Kenyans eat four eggs per month

Whether you are frying them until they’re crisp brown; enjoying them runny, boiling them for as a speedy snack or whipping them into billowing clouds, eating eggs provides essential proteins and vitamins to the body.

People in Kenya and across Africa, however, do not appear to be eating enough eggs due to a range of reasons and myths from weight gain to unfounded claims on raising one’s cholesterol. Outside of South Africa where one person eats about 160 eggs per year, the consumption of the protein-rich animal produce is low in other sub-Saharan countries, averaging two eggs per month.

In neighbouring for instance South Sudan, the low numbers are shocking. According to UN estimates, a person in South Sudan eats 2 grammes of eggs per year. The disparity becomes clearer when compared to a person in Hong Kong where one eats 25Kg of eggs per year.

The people of Hong Kong, a city and a special administrative area under China numbering about 7.5 million, are big on consuming animal proteins.

In a year, a person in Hong Kong takes 136Kg of meat, the UN says. Compare that with a person in Burundi who the UN says consumes just 3kg of meat in a year.

Back home, FAO estimates that on average, one person in Kenya consumes 15.6kg of meat, about 121 litres of milk, and 45 eggs every year. This translates to less than four eggs per month for a person in Kenya.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics 2019 count, there were 30.3 million kienyeji chicken, 5.5 million layers and 2.9 million broilers.

Meat, milk as well as eggs provide essential nutrients to the growth of humans. The three animal-based proteins offer crucial sources of much-needed nutrients that cannot easily be obtained from plant-based foods, a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) notes.

According to FAO, milk, meat and eggs provide “macro-nutrients”, for instance, fats and carbs, proteins as well as micro-nutrients that are often difficult for humans to get from plants, “in the required quality and quantity”, notes FAO.

Eggs in particular are packed with essential vitamins and minerals. They are a primary source of vitamin B12, an essential element in brain function and the formation of red blood cells.

Eggs also contain vitamins A, D, E, and K, and minerals iron, selenium, and zinc, which are important for various healthy body functions. They are also considered a complete protein source as they contain all the essential amino acids required by the body. Protein is crucial for building and repairing tissues, supporting muscle strength, and promoting satiety, which can aid in managing weight issues.

Read also: Fried for breakfast

Eggs are rich in antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which are beneficial for eye health. These compounds help protect the eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss in older adults.

What’s more, eggs are rich in Choline, an essential nutrient, which plays a vital role in brain development and function. Choline is necessary for the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory and learning. Adequate choline intake, particularly during pregnancy and early childhood, is crucial for proper brain development.

Contrary to previous concerns, recent research suggests that moderate egg consumption is not associated with an increased risk of heart disease. FAO says the evidence linking the consumption of milk, eggs and poultry in adults and diseases such as coronary heart disease, strokes and hypertension remains inconclusive (for milk) or non-significant (for eggs and poultry).

In fact, eggs can be part of a heart-healthy diet due to their nutrient composition. The yolk contains beneficial compounds such as omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation and promote your heart health.

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