Egg Nutrients from A to Zinc
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Sweet Peas, Pods & Papas: All About Birth, B@@bs & Babies

Egg Nutrients from A to Zinc

Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse.  They get some bad press now and then (and I know our acupuncturist doesn’t care for them), however, as a tool for good nutrition in pregnancy, they can do a lot of good over the 40ish weeks a mom is building a new human being.   

The Brewer Diet teaches that a mother should eat two eggs a day as part of a high protein, whole food diet. *gasp* TWO EGGS A DAY!      

Yes – because pregnancy is a unique time in a woman’s life when the whole food she eats is being put to use immediately and for the unique purpose of growing a new person.  In his video, “Nutrition in Pregnancy”, Dr. Brewer says that we are not talking about eating two eggs a day for the rest of your life – his recommendation is simply for the length of pregnancy.   

This post is an expansion of a handout from a Bradley Method® that we provide to our students.  I want to present this information for a couple of reasons: 

  1. Convince you to try to at least try to eat eggs during pregnancy.  Two eggs a day sounds like a lot to some people, especially when you do not like the flavor, texture or smell.  By looking at some of the 20 nutritional components and the benefits they provide to you and baby, I hope you will be inspired to at least try working them into your diet.
  2. For the mamas with egg allergies.  Although you won’t be able to simply eat two eggs like some of us can, I have listed alternative foods after each nutritional component so that your body is getting the benefit from a different source.

Why eggs are so important for you and your growing baby: 

  • Eggs are a good source of the highest quality protein, which helps to support fetal growth. 
  • Eggs also have B vitamins that are important for normal development of nerve tissue and can help reduce the risk of serious birth defects that affect the baby's brain and spinal cord development. 
  • The type of iron in eggs (a healthy mixture of heme and non-heme iron) is particularly well-absorbed, making eggs a good choice for pregnant and breastfeeding women who are at higher risk for anemia. 
  • Eggs are an excellent source of choline, a little-known but essential nutrient that contributes to fetal brain development and helps prevent birth defects. The National Academy of Sciences recommends that pregnant women consume 450 milligrams of choline per day and that breastfeeding women consume 550 milligrams per day.  Eating two eggs a day gets you halfway there! 
  • Eggs are a source of antioxidants.  Antioxidants reduce harmful free radicals in various parts of the body. Free radicals (bad guys!) play a role in a variety of diseases: macular degeneration, cancer and heart disease 
  • The yolk includes healthy monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats and almost half of the high-quality protein found in eggs    

In this section, you can find the nutritional components found in an egg, plus some alternative sources for that particular nutrient if you need some ideas.

Vitamin A is necessary for the growth and repair of body tissues.  It is important for eye health.  Anti-infection vitamin: it fights bacteria and infection.  In addition, it aids in teeth and bone formation.
Alternatives: liver, milk, carrots, green and yellow vegetables, broccoli, potatoes, pumpkin, yellow and orange fruits

B vitamins in general are important for making blood, for keeping your immune system strong and for helping your body use energy.
Thiamin (B1): aids in the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose, required for breakdown of fats and protein, maintain the muscle tone along the wall of the digestive tract and promote the health of the nervous system, skin, hair, eyes, mouth, and liver, improves the body to withstand stress 
Alternatives: Whole grain, fortified cereals, wheat germ, organ meats, eggs, rice, pasta, berries, nuts, beans, pork

Riboflavin (B2): bone, muscle & nerve development.  It is an essential vitamin that helps your body produce energy. B2 promotes growth, good vision, and healthy skin, and it's important for your baby's bone, muscle, and nerve development. Riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin, which means your body doesn't store it – you'll need to get enough each day.  There's some evidence that women who don't get enough riboflavin may be at greater risk for preeclampsia.
Alternatives: dairy products, meats, poultry, fish, fortified cereals

Niacin (B3): brain development.  Niacin - too much in first tri-mester may lead to birth defects, cannot overdose by eating it - the danger is in supplements
Alternatives: meats, fish, milk, poultry, peanuts

Pantothenic Acid (B5): “...helps to form red blood cells, nuerotransmitters, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, antibodies, lipids and more,” benefits HERE  Alternatives: Eggs, liver, salmon, yeast

Pyridoxine (B6): helps carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism.  Aids antibody formation.  Helps maintain balance of sodium and phosphorus. 
Alternatives: chicken, liver, pork, whole grains, vegetables, nuts

Biotin (B7): metabolic function: processes nearly every type of food that you ingest, including carbohydrates, protein and fat
Alternatives: Liver, mushrooms, peanuts, egg yolk 

Cobalamin (B12): “plays a vital role in normal brain and nervous system functioning, as well as the formation of red blood cells.” More HERE 
Alternatives: Liver, milk, eggs, fish, cheese, meat

Vitamin D: contributes to bone strength by encouraging the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous
Alternatives: Milk, fatty fish, egg yolks, sunshine

Calcium:  important for the development of strong bones and teeth.  Assists normal blood clotting, muscle action, nerve function, and heart function.
Alternatives: Yogurt, milk, cheese, dark green leafy vegetables, canned fish with bones, fortified juices  

Cholesterol: it is a prime supplier of life-essential adrenal steroid hormones, such as cortisone, and sex hormones.  Aids in the metabolism of carbohyrates. 
Alternatives rich in omega-3 fatty acid: chia seeds, flax seeds, broccoli, spinach, kale, spring greens, cabbage, parsley, Brussels sprouts, walnuts   
Choline: for fetal brain development.  The National Academy of Sciences recommends increased choline intake for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Two eggs - including the yolks - contain about 250 milligrams of choline, or roughly half the recommended daily amount.
Alternatives: chicken, turkey, scallops, shrimp, grass-fed beef, sardines, collard greens, swiss chard, cauliflower

Folic Acid/Folate: is important in hemoglobin, formation of red blood cells and proper brain function.  Essential for the growth and reproduction of all body cells.  Helps produce and maintain all new body cells
Alternatives: liver, mushrooms, green leafy vegetables, spinach, broccoli, orange juice, whole wheat bread, beans

Iron: is an important mineral because it helps existing and new cells grow, helps blood carry oxygen through the body, helps strengthen muscles 
Alternatives: liver, seafood, lean meat, poultry, cereal, dried beans, egg yolks

Lutein and Zeaxanthin: these are antioxidants.  The macular pigment of the eye is rich in carotenoids, primarily lutein and zeaxanthin. In fact, macular pigment is mostly lutein and zeaxanthin, two substances that act as antioxidants. By increasing dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin, one may minimize the risk of developing Age Related Macular Degeneration. It seems that adding these specific nutrients to your meals may not only sidestep macular damage by free radicals, but they also strengthen macular tissue
Alternatives: kale, spinach, turnip greens, collard greens, romaine lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, corn, green peas, Brussels sprouts 

Magnesium: builds strong bones & teeth, regulates insulin & blood sugar, enzyme function.  Although eggs are not a significant source of magnesium, every little bit counts towards your healthy mom, healthy baby outcome!
Alternatives: spinach, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, brazil nuts, brown rice, artichokes, dates, wild salmon

Potassium: aids in the fluid and electrolyte balance of your body's cells.  Potassium is also important in sending nerve impulses, helping your muscles contract, and releasing energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
Alternatives: white beans, dark leafy greens, baked potato with skin, dried apricots, baked acorn squash, yogurt, fish, avocados, white mushrooms, bananas

Sodium: regulate fluids, maintains the acid-base balance of blood, and helps nutrients cross cell membranes.  HERE is a link instead of a list for this one because I am going to make a suggestion instead.  The most common source of sodium is salt.  I encourage you to find foods that have aluminum-free salt.  Instead of eating salty junk foods that are not part of a whole food diet, find a good table salt that you can use in your cooking and salting your food to taste.  Did you know salt is a yes?   

Zinc: promotes cell reproduction, tissue growth and repair. 
Alternatives: red meats, poultry, fish, beans, nuts, whole grains, oysters, dairy   

Maybe you are convinced…so now what else can you do with eggs besides scramble, fry or boil them? 
  • Omelet: you can add any of the alternative vegetables listed above and boost your intake of essential vitamins and minerals.  Skip, or skimp on the cheese, especially if you are going to add in leafy greens – dairy inhibits iron absorption. 
  • Hide: Eggs can be used to make French toast, or use them in your pancakes.  You can up your potassium by making a banana pancake recipe – yum! 
  • Bake: Our students with a sweet tooth add an extra egg or two to the recipes they are making.  While it makes the end result a little denser, it doesn’t change the flavor – bake away!! 
  • Quiches: they are surprisingly easy to make, and again, you can add in just about any ingredient to make a yummy meal that yields leftovers for another meal or two. 
  • Salad: Easy to crumble boiled eggs on top of any salad, or even make an egg salad to eat with lettuce wraps or as a sandwich filling.    

I hope you are inspired to add some eggs to your diet, starting today.  

What is your favorite way to add eggs into your daily fare?

More about the B2 (riboflavin) and pre-eclampsia connection

More about Vitamin B5

More about Vitamin B12

More about magnesium 

Read more about cholesterol 

Top 10 lists of Vitamin and Mineral Sources     

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

1 Comment to Egg Nutrients from A to Zinc :

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nutrition for breastfeeding on Monday, March 4, 2013 2:29 AM
What an amazing blog on pregnancy.Thank you for sharing this information with us.
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