The egg white is a cholesterol-free source of animal protein, and the yolk is our most concentrated dietary source of choline, an uber-important nutrient that assists in brain development, helps you maintain focus, and improves memory. (Here are some other facts about choline your doctors want you to know.) When eggs are also supplemented with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (an omega-3 fatty acid that serves as a structural component of the brain), they’re virtually unparalleled as a brain-superfood. (Here are more great brain foods to try.)
Due to allergy concerns, however, parents in this country are customarily advised to wait a full year before introducing their babies to eggs. That may soon change, thanks to a brand-new study out of Washington University in St. Louis, which showed that feeding eggs to babies as early as six months results in higher concentrations of brain-enhancing choline and DHA. The study, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, used data from another study by the same group of scientists that was published earlier in the year, which found that introducing eggs to babies at six months significantly improves growth in young children.
For both studies, a group of 163 babies, aged six to nine months, from a rural, indigenous population in Ecuador, were randomly assigned to be fed either one egg per day for six months (the “egg intervention group”) or no eggs at all (the “control group”). For the earlier-published research, the babies growth was measured. For this research, the babies’ blood was tested for levels of choline, DHA, and other vital nutrients. What the scientists found was that after six months, the egg intervention group had significantly higher concentrations of choline, DHA, and several other important nutrients in their bloodstream. And as an added bonus, there were no allergic reactions reported.
“The findings supported our hypothesis that early introduction of eggs significantly improved choline and other markers in its methyl group metabolism pathway,” the study authors wrote. Since the early introduction of eggs—as early as six months—can benefit not only physical growth but also brain development, it may not be long before pediatricians begin recommending that parents introduce eggs as early as six months.