Eggs' low cost makes them an economic addition to your diet. And with boiled eggs' long shelf life and portability, they make a convenient addition as well. Unlike some other cooking methods, which require the use of added oils, boiled eggs don't require adding fat during the cooking process. Eggs are relatively low in calories -- each large one only contains 72 calories -- but still provide several of the nutrients you need each day as part of your diet. Make sure you practice food safety, however, when preparing and storing eggs because they can be a vehicle for food-borne illness.
The Nutrition Basics
Boiled eggs provide beneficial protein -- 6.3 grams per large egg -- which helps maintain strong tissues and supports the function of your immune system. But boiled eggs also contain fat and cholesterol, which lowers their nutritional value. Each large boiled egg houses 5 grams of fat, with 1.6 grams coming from saturated fat. Consuming saturated fat has a detrimental effect on your health because it increases the levels of harmful cholesterol in your bloodstream. Eggs also contain 186 milligrams of dietary cholesterol -- 62 percent of your recommended daily limit, or 93 percent of your daily limit if you have high cholesterol or heart disease, according to guidelines from the American Heart Association.
Eggs come packed with vitamins and serve as especially good sources of vitamin A and vitamin B-5, also called pantothenic acid. Vitamin A proves essential to healthy vision, strong skin and a robust immune system. Vitamin B-5 supports the function of your adrenal gland -- a small, hormone-producing glad found on your kidneys -- and helps you produce red blood cells. Each large boiled egg contains 260 international units of vitamin A and 0.7 milligram of vitamin B-5. This makes up 14 percent of your recommended daily vitamin B-5 intake, as well as 11 percent of the daily vitamin A intake recommended for women and 9 percent for men.
Minerals and Phytonutrients
Eggs provide essential minerals -- especially phosphorus and selenium -- and also contain the beneficial phytonutrient choline. Selenium plays a role in enzyme function and activates enzymes needed to regulate thyroid function and support muscle cell metabolism. Phosphorus contributes to important cell structures -- including your cell membranes and genetic information -- while choline supports brain function. Each large egg provides you with 86 milligrams of phosphorus and 15 micrograms of selenium -- 12 percent of your recommended daily phosphorus intake and 27 percent of your RDA for selenium. It also contains 147 milligrams of choline -- a significant amount toward the 550 milligrams recommended for men and 425 milligrams for women.
Keep Yourself Safe
Improper food handling and storage can leave boiled eggs a breeding ground for nasty bacteria, including salmonella, which can cause intestinal infections. Make sure you keep your eggs refrigerated until they're ready to cook, and boil them thoroughly -- the yolks should be pale yellow throughout, indicating that they're completely set. Practice food safety if you travel with your boiled eggs. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises that cooked eggs should not go unrefrigerated for more than two hours. If you need to carry them longer than that, keep your eggs in a cooler to delay spoilage.
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Cook Once, Eat Twice
- HealthAliciousNess: Egg, Hard-Boiled, Cooked, Whole
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin A (Retinol)
- Linus Pauling Institute: Selenium
- Linus Pauling Institute: Choline
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Playing It Safe With Eggs
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B-5 (Panthothenic Acid)
- Linus Pauling Institute: Phosphorus
Sylvie Tremblay holds a Master of Science in molecular and cellular biology and has years of experience as a cancer researcher and neuroscientist.