It’s almost Easter! I’m super excited for a long weekend back home in Dorset, celebrating multiple birthdays and taking a breather from the hectic lifestyle that is London.
I thought i’d just touch upon a very hot topic in the media at the moment, eggs. I’m talking about the actual chicken eggs- not the chocolate ones! I’ve seen multiple articles floating around preaching the dangers of including eggs in your diet and the effects they have on cholesterol levels due to their dietary cholesterol content. So, let’s just take a minute to break down the facts in this statement...
So what actually is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is type of fat found in your body, produced in the liver and one of the most important structural components of your cells. It is transported in the blood via lipoproteins known as HDL’s (aka ‘good’ cholesterol) and LDL’s (aka ‘bad’ cholesterol). HDL’s carry cholesterol back to the liver; LDL’s carry cholesterol from the liver to all other tissues.
How does dietary cholesterol affect my body’s cholesterol levels?
We now know that in a healthy individual, ingestion of dietary cholesterol actually has very little impact on your body’s cholesterol levels. In fact, a diet which is rich in trans and saturated fats is far more likely to increase the amount of LDL cholesterol in your body. If LDL’s are in excess there is a chance that LDL’s will begin to deposit the cholesterol in the artery walls. This is a reason why high cholesterol levels are linked to chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease.
So, if I reduce my fat intake I will reduce my cholesterol levels?
Not necessarily the take home message here. As I mentioned, cholesterol is key for many chemical processes that go on within your body and needed by your tissues to maintain normal function! Increasing, or replacing trans & saturated fats in your food with mono & polyunsaturated fats such as olive oil, oily fish, nuts, seeds and avocados may increase your levels of HDL’s in the blood which is GOOD NEWS for you! WHO (The World Health Organisation) recommend that no more than 30% of your diet is made up of fats. Of that 30%, no more than 10% should be saturated fats and no more than 1% should be trans fats.
Back to eggs, which in fact are nutrient powerhouses! Here’s some reasons why...
Eggs a great, affordable source of protein and a really versatile ingredient to cook with (see below a recipe for a broccoli & gnocci frittata for a super nutritious egg based meal!). They also contain vitamin D, which I wrote about in my last post as a pretty difficult vitamin to get in to the body especially in the winter months! I actually buy omega-3 rich eggs from Waitrose- which makes them a great source of the good fats which increase your HDL levels!
To wrap up, let’s go back to talking about the chocolate variety of eggs...
Ok, so there’s going to be chocolate. Lots of chocolate. I’m going to bring this back to one of my core beliefs as a Nutritionist: Eat the food that makes your heart happy! I would never tell someone not to eat chocolate at Easter!! Just remember that if you eat too much in one go you’ll
probably give yourself a tummy ache won’t feel great! All foods, everything from broccoli to chocolate should be eaten in moderation and as part of an overall balanced, nutrient dense diet.
Happy Easter! <3
RECIPE: GNOCCHI & TENDERSTEM BROCCOLI FRITTATA
For 2 people you will need.... 4eggs 1 orange pepper (or whatever your favourite colour is!) 1 courgette 1⁄2 a bag of fresh gnocchi (I used spinach gnocchi from Waitrose!) 1 large handful of tenderstem broccoli Olive oil, for frying
Whisk up the eggs (season with salt and pepper) and chop the courgette in to small,
Heat up a pan with some olive oil (extra brownie points for using extra virgin oil as it has
a greater concentration of omega-3!) and gently fry the pepper until it starts to soften.
Chuck in the courgette and continue frying for around 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, gently simmer/steam/microwave the broccoli until hot through and slightly
soft (I like it when it’s still quite firm) and simmer the gnocchi until cooked.
Add the gnocchi to the frying pan, stir evenly through the vegetables and then pour over
the eggs. Finish off by placing the broccoli evenly over the top. Leave to cook on the hob for 5 minutes before transferring to under the grill or in the oven to finish off cooking the eggs!
Let us know if you would like to order any ingredients from our local farm shop, @theoldparlourfarmshop and we can make sure everything you need is in stock.
Enjoy this egg-sellent simple supper!