This Breakfast Favorite Could Protect Children from Stunted Growth
Hint: It's not a fruit or vegetable.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away? Not so much, according to a recent study. A daily egg might be the true secret to keeping your children healthy, instead.
New research argues that eating an egg every day can prevent stunted growth in children. In fact, young children who consume an egg daily are nearly half as likely to suffer from stunting, a condition defined by below-average height and weight, as well as impaired brain development, weak immune systems, and other health issues. Put even more of these brain power-boosting foods on your plate, too.
Eggs “are very holistic in the package of nutrients they provide,” said Lora Iannotti, a child nutrition expert at Washington University and co-author of the study. “But the other thing that’s super important for eggs is that, compared to other high-quality foods, they are affordable. The leading risk factor for stunting is poverty.” (While eggs could help your child’s growth, find out why milk alternatives won’t.)
For the study, Iannotti and her colleagues gave an egg a day to Ecuadorean children aged 6 to 9 months, and then compared their growth with other children in a control group that did not receive an egg. Although more than 42 percent of children in the region were stunted, the condition was 47 percent less common in the egg eaters. What’s more, all the egg eaters grew more in proportion to the control group even if they were not malnourished, the study found. They were also 74 percent less likely to be underweight.
The egg-eating children also tended to eat less sugar-sweetened foods, indicating that the eggs filled their stomachs and reduced cravings for empty calories, Iannotti said. Here’s what an egg’s yolk color says about its nutritional value.
These results challenge some countries’ warnings that children should not eat eggs for fear of allergies or salmonella. In fact, eggs contain around half of the nutrients necessary for breastfeeding infants, the study said.
Want to sneak more eggs onto your child’s plate? Even picky eaters can’t resist one of these 55 delicious ways to have eggs for every meal.