Students told ‘go to work on an egg’

As a new academic year starts, a new report* recommends that students should go to work on an egg. A recent research review heralds eggs as an affordable food containing essential nutrients, including choline and iodine needed for cognitive function and B vitamins and iron that can support immune function, essential for busy brainboxes.

Yet survey figures show that only 13% of 18-24 year-olds know that eggs are high in vitamins and minerals**, although they contain 18 essential nutrients.

There is growing evidence to suggest that eggs help with satiety – the feeling of being ‘full’ after eating – due to their energy density, and eggs can also be combined with veg to help towards eating a hunger-busting healthy diet that’s nutrient-rich, whilst sticking to a limited student budget.

Packed within the shell, a portion of two eggs contains a wide variety of vitamins and minerals:

Specific nutrients and their benefits for students include:

B vitamins - which reduce tiredness and fatigue. In addition riboflavin supports skin and eye health, while both vitamin B12 and folate support normal immune function.

Choline – a component of cell walls and the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, both of which play a vital role in brain activity and development. Eggs are a natural source of choline.

Selenium – vital for immune function and also a powerful antioxidant. Around half of women & girls, and a quarter of men, have intakes below the Lower Reference Nutrient Intake (LRNI), a level that indicates a risk of deficiency***. Two eggs provide 44% of the recommended amount of selenium.

Iodine - contributes to cognitive function. Around 20% of teenage girls have intakes that fail to meet the LRNI***. Two eggs provide a third of the NRV for iodine.

Omega 3 (DHA) – contributes to normal brain function and normal vision. Eggs are rich in long chain omega-3 fatty acids, mainly in the form of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), a useful alternative source of these for people who do not eat oily fish. An average medium egg provides about 70mg of omega-3 fatty acids.

Dr Carrie Ruxton says: “Student diets have a bad reputation for being limited and relying on filling, but not necessarily nutritious foods. Eggs are versatile and quick to cook, come in handy individual portions and can be kept on standby in the fridge until needed. Most importantly they combine all this with providing a rich nutritional package that costs only pence.”

Notes to editors:

* The full research review can be found
** Onepoll online and mobile poll of 2,000 UK adults conducted 11/04/2017-19/04/2017.
*** NDNS data from years 1 to 4 combined of the rolling programme.