Balut is a controversial food that originated in the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries. It is a developing duck embryo that is boiled and eaten in the shell. While the idea of eating balut may not appeal to everyone, it provides an impressive array of nutrients and health benefits.
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1. High in Protein
Balut is an excellent source of protein, providing around 13-16 grams per serving. Protein contains amino acids that aid muscle growth and development, support bone health, help balance hormones, and boost energy levels.
2. Good Source of Calcium
These boiled duck eggs supply 215 mg of calcium which is 22% of your daily calcium needs. Calcium is essential for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. It also assists in nerve signaling and blood clotting.
3. Rich in Iron
One balut egg contains approximately 5.2 mg of iron which makes up 29% of the recommended daily intake. Iron is necessary for transporting oxygen, regulating body temperature, aiding brain function, and strengthening the immune system.
4. Provides Choline
Choline is an often overlooked nutrient that balut contains. Just one egg has close to 300 mg of choline which is important for liver function, sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory.
5. High Vitamin B12 Levels
Balut is an excellent source of vitamin B12 providing nearly 3 mcg per egg. Vitamin B12 helps form red blood cells, maintain healthy nerve cells, and convert food into energy. B12 deficiency can lead to fatigue and anemia.
6. Contains Vitamin C
While not typically associated with eggs, balut supplies 11% of the daily recommended vitamin C. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant that promotes immunity, boosts collagen production, protects cells, and absorbs iron.
7. Provides Vitamin D
Around 39 IU of vitamin D are found in balut. Also known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D strengthens bones, regulates calcium, assists immunity, and helps control cell growth.
8. May Boost Testosterone
One study indicates balut can increase testosterone levels and sexual health in rats. Higher testosterone may help build muscle mass, increase libido, improve mood, and enhance cognitive function.
9. Rich in Carotenoids
Lutein and zeaxanthin found in balut can help reduce UV damage and lower risks of eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration. These antioxidants support eye health.
10. Contains All Essential Amino Acids
Balut provides a complete protein containing at least 9 essential amino acids not made by the body. Amino acids promote growth, repair tissues, support neurotransmitters, and optimize energy.
While the idea of eating balut is controversial in Western culture, it is valued in the Philippines for its impressive nutritional content and health benefits. This boiled fertilized duck egg can be an excellent addition to a nutrient-dense diet. Overcoming any hesitation and giving it a try may be worthwhile for the health perks it provides.