|Believe it or not raw food vegans, it takes scrambled (whole) eggs to turn your veggie salads into a "superfood", or rather, to have the "super effects" of all its "super vitamins" on your health . The photo shows an egg-recipe from The Organic Dish, take a look; and don't worry if you're afraid of healthy oats, you can leave out the out cakes under the eggs ;-)|
This trend that began with the negative effects of pesticides and/or heavy metals in "real meals" (which are always food matrices | Wilkowska. 2011) is something I have written about in the Facebook News and individual articles before and I plan to re-address, whenever scientists like Kim, Ferruzzi & Campbell (2016) give them the deserved attention.
Why's that? Well, as it turns out and has just been confirmed for beta-carotene and vitamin E (Kim. 2015 & 16) by the aforementioned authors from the Purdue University (Kim. 2016) the way you combine your foods is as important for your nutrient sufficiency as the micronutrient content of the individual foods.
Let's do some math, together: For the fat-soluble vitamins E, which are obviously relevant in the context of Kim et al.'s latest studies (2015 & 16), the RDA is 14 mg/day. That's the amount of vitamin E you'd get from a relatively small quantity of each of the randomly chosen high vitamin E foods in Figure 1.
|Figure 1: Yes, you can get your vitamin E from a single food, but that's not wise - for several reasons (Kim. 2016).|
The paprika powder from Figure 1, no matter how nutrient dense it may be, will probably get only small amounts of its vital (=vitamin and other beneficial micronutrients) carriage (including, but not restricted to beta-carotene and vitamin E) delivered into your blood... unless, obviously, you combine it with the right foods and thus form a nutrient absorption optimizing food matrix.
|Figure 2: Kim's 2015 study showed a similarly pronounced increases of the accumulated area under the curve (AUC), i.e. the total uptake of various carotenes when 3 eggs were added to vegetable salad (made with 3g of canola oil).|
"[b]ecause carotenoids and vitamin E are both fat-soluble nutrients, we expected cooked whole eggs to also increase the absorption of vitamin E contained in the same salad" (Kim. 2016).to evaluate the accuracy of their hypothesis, the scientists recruited 16 healthy male participants for a randomized, single-blind, crossover-design experiment:
"[All] participants completed 3 trials that each included consuming a controlled diet for 7 d followed by a testing day. In addition, 1-wk dietary washout periods were scheduled between each of the trials. [...] The investigators were fully blinded to the participants test-day meals until after all testing and sample analyses were completed, but the participants and dietitians were not blinded to the meals" (Kim. 2016)Obviously, I am not giving away any secrets, when I tell you that the experiment confirmed the authors' hypothesis. Interestingly enough, with practically relevant increases in vitamin E absorption being achieved with both, the "low egg" (LE - 1.5 cooked scrambled eggs) and the "high egg" (HE - 3 cooked scrambled eggs) vegetable salads, which contained, just as in the previous study, 100 g tomatoes, 62 g shredded carrots, 70 g baby spinach, 25 g romaine lettuce, and 5 g Chinese wolfberries, and was served with 3 g of canola oil (note: all vegetables and eggs were purchased from the same local market and brand throughout the study period, thus we can assume that the contents of alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol in the test salad were 2.1 and 2.0 mg/serving, respectively, for all three trials).
|Figure 3: Relative increase (per vitamin E intake in mg) in TRL levels of alpha- and gamma-tocepherol in response to the ingestion of the vegetable salad alone, the salad with 1.5 or 3 cooked scrambled whole eggs (Kim. 2016)|
That the former, i.e. the increase in the LE = 1.5 egg trial didn't reach statistical significance is, as the authors rightly point out, most likely "due to the small sample size and low statistical power" (Kim. 2016) - a phenomenon that has been observed previously in small-scale studies that compared the nutrient availability of vitamin E with different doses of fat (Mah. 2015 | this study also used a less preferable marker of vitamin E absorption, namely plasmo not triacylglycerol-rich lipoprotein fractions (TRLs) levels, which mainly represent newly absorbed dietary vitamin E, as the studies by Kim et al.).
- Eitenmiller, Ronald R., and Junsoo Lee. Vitamin E: food chemistry, composition, and analysis. CRC Press, 2004.
- Kim, Jung Eun, et al. "Effects of egg consumption on carotenoid absorption from co-consumed, raw vegetables." The American journal of clinical nutrition 102.1 (2015): 75-83.
- Kim, Jung Eun, Mario G. Ferruzzi, and Wayne W. Campbell. "Egg Consumption Increases Vitamin E Absorption from Co-Consumed Raw Mixed Vegetables in Healthy Young Men." The Journal of Nutrition (2016): First published ahead of print September 21, 2016 as doi: 10.3945/jn.116.236307
- Mah, Eunice, et al. "a-Tocopherol bioavailability is lower in adults with metabolic syndrome regardless of dairy fat co-ingestion: a randomized, double-blind, crossover trial." (2015).
- Wilkowska, Angelika, and Marek Biziuk. "Determination of pesticide residues in food matrices using the QuEChERS methodology." Food Chemistry 125.3 (2011): 803-812.