Eggs have been a hot topic for years. Are they healthy? Are they not? Let’s “crack” these misconceptions!
Basic Egg Nutrition:
Eggs are loaded with vitamins and minerals, packed with protein and are only about 70 calories. Let’s take a deeper look into some of eggs key nutrients:
- Protein- Eggs are famous for being the “gold-standard of protein quality”. They contain all nine essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and essential amino acids cannot be made by the body. Protein is going to keep you feeling full and is important for maintaining lean muscle mass.
- Vitamin D- Vitamin D is important for bone health and the immune system.
- Choline– Choline is vital for proper cell functioning and is especially important for infant brain development.
- Lutein, Zeaxanthin, other antioxidants- These can help with eye health, especially in preventing cataracts and macular degeneration.
Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Disease:
This is by far the biggest misconception revolving around eggs. We have been warned to stay away from eggs because they are high in cholesterol and that may lead to cardiovascular disease. While it is true that eggs do contain a large amount of cholesterol, there is a difference between dietary cholesterol and the cholesterol levels in your blood. Cholesterol is important for the body. It’s required for hormones, cells and for proper growth. The liver produces cholesterol and if you are getting enough through diet then the liver will produce less. Eggs will actually improve one’s cholesterol levels. They will raise HDL, “good” cholesterol levels, and increase the size of LDL’s, “bad” cholesterol. These improved “good” and “bad” cholesterol ratios actually decrease one’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
Should You Eat the Yolk?:
Yes! WHOLE eggs can absolutely be part of a healthy diet. Although the yolk does contain all of the fat and cholesterol, it also contains most of the vitamins and minerals as well. As discussed earlier, eggs provide many nutritional benefits that you would not want to miss out on by only eating the whites.
Healthiest Way to Eat an Egg?:
When choosing eggs preparation is key. Try and keep fried eggs, “sunny side up” or “over-easy” eggs to a minimum. These can typically be greasy, cooked in a layer of oil. Keep it simple and stick to hard-boiled, poached or scrambled, but if you’re scrambling watch for added cream or butter. Overall, eggs are cheap, adaptable and tasty- keep eating eggs!
Applegate, Elizabeth. “Nutritional and Functional Roles of Eggs in the Diet .” Journal of the American College of Nutrition, vol. 19
Mahan, Kathleen, and Janice L. Raymond. Krause’s Food & The Nutrition Care Process. 14th ed., Elsevier, 2017)