Eggs are one of the nutritious dense foods and are often called as the powerhouse. They are loaded with a number of nutrients and are an excellent source of protein. A lot of foods contain raw eggs and often times people do consume raw eggs. Homemade mayonnaise, ice-cream and ice-cream dressings and sometimes milk shakes contain raw eggs too.
Although raw eggs are as nutritious as cooked eggs, there are still some concerns due to the presence of salmonella sometimes in it. Salmonella virus can be very dangerous and life threatening if one gets the infection.
Let’s look at the possible concerns related to eating raw eggs.
1. Raw eggs are very nutritious:
Raw eggs are as nutritious as cooked eggs. They contain a number of nutrients that we need for good health. They contain essential vitamins, minerals, good fats and protein.
One whole egg about 50grams contains about:
3. Vitamin A
4. Vitamin B2
5. Vitamin B5
6. Vitamin B12
10. Choline is a very important nutrient, which is important for brain health and may protect against several heart problems. It also contains important antioxidants that are needed for the eyes. This comes with the total of 72 calories.
2. The protein is not well absorbed:
Eggs are loaded with protein. In fact the eggs contain the perfect ratio of the 9essential amino acids. The white of the egg is very concentrated in protein and so eggs are thought to be the perfect source of protein. But the protein in the raw eggs is not that well absorbed as cooked eggs. One study compared the absorption of protein from both cooked and raw eggs in 5 people. The study found that 90% of protein was absorbed in cooked eggs while only 50% was absorbed in raw eggs. In other words, the protein in cooked eggs is about 80% more digestible and well absorbed than in raw eggs. However, certain other nutrients absorption might be affected in cooked eggs, these include, vitamin A, potassium, phosphorus and vitamin B5.
3. Raw eggs block Biotins absorption:
Biotin is a water soluble B vitamin, which is involved in the production of glucose and fatty acid. It is also produced during pregnancy and has important functions in the body.
Egg yolks contain a decent amount of biotin but egg whites contain a compound called avidin, which binds to biotin in large intestine preventing its absorption. It is not an issue in cooked eggs, as heat destroys avidin. Still, raw eggs would not cause biotin deficiency; it would only happen if you consume raw eggs in large amounts every day.
4. The chances of bacterial infection are higher in raw eggs:
Eggs shells contain a bacteria called salmonella on it, although it is often found only on the egg shell. There are still chances of the salmonella present inside the egg. It can cause infection, which can be life threatening. Symptoms often appear within 6 to 48 hours and last upto 3 to 7 days.
Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps and other signs of food poisoning. Fortunately, there is a very low chance of getting an actual infection from an egg. In the US only 1 egg out of 30000 contains salmonella bacteria. It is because strict steps are taken during the production and processing of eggs. This includes pasteurizing the eggs, which makes it safe to eat them raw.
5. Certain populations are more susceptible of infections:
There are certain populations that are susceptible of getting a salmonella infections than the others from eating raw eggs, these include:
1. Young children and infants:
Children and infants are more likely to get salmonella infection due to their immature immune system.
2. Pregnant women: pregnant women can get salmonella infections and can get ramping in the uterus leading to premature or still birth.
3. Elderly people: elderly people above the age of 65 can get infections from eating raw eggs so they should avoid eating them uncooked.
5. Certain people with chronic diseases or those with compromised immune system like AIDS, HIV, Malignant tumors and diabetes should stay away from raw eggs.
When buying eggs you can reduce the risk of infection by buying the pasteurized eggs, throwing away cracked or dirty egg shells, keeping eggs clean and wash them and putting them in a fridge.
Eating pasteurized eggs raw is somewhat safe, but eating them cooked is the best way to avoid any possible infections and getting all the nutrition you need.
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