Study reveals why eggs with veggies is a good choice. Carotenoids found in certain vegetables are more readily absorbed into the bloodstream when eaten with eggs.
Carotenoids are the antioxidants present in yellow, orange, and red vegetables. Carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, are thought to be involved in prevention of certain cancers, mainly due to their antioxidant activity.
Based on the knowledge that dietary lipids (fats) can stimulate the absorption of carotenoids, a group of researchers from Purdue University, Indiana, United States, set out to determine whether eating eggs together with vegetables high in carotenoids can actually increase carotenoid absorption.
A group of healthy men ate a salad containing carotenoid-rick vegetables, either with no egg, with 75g of scrambled whole eggs, or with 150g of scrambled whole eggs. A blood sample was taken from each participant every hour, for ten hours after the meal. The blood samples were assessed for levels of carotenoids, including lutein, zeaxanthin, α-carotene, β-carotene, and lycopene.
The researchers found that carotenoid content was higher in the blood of participants who ate 150g of scrambled eggs with their salad compared with participants who ate 75g of egg, or no egg. The amount of carotenoid in the blood of men in this group increased up to 4.5-fold after eating egg with their salad.
The study demonstrates that eating eggs is an effective way to increase the absorption of carotenoids into the blood stream.
Kim JE, Gordon SL, Ferruzzi MG, Campbell WW. “Effects of egg consumption on carotenoid absorption from co-consumed, raw vegetables.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jul;102(1):75-83. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.111062. Epub 2015 May 27.
Johnson EJ. “The role of carotenoids in human health.” Nutr Clin Care. 2002 Mar-Apr;5(2):56-65.
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Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD