You know and love them (or maybe you don’t)…eggs! Eggs are a unique food group in that they offer a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals that play a role in growth and development as part of their nutritional profile. Think about it—the yolk of the egg is used to nurture the baby bird as it matures before hatching—it can provide us with the same nutritional benefits! Eggs contain a variety of micronutrients including Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin B9 (folate), Vitamin B7 (biotin), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and many others.
The micronutrient under the microscope for this food is choline. Choline is an essential nutrient (essential meaning that it cannot be synthesized by the body and must be consumed) and plays a role in many cellular and metabolic processes. Choline is the precursor molecule for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh). Those who have any physiology background know how important this neurotransmitter is in a large percentage of excitatory and inhibitory nervous system activity. It is the chief neurotransmitter of the parasympathetic nervous system, meaning that it governs the regulation of most unconscious bodily functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, waste excretion, and much more. Acetylecholine also plays a role in memory, arousal, learning, muscle contraction, circadian rhythm (our sleep-wake cycle, which has bounds of effects on our health!), and neuroplasticity (the way in which we grow and adapt to learn any new skill, physical or cognitive).
Choline also plays a role in cell membrane structure and integrity, seeing as it is a component of the class of phospholipids called “phosphotidylcholines”. Choline is also needed for the transport of other lipids to and from the liver and throughout the body for proper fat metabolism and storage.
The opinion on eggs may may be split down the middle amongst the population, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still find foods that provide a good source of choline! Plant-based options include shiitake mushrooms, soybeans, tofu, and legumes.
FRIED EGGS (ANY OIL)
1 jumbo egg
1-2 tbs olive oil (or fat/oil of your choice)
In a nonstick frying pan, heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil/fat over medium high heat until it begins to simmer. Crack and drop the egg onto the pan and let cook until the yolk sets and the whites begin to crisp, brown, and curl up at the ends. Slide the egg around after 3-4min to make sure it does not stick. Flip the egg with a spatula (or in the air if you're a pro) and cook for another 1 minute. Serve with toast and bacon or add it to any recipe of your choosing!