Cheap, easy and ready in minutes, eggs are the perfect snack for busy runners. Not only are they are packed with iron and protein, helping your body repair and recover from training, they're also the star ingredient for a range of moreish meals. Discover all the health benefits the humble egg has to offer and try our nifty recipe ideas.
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Eggs: A Nutritional Powerhouse
Eggs really pack a nutritional punch. They are an excellent source of protein, vitamins A, D and B and they deliver on zinc as well.
The creamy, delicious yolk is where you'll find most of the health benefits. It may contain the entire cholesterol and fat content, but it's also a valuable source of iron - a key nutrient for runners.
"We know that iron stores can be depleted for runners," says Dr Karen Reid, dietitian and sports nutritionist at performancefood.co.uk. "Egg yolks contain a type of iron called heme iron, which is more absorbable than the non-heme iron found in vegetables."
So you don't need make like Popeye and chomp on industrial quantities of spinach to increase your iron intake - a few eggs each week should help you on your way.
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How often can I eat them?
Guidelines for egg consumption have fluctuated over the years, but thankfully research in the last twenty years has conclusively proven that you can tuck into as many eggs as you like on a weekly basis.
Back in the 1950s the nation was sold on the health benefits of eggs thanks to the 'Go to Work on an Egg' campaign. Tony Hancock's famous adverts for British Lion Eggs convinced the nation of the high protein and good value of eggs.
However, as people became more informed about heart health, the egg was shunned thanks to its (moderate) cholesterol content. Recommended consumption was limited to three eggs per week and even just two years ago, nearly half of Britons still believed this limit applied.
Now, with all the myths debunked, there's no reason not to get cracking whenever hunger strikes.
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Eggs can raise cholesterol - fact or fiction?
Fiction! There's no reason why you can't enjoy eggs regularly. Eggs contain a moderate amount of cholesterol - though the level is declining as farming methods improve - which once led to fears that they could increase blood cholesterol.
Research in the last ten years has dismissed the link between dietary cholesterol (the cholesterol in food) and high blood cholesterol. Instead, saturated fat has been found to be the main culprit in high blood cholesterol and heart disease.
With only 1.7g of saturated fat in a medium egg, you can keep tucking in while avoiding saturated fat heavyweights - such as cheese, pastries and fatty cuts of meat - to reduce your cholesterol levels.
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How should I eat them?
Scrambling, poaching and boiling are the healthiest way to eat eggs. Frying is the least healthy option, but if you just can't resist, try to use the minimal amount of oil or a non-stick frying pan.
You can also make it much easier for your body to absorb the heme iron in eggs by eating foods rich in vitamin C at the same time. "You could have tomatoes with your scrambled egg or sip on orange juice," advises Dr Reid.
Check out some of our favourite egg recipes:
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