There is burgeoning research showing that co-consuming cooked whole eggs with your veggies can increase carotenoids absorption. With the recent scientific report from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee lessening past concern over cholesterol in eggs, this is particularly good news.
"Americans under consume vegetables, and here we have a way to increase the nutritive value of veggies while also receiving the nutritional benefits of egg yolks," said Wayne Campbell, Ph.D., Professor of Nutrition Science, Purdue University.
Campbell, working with postdoc fellow Jung Eun Kim, Ph.D., R.D., conducted a study to assess the effects of egg consumption on carotenoid absorption from a raw mixed-vegetable salad. Sixteen healthy young men ate three versions of the salad – one with no egg, one with 1.5 scrambled whole eggs, and another with 3 scrambled whole eggs. Those who ate the highest egg amount with the salad of tomatoes, shredded carrots, baby spinach, romaine lettuce, and Chinese wolfberry increased absorption of carotenoids 3-9 fold. This is a very significant effect, said Campbell. The carotenoids found in the salad include beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, the latter two being found in egg yolk as well.
The research grew out of his group's previous study showing that by adding certain oils to mixed raw vegetables, the consumer experienced enhanced absorption of carotenoids.
"Next time you visit a salad bar, consider adding the cooked egg to your raw veggies," said Campbell. "Not only are lutein and zeaxanthin available through whole eggs, but now the value of the vegetables is enhanced."
The research findings will be presented at the American Society for Nutrition's Annual Meeting during Experimental Biology 2015. Campbell believes the beneficial effects seen in this college-age population will extend to all populations and ages. His group would like to expand their research to explore the effects on other fat-soluble nutrients including vitamin E and vitamin D.