Another "Sunny" Side of Eggs

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You can get your daily dose of vitamin D with a simple serving of eggs.

As the days grow shorter and winter approaches, it becomes increasingly difficult for many Americans to meet their vitamin D requirements.  In some areas of the country, it is difficult or impossible to produce sufficient amounts of vitamin D from sun exposure, especially in winter months. In fact, research shows 40 percent of people 65 years of age and older, even those living in sunny climates, are not getting enough vitamin D. Consuming natural food sources, like eggs, is one way to help individuals meet the recommended intake of vitamin D.

Eggs are one of the few foods that are a naturally good source of vitamin D, meaning that one egg provides at least 10 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium absorption, helping to form and maintain strong bones.  Along with calcium, vitamin D prevents development of osteoporosis in older adults and without sufficient levels; the bones can become brittle or misshapen. Late last year, the Institute of Medicine increased its recommendation for the amount of vitamin D that individuals should consume in a day.

Food Sources of Vitamin D

The USDA recently reviewed the egg nutrient data and results show that one Grade A, large egg contains 41 IU of vitamin D, 65 percent higher than the amount reported in the last nutrient analysis. The analysis also showed that the average amount of cholesterol in one large egg is 185 mg, 14 percent lower than the previously recorded. Other natural dietary sources of vitamin D include fatty fish and fish oils, beef liver, mushrooms, and fortified milk. Some brands of orange juice, margarine and other products can also contain added vitamin D.

"Cooking with eggs is an easy, budget-friendly way to add vitamin D and other essential nutrients to your family's diet," says Helenbeth Reynolds, MPH, RD, a registered dietitian, nutrition consultant and advisor to the Egg Nutrition Center. "Let kids choose their favorite veggies for a quick and nutritious omelet dinner."

Adding more vitamin D, along with high-quality protein and 12 other essential vitamins and minerals is simple with eggs. "While eggs are often consumed with other foods high in calories and saturated fat, that doesn't have to be the case," says Reynolds.  "Eggs can be paired with almost any vegetable, making it easy for Americans to follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 and MyPlate recommendation to 'make half your plate fruits and vegetables.'"  

For more information, please visit www.IncredibleEgg.org, www.eggnutritioncenter.org, and www.nutritionunscrambled.com.