Facts You Probably Didn't Know About One of America's Most-Loved Food – Eggs!

Jan 18, 2016 09:57 PM EST | By Beverly Abad

Americans love their eggs.

And in a good way, of course.  It was estimated the US egg industry had over 280 million egg laying hens, not including the backyard hens, as of October 2015. Each hen produces around 250 to 300 eggs a year. Multiply that with the total number of egg laying hens, and the US gets a staggering 75 billion eggs a year.

Dubbed as the "perfect whole food", eggs are a great source of protein, fats, and vitamins. But as much as you love your eggs for all they're worth, there is a number of surprising things you are yet to find out about this staple breakfast food. Read on to know more!

1.       Should you wash your eggs? 

Many Americans do. In fact, the USDA began requiring egg producers in the US to start machine-washing their eggs in 1970. But in other parts of the world, like some European countries, egg-washing is actually banned. Jill Winger, blogger from The Prairie Homestead, says, "Some people aren't quite so, shall we say, accepting. And sometimes when you give people a carton of chicken eggs to take home that have bits of shavings and feathers stuck to them, it kinda grosses them out."

"But no big deal, just give the eggs a good scrubbing and send them out the door. Right? Wrong," she adds. According to MyPetChicken.com, "When your hens lay eggs, there is a natural coating that is laid on top called the "bloom" that helps keep out bacteria. When you wash eggs, you drive some bacteria in through the pores of the shell, so it's a bad idea to do so as a general practice."

If you really need to clean them, Winger advises to do so with sandpaper (to keep the egg dry, thus preventing the "vacuum" effect) or warm/ hot water (about 20 degrees hotter than the egg itself). Using bleach or dish soap may be considered if you are running a commercial egg business.

2.       Salmonella: Should you be worried?

Aside from egg washing, this is perhaps the most asked question when it comes to eggs: "Should I keep them in the fridge?" This question usually arises out of concern for salmonella.

As mentioned, USDA requires commercial egg operations to have their produce washed, and as a result, the natural protective layer of the egg is removed. That layer prevents contamination through the tiny pores of the egg. So, after a factory egg is washed, it is then coated with a thin layer of oil to offer some protection from contaminants and drying out.

Rule of thumb? You can keep home-harvested eggs out of refrigeration for short periods of time as long as you do not wash off its protective coating. For store-bought eggs, it is best to keep them in the fridge.

3.       Eggs are one of the healthiest foods on the planet 

This one is no secret.  They are a good source of high quality and inexpensive protein. The egg whites contain huge amounts of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper. On the other hand, egg yolks contain cholesterol, fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and lecithin. Concerned about the cholesterol? British Research shows that a medium egg contains about 100mg of cholesterol, a third of the 300mg recommended daily limit. Epoch Times explains, "The key is to eat the right fats, in moderation. Fats support healthy hormones, promote skin regeneration, reduce sugar cravings, keep you fuller for longer, burn (yes, I said burn) body fat, support brain health, boost energy levels and metabolism, protect your immune system, and optimize your health."

It is best, however, to consult with your doctor if you are unsure whether it's safe for you to consume eggs.

4.       Eggs boost weight loss 

This may come as a surprise for people who think that eggs are fattening. Again, they're not. In fact, a study carried out by the Rochester Center for Obesity Research found that eating eggs for breakfast helps limit your calorie intake all day, by more than 400 calories. That equates to losing about 3 or more pounds each month. This is most likely because eggs keep you full for longer periods of time, which means you're probably not going to have those mid-day cravings. Plus, a medium-sized egg contains just 70 to 85 calories.

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