Domestication of birds can be traced back to East India, where records show that wild jungle fowls were domesticated as early as 3200 BC. Egyptian and Chinese records indicate that fowl were laying eggs for human consumption as early as 1400 BC. Egg, a diverse and economical ingredient, can be enjoyed as simply as a soft-boiled egg that once bitten oozes its yellow yolk, or as complicated as a soufflé, a light, fluffy egg dish that melts in your mouth. Americans enjoy eggs so much that it is estimated that one person eats about 274 eggs per year.
Eggs are quite nutritious. One large egg (50 grams) contains on average 70 calories, 6 grams of protein, and 5 grams of total fat. This nutrient dense food contains thirteen essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, folate, choline, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. It is often mistaken that eggs are part of the dairy food group, but in fact, they are considered a protein. Walking down a supermarket aisle, one is faced with numerous options of eggs; ranging from different colors to cage-free, to organic eggs. The U.S. and its neighboring countries, Canada and Mexico, prefer white eggs. On the opposite side of the world, Australia and New Zealand prefer brown eggs. Due to genetics, different hens produce different colored eggs that range from white, brown, blue, green, and speckled eggs. All eggs start out white in color, but as they travel through the hen’s oviduct, pigments are deposited giving the eggs their hue. Leghorn chickens produce white eggs, which means no pigment is added. On the other hand, Orpington hens contain protoporphyrin IX pigments which produce brown eggs. Their interior remains white in color as the pigment does not permeate through the shell. Ameraucana hens that contain oocyanin pigment produce blue colored eggs. Unlike brown eggs, the oocyanin permeates through the shell, resulting in both the outside and inside of the shell to be the same color. Contrary to popular belief, the color of the egg does not have an impact on the nutritional value. No matter what the preference is, one will still gain the nutritional benefits of an egg.
While on vacation in Southeast Asia, roaming the traditional markets is a must. Upon entering, your eyes feast on the exotic fruits, and your nose is hit with the powerful aroma of multiple herbs and spices. The corner of your eye will catch vendors selling fresh eggs which have only been laid a couple of hours before. This is quite a scene to experience. While most parts of the world do not refrigerate eggs, in the United States and other developed nations, the concerns and sort of paranoia regarding foodborne illnesses have made food safety of much importance. We have been trained to immediately place the carton of eggs inside the refrigerator after purchase. The fear of Salmonella enforced the requirement for egg washing before selling to the consumers. This washing process removes a protective layer on the shell, which is why eggs are to be refrigerated to prevent foodborne illness.
Over the years, egg consumption has been heavily debated both in the public and professional sectors. We have been told to stay away from eating eggs, particularly the yolk, as it contains high cholesterol levels and could potentially increase the risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. However, research has found that there is no correlation between egg consumption, in particular, egg yolk, and an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. One can simply enjoy an egg a day without any fear of raising cholesterol levels.
About the author:
Chiya Delgado is currently a postgraduate student of business administration (marketing), and dietetic intern at Dominican University in River Forest, IL.
Article editing and photography by Jose Morales
Camera: Nikon D850
Lens: Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Strobes: Profoto B1 x 1
Modifiers: Profoto 5′ rfi Octa Softbox
Article by Chiya Delgado
Creative direction by Jonathan Valdez, MBA, RDN, CSG, CDN, CCM, ACE-CPT
Photography by Jose Morales of BlueAngel Photography New York