Egg is an encapsulated source of macro and micronutrients that meet all requirements to support embryonic development until hatching. The perfect balance and diversity in its nutrients along with its high digestibility and its affordable price has put the egg in the spotlight as a basic food for humans. However, egg still has to face many years of nutritionist recommendations aiming at restricting egg consumption to limit cardiovascular diseases incidence. Most experimental, clinical, and epidemiologic studies concluded that there was no evidence of a correlation between dietary cholesterol brought by eggs and an increase in plasma total-cholesterol. Egg remains a food product of high nutritional quality for adults including elderly people and children and is extensively consumed worldwide. In parallel, there is compelling evidence that egg also contains many and still-unexplored bioactive compounds, which may be of high interest in preventing/curing diseases. This review will give an overview of (1) the main nutritional characteristics of chicken egg, (2) emerging data related to egg bioactive compounds, and (3) some factors affecting egg composition including a comparison of nutritional value between eggs from various domestic species.
Keywords: bioactivity; chicken egg; digestion; food; health; nutrients; variability.