Many expectant and new moms feel they’ve earned a free pass to consume everything their heart desires. Unfortunately, the quality of calories consumed is crucial to both the mother’s health and the baby’s development.
That’s where the simple, yet oft-beleaguered, egg comes in.
Besides providing folate, iron and high-quality protein, eggs are an excellent source of choline.
Recent research suggests that choline plays an important role in breaking down homocysteine, an amino acid that may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease. It also aids infant brain development and helps prevent birth defects such as spina bifida, says Cindy Cunningham, a clinical nutritionist at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Pregnant women should consume 450 milligrams of choline a day, while those breastfeeding should aim for 550 milligrams, according to guidelines issued by the National Academy of Sciences. Two eggs provide about 250 milligrams, second only to beef liver for choline content.
Ms. Cunningham says all eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees to avoid the risk of salmonella.
And keep in mind that you won’t reap the benefits by opting for egg whites — choline is in the yolk.
Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/nutrition to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in nutrition.
Media Contact: Kristen Holland Shear
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