamin D is in short supply in most diets, so the inclusion of eggs for any age group is recommended to naturally boost Vitamin D levels in the body, with the egg supplying 6% of the daily recommendation.
For more information on how eggs can benefit your family, whatever their age and stage, and for family-friendly recipes and advice on how to introduce eggs as a first food, visit EggNutritionCenter.org.