Eggs can be categorised as one of the healthiest foods available. Their nutritional value benefits all age groups – even 6-month-old babies, who can be given the yolk of the egg as an introductory food. This 'egg-ceptional’ superfood is also one of the most versatile foods available in our kitchens. This article highlights the health benefits of eggs and also suggests the appropriate portions recommended for your rapidly-growing toddler.
Key health benefits of eggs
We often wonder if eggs are a healthy, nutritious option especially because of their high cholesterol content. As parents, we must understand that ‘moderation is the key’ while consuming eggs – for both kids and adults as well. Here are the key benefits of eating eggs.
1. A source of complete protein
One egg provides about 6 grams of protein per serving. This protein is ‘complete,’ i.e., it contains all the essential amino acids required for adequate growth and development and wear and tear of tissues. Giving your toddler one egg a day to eat will make him stronger and taller.
2. Rich source of cholesterol and fats
Eggs are extremely rich in fat and cholesterol. These nutrients may be considered unhealthy for adults, especially when consumed in excess, but they play a vital role in a child’s development. Dietary cholesterol is no longer considered hazardous to health.
3. Good source of iron
Eggs are a good source of the bio-available form of iron. Iron deficiency may lead to anaemia in children, which can in turn affect their memory or concentration skills. Eggs are rich in choline, which is also essential for adequate brain development.
4. Eggs are good for eyesight
Eggs are rich in eye-friendly nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin. They help maintain sharp vision and restrict macular degeneration.
5. Eggs contain essential vitamins
Egg yolk contains fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K. Water-soluble vitamins like B-6, B-12, folic acid, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin are also found in eggs. All these vitamins are crucial to your child’s development.
6. Eggs help build immunity
Apart from proteins, other immune-boosting nutrients like selenium and zinc are present in eggs and help build a child’s immunity. They ward off microorganisms thus helping your child stay healthy by keeping infections away.
With all the benefits associated with eggs explained, here are some suggestions about how many eggs your child can consume and the required intake growing children require.
Recommendations and caution
For a child between the age of 8 months and 2 years, it is recommended to give 3 to 4 eggs per week. One egg a day for toddlers should help significantly in fostering their growth and building their immunity. Babies can be sensitive to egg whites and hence should be fed only the egg yolk until their first birthday, according to research by MedlinePlus. However, eggs are also among the most common allergy-causing foods. Parents must be alert, especially while feeding eggs to babies, for common allergy signs like skin rashes, hives, nasal congestion, vomiting, digestive problems etc. A severe allergy can rarely cause anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening. Most children, however, outgrow their allergies to eggs by adolescence.
So, go ahead and treat your child to egg regularly.
This author is a nutritionist and Founder of Nutrify