By Gabriel Olawale & Jeffrey Ogunyinde
Everybody should eat eggs, children in particular because eggs are not just good to eat but very nutritious. So good are eggs for nutrient health that the World Health Organisation, WHO, recommends that every healthy individual should eat one egg daily for optimal health.
Latest data released by UNICEF shows that about 1.7 million Nigerian children under the age of five, are severely and acutely malnourished, accounting for 10 percent of the global total of malnourished children.
With prices of foods skyrocketing, more hard times await Nigerian children as statistics have shown that two out of every five Nigerian children are chronically malnourished. According to 2011 World Global Hunger Index, Nigeria contributes 58 per cent of the global hunger problem, and may worsen if urgent measures are not taken to reverse the trend.
However, the Poultry Association of Nigeria, PAN, says it has a simple and inexpensive solution to the problem – eggs
Disclosing this during an activity to commemorate this year’s World Egg Day with the theme: “Benefits of an egg a day for the Nigerian child,” President of the Association, Dr. Ayoola Oduntan, said immediate measures needed to be taken to prevent further negative impact on the nutritional health of the vulnerable population (pregnant women and children).
Oduntan said World Egg Day is globally marked every 2nd Friday in October to highlight simple steps that can help to address some of these challenges.He identified the egg as God’s natural pill that can conquer hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition, and noted that it contains best proteins, vitamins and minerals.
“It contains natural vitamin D, useful for calcium and phosphorus absorption for strong bones and teeth. 1
“Eggs are the best follow up to breast milk in children as they contain the richest mix of essential amino acids. An egg contains the perfect combination of protein, 12 vitamins and 12 minerals. Eggs help to regulate the brain, nervous and cardiovascular system since one egg yolk has about 300 micrograms of choline, helping both memory and mental capacity.”
Also speaking, Director General of the Association, Onallo Akpa, said having eggs for breakfast, assists dieters to lose weight because of the feeling of fullness or satiety reflex an egg meal stimulates.
“Studies have proved that eggs may prevent breast cancer, as women who consume at least six eggs per week reduce their risk of breast cancer by 44 percent. Eggs prevent ageing of the skin and help in increasing the Red Blood Cell count in infants as well as in their brain development. “Eggs are best brain and body food for pregnant women, their unborn children and lactating mothers. Egg improves a child’s concentration level, attention span and scholarly performance for ‘eggcellent’ grades.”
Akpa recalled that in March, 2002, the American Heart Association guidelines were changed to allow one egg per day into the average healthy American diet thereby ending the Association’s 30 years old campaign that limited egg consumption to three eggs per week.”
“In the same light, the Harvard School of Public Health published that moderate egg consumption which is defined as one egg per day is not associated with increased risk of heart disease and does not have a negative impact on cholesterol neither does it affect a person’s lipid profile.”
Eggs do not contain saturated fat, but contain dietary cholesterol that does not harm the body.