Upgrade the Value of Raw Vegetables With Eggs

by Sandy Todd Webster on Sep 11, 2015

Research

Some foods just work better as a team, especially when the pairing forms a synergy that boosts your health.

A study published online earlier this year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (May 27, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.111062) by Purdue University researchers showed that adding eggs to a salad with a variety of raw vegetables is an effective way to improve absorption of carotenoids, fat-soluble nutrients that reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Eating a salad with a variety of colorful vegetables provides several types of carotenoids, including beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene, explains Wayne Campbell, a professor of nutrition science. "The lipid contained in whole eggs enhances the absorption of all these carotenoids."

In the study, 16 participants consumed a raw mixed-vegetable salad with no eggs, a salad with 1.5 eggs, and a salad with three eggs at different times. All salads were served with 3 grams of canola oil. The second salad had 75 g of scrambled whole eggs and the third had 150 g of scrambled whole eggs. Carotenoid absorption was 3.8-fold higher when the salad included three eggs versus none. The study used scrambled eggs to make sure participants consumed both the yolk and the egg whites.

"While other egg forms were not tested, we believe the results would be comparable as long as the egg yolk is consumed," said Campbell, whose research has also looked at salads with different amounts of soybean oil, canola oil and butter. "The lipids in salad dressings also increase the absorption of carotenoids but it is easy to overuse salad dressings and consume excess calories. Many salad dressings contain about 140-160 calories per serving, about two tablespoons. One large whole egg is about 70 calories and provides 6 grams of protein. People are at a greater risk of putting too many calories on a salad because they don't always know proper portion sizes for salad dressings, but you do know the portion size of an egg."

The American Egg Board-Egg Nutrition Center, the National Institutes of Health and the Purdue Ingestive Behavior Research Center funded the research.

PHOTOGRAPHY: yosoynuts

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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.