Peel a boiled egg, break it open, and you will detect the distinct boiled eggs sulfur smell. Now foods do not contain sulfur (symbol S) in its elemental form. Rather, they contain compounds that include sulfur in their composition. What sulfur-containing compounds do we find in hens’ fruit? In themselves, they are nutritious—even essential—compounds.
Boiled Eggs Sulfur Smell: Amino Acids
Eggs contain proteins such as albumin. Proteins are amino acids that have joined together. Amino acids are nutritious chemicals that contain nitrogen. Most amino acids do not contain sulfur. However, two do contain sulfur in addition to nitrogen—methionine and cysteine. In fact, they contain nitrogen and sulfur in equal amounts. The chemical formula of methionine is C₅H₁₁NO₂S. Cysteine is C₃H₇NO₂S.
Boiled Eggs Sulfur Smell: Vitamin B₁ Thiamin
The human body does not produce its own thiamin. Only plant life produces it. This sulfur-containing vitamin is essential to life. Deficiencies can lead to serious ailments, including beriberi. Thiamin, like proteins and their constituent component amino acids, contains nitrogen. Its chemical formula also includes sulfur: C₁₂H₁₇N₄OS⁺.
Is Sulfur Bad for You?
Although some consider eggs, at least in any sizable quantity undesirable in their diet, sulfur is essential to human existence. Other foods rich in sulfur such as onions and garlic—are openly acknowledged excellent dietary supplements. Boiled eggs contain about 180 milligrams sulfur in a 55-gram egg. This translates roughly to 1/3 of 1 percent.
The amount of protein the average person (who is not malnourished) consumes probably contains sufficient sulfur. The eating of large quantities of eggs—indeed the eating of any eggs—is not essential to well being. In eggs’ defense, neither do most of us need to avoid them, except, perhaps, for reasons of social acceptance.
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