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readers are probably already aware that many fruits, vegetables, and beans are antioxidant powerhouses. But did you know that eggs are also loaded with these amazing nutrients? A new study published in the journal Food Chemistry
reveals that a single raw egg, and its yolk in particular, contains at least twice as many antioxidant properties as an apple, and roughly the same amount as a serving of cranberries.
Researchers from the University of Alberta's Department of Agricultural Food and Nutritional Science studied egg yolks from eggs produced by hens fed a conventional diet of wheat or corn, and discovered in them high levels of tryptophan and tyrosine, two amino acids known for their antioxidant properties. Egg yolks are also rich in carotenoid antioxidant compounds responsible for their yellow color (or orange if they come from pastured, free-range chickens), as well as peptides.
"Ultimately, we're trying to map antioxidants in egg yolks so we have to look at all of the properties in the yolks that could contain antioxidants, as well as how the eggs are ingested," said Jianping Wu, one of the lead researchers for the study. And the team is doing just that as it continues to identify the myriad nutrient compounds contained in eggs.
And contradicting the widely-held belief that eggs are unhealthy because they contain high levels of cholesterol, the peptides in eggs were actually found to help lower high blood pressure. Previous research conducted by Wu revealed that stomach enzymes actually break down egg proteins and produce peptides as a result, which act as a type of natural ACE inhibitor to regulate blood pressure levels.
Based on both its previous and current findings, the team expects to uncover a whole lot more about the egg in its ongoing egg research, including the discovery of even more currently-unknown antioxidants, as well as various other health-promoting substances.
The conventional eggs
used in the study are a far cry from organic, pasture-based eggs, however. As seemingly healthy as these conventional egg yolks appeared to be for the study, eggs from chickens that are free to roam pastures, peck at bugs, and eat a variety of forage from the outdoors, produce eggs that have up to ten times the amount of omega-3s as conventional eggs from chickens raised in confinement. Pastured eggs also have as much as six times the vitamin D as conventional eggs (http://www.eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm
).Sources for this story include:http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-07/uoa-emh070511.php
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