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Eggs help beat the seasonal blues

01/10/2010

With the end of Official Summer Time approaching, research has shown that eggs are a natural source of key nutrients that can help combat the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) such as depression. 

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that ‘mood nutrients’ such as folate, iron, protein and vitamin D - which are among more than 11 vitamins and minerals found in every egg - can positively affect a person’s mood and help alleviate the signs of depression (1).

British Egg Week (4-10 October) could be the ideal time to increase egg intake, with a meal containing two medium eggs contributing the following ‘mood nutrients’:

NUTRIENTS      % RNI*  OTHER ROLES OF THESE NUTRIENTS
Protein 28%  Building and development of body enzymes, tissues and muscles
Iron  14% Carrying oxygen around the bloodstream, required for growth and energy production. Iron deficiency can result in fatigue and reduced performance
Vitamin D  18%**  Enhances the absorption of calcium and helps to maintain a healthy immune system. (Eggs are one of the only natural food sources of vitamin D).
Folate    26%  Growth and maintenance of healthy cells and red blood cell production

* Recommended Nutrient Intake for adult female 19-50 years - Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom. Department of Health Report on Health and Social Subjects 41, 1991.
**Beyond age 65 years

Emerging evidence has also shown that the high protein content of eggs may play a useful role in weight management and dieting, helpful when combating the effects of comfort eating during the colder months of the year. A US study has suggested that eating two scrambled eggs for breakfast can contribute to greater satiety - a feeling of fullness - while reducing calorie intake throughout the day and over the following 36 hours (2). In addition, another trial found that eating two eggs instead of bagels for breakfast every day could significantly lower body weight when combined with a low-energy diet over two months (3). 

And with the previous limits on egg consumption having been lifted by all UK heart and health advisory groups, the coming winter could be the time for health-conscious consumers to increase consumption. The latest findings suggest that one or two eggs a day can be eaten with no effect on total blood cholesterol levels for most people (4).

References

 1 Lin, P. Y et al J Clin Psychiatry 68, 1056-61 (2007); Gilbody, S. et al J Epidemiol Community Health 61, 631-7 (2007); Vahdat Shariatpanaahi, M et al. Eur J Clin Nutr 61, 532-5 (2007); Hoogendijk WJ et al Arch Gen Psychiatry 65(5): 508-12 (2008 May). 
2 Vander Wal et al (2005), ‘Short-term effect of eggs on satiety in overweight and obese subjects’, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol.24 No. 6, pp.510-5 
3 Vander Wal et al. (2008), ‘Egg breakfast enhances weight loss’, International Journal of Obesity’, Vol. 32 No.10, pp. 1545-51 
4 Gray, J. and Griffin, B. (2009), ‘Eggs and dietary cholesterol – dispelling the myth’, Nutrition Bulletin, Vol.34, pp.66-70