Beta-carotene, Lycopene Absorption Aided by Eggs

By Rhona S. | Updated: Oct 14, 2020

Beta-carotene, Lycopene Absorption Aided by Eggs
General Information
  • 27 May 2015
  • USA
  • Purdue University
  • Wayne Campbell
  • Cohort
  • 16 men
  • 10 hours

A team of researchers from Purdue University recently published the exciting results of a new study, which sheds light on a new way to maximize nutrient absorption. Specifically, they assessed the impact of eating eggs - commonly added to vegetable salads - on the body's ability to absorb carotenoids, which include compounds like lutein, lycopene, or the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene.

The Study

This study was based on a nutritional intervention among 16 young, healthy men, who were fed the same raw vegetable salad with 3 grams of canola oil. However, the participants were divided into three groups: the first one was the control group, and ate salad without eggs. The second group consumed their salad with 75 grams of scrambled eggs (the equivalent of one and a half eggs), and were termed the "low egg" group. The third group ate their salad with 150 grams of scrambled eggs (made from three eggs), and were termed the "high egg" group. The eggs used all contained the yolk. The carotenoid levels of all men were measured with hourly blood tests over the course of 10 hours.

The Results

The study found that the "high egg" group - or those who consumed three eggs with their salad - showed higher levels of carotenoids in their blood samples when compared to those who were given fewer eggs or no eggs at all.

What Does This Mean?

Given the general lack of vegetables in the Western diet, and the difficulty many people experience in reaching their "five servings a day" dietary goal, this research may provide new ways to make the most out of the veggies that are consumed. However, the parameters of the study were rather restrictive and the study sample was small, so the jury is still out on whether three eggs a day is an ideal dietary recommendation for all: the study only included healthy men, so results could be different among those looking for active weight loss or suffering from underlying coronary disease. 

Tasty salad ingredients containing carotenoids include tomato, which is rich in lycopene, and carrot, which is full of beta-carotene. For more health-smart combinations like this, check out 4 food pairings to maximize nutrient absorption.