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Eating raw eggs: wise or not?

  1. You may have heard of it: avid athletes who  eat or drink shakes with raw eggs to get extra protein. The alarm bells immediately go off for many people. Raw eggs - aren't they really bad for you? Couldn't there be all kinds of nasty bacteria, such as salmonella?

  1. Yet it does not seem that the average athlete suffers from food poisoning very much. How bad is it really to eat raw eggs every now and then? In today's blog we look at why people sometimes choose raw egg, and how big that problem is. You will also find a number of tips here if you want to make a recipe that uses raw egg!

Eat or drink raw eggs?

  1. It is true that there is indeed a (small) risk associated with eating or drinking raw eggs. So why are people doing it anyway? First, there are simply a number of dishes that use traditional raw egg. Tiramisu, for example, whisk in a few raw egg yolks.

  1. The same goes for mayonnaise, another common favorite. However, for many avid athletes, that is not the main reason to eat raw egg. They use raw proteins as an easy way to get extra lean protein. For example, protein is easy to beat through a shake or smoothie. So there are several reasons to eat raw egg, both for athletes and non-athletes!

Are raw eggs healthy?

  1. It has been said that raw eggs are healthier than boiled or fried eggs. The idea is that the nutrients in the egg would be partly lost due to the heat. However, that is largely nonsense: the difference is so minimal that you do not have to take it into account. A raw egg is therefore about as healthy as a prepared egg; after all, it contains exactly the same substances.

  1. These are a number of vitamins (including vitamin D and B vitamins), and various minerals (including zinc). Eggs also contain healthy omega-3 fats and some of the healthy HDL cholesterol.

Salmonella in raw eggs

  1. Nice and nice, you might think now, but a serious salmonella infection is anything but healthy. That is of course completely true, but what exactly is the chance of salmonella if you eat a raw egg? Not overly big. Research by the University of Wageningen shows that on average 1 in 3,000-5,000 eggs is infected.

  1. It is certainly not easy for the salmonella bacteria to enter such an egg. This microbe lives in the intestines of chickens and sometimes reaches the eggs via the cloaca. However, he is only on the outside. To get into the egg, he has to get through an eggshell and an almost impenetrable membrane.

How do you store eggs?

  1. The risk of salmonella can be further reduced by properly storing eggs. That way you prevent the peel from wearing out and becoming more porous. This means that bacteria cannot still penetrate. The most important thing is to avoid excessive temperature changes.

  1. So don't keep your eggs in the fridge door. There they quickly get warmer and colder when the refrigerator opens. Instead, you better put them in the back a bit. It is also an option to simply keep them in a dark drawer or cupboard.

  1. You can then keep them a little less long. Also make sure that you throw away eggs with a cracked shell! There it is made very easy for the bacteria.

Eggs from healthy chickens

  1. Another trick is to buy eggs from chickens that are as healthy as possible. The reason for this is very simple: salmonella ultimately originates from the intestines of the chickens. That bacteria shouldn't be there. It mainly ends up when the gut flora of the chicken is not in balance, and that happens more quickly if the chicken is fed unhealthy food.

  1. Poor living conditions make your egg unhealthier in the end! Preferably choose chickens that have received organic feed. It is best if the animals can also forage outside and find their own food. Then the diet is as varied and therefore as healthy as possible.

Be careful when splitting eggs

  1. One last quick tip: if you use raw egg, be careful about splitting it. Many people separate yolk from white by breaking the eggshell in half and pouring the yolk back and forth.

  1. In this way, however, the egg comes into contact with the outside of the shell a lot. If it is infected with salmonella, that is bad news. So you better use a special egg splitter to perform this operation!

Disadvantages of raw protein

  1. The chance that you will catch salmonella is therefore quite small, but the chance is indeed present. By handling eggs with care you reduce the chance of contracting a salmonella infection. Does that mean that there are no problems at all with raw eggs? Unfortunately not quite: there is a disadvantage that occurs if you eat a lot of raw protein.

  1. Proteins contain avidin, a substance that binds with vitamin B8 in your body. As a result, the vitamin can no longer be properly absorbed. For once that is of course no problem. However, if you eat raw proteins on a daily basis, this quickly leads to a shortage of B8. So this is definitely something to watch out for.

Risk groups

  1. Most people are fine with using raw egg every now and then, all in all. There are, however, a few risk groups for whom it is a good idea to stay away from it altogether. The consequences of salmonella are more dangerous for these groups. Small children and pregnant women are the main risk group. The elderly should also avoid eating raw eggs.

  1. Finally, the same applies to people with immune diseases. Their bodies are less able to fight against salmonella bacteria. If you belong to one of these groups, it is better to keep cooking your eggs!



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