Eggs are one of the prototypically awesome Paleo foods that everyone loves as a cheap source of protein and breakfast (assuming they’re lucky enough to tolerate them!). When we think of eggs, we’re generally referring to chicken eggs, but females from many species (like even reptiles) lay eggs, and humans have been eating these eggs as an awesome source of nutrition for many thousands of years. Though eggs were harvested and consumed dating back to the prehistoric era, the chicken was formally domesticated for consumption and egg production in Southeast Asia and India before 7500 BCE!
Many of us on the autoimmune protocol aren’t lucky enough to be able to tolerate eggs. The main reason for this is the enzyme content in the egg white; the enzyme essentially causes an irritation in the gut that can be incredibly immune-stimulating, especially if you have an autoimmune disease.
For those of you who can eat eggs, there is so much nutritional value that you can glean from them! For 100g of egg you consume, you’re getting 10.6g of saturated fat and 12.6g of protein. Since eggs are a complete protein, there is some of each essential amino acid (and then some – there are 18 different amino acids in egg protein). Eggs, specifically egg yolks, are also incredibly micronutrient-dense; they are an excellent source of vitamins A, B2, B5, B12, D, and choline; as well as phosphorus and zinc. There is also an appreciable amount of cholesterol, which has historically been a source of controversy, but dietary cholesterol isn’t actually linked with serum cholesterol (so everybody chill, okay?!). In fact, taking in cholesterol helps to relieve the liver of its need to do so for our cellular membranes.
The very best eggs are those from local farms that do not supplement the chickens’ diet; chickens are grazers and should feed on insects (so think about it next time you see an egg carton with the phrase “vegetarian diet” on it!!). Your best bet for a really good source of eggs would be your local farmer’s market or even a good friend with backyard chickens! If not, look for local, organic eggs at your grocery store.
Citations: Hashida S, et al. Concentration of egg white lysozyme in the serum of healthy subjects after oral administration. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2002. 29(1-2):79-83.