You can’t live without eggs! For most non-vegetarians, eggs are a dietary mainstay. It’s also probably one of the first few foods that you were able to cook by yourself.
Because why not? Eggs are a breakfast staple as well as an ingredient in a lot of sweet and savory food.
However, there is mixed information about eggs - whether they’re good or bad for you. To help settle the debate here’s what you need to know about them.
The stand out reason why eggs are considered bad
Chicken eggs contain about 186 mg of cholesterol, and hearing the word “cholesterol” draws all sorts of bad medical connotations.
People coming from non-medical backgrounds should know that high cholesterol in the blood is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Health institutions, including the American Heart Association, advise no more than 300 mg of cholesterol intake daily. Add up those two bits of information, and any food containing 186 mg of cholesterol might cause concern.
The truth is, eating cholesterol-rich food doesn’t cause your blood cholesterol levels to increase. Our body is more complicated than the straightforward 1:1 domino pattern we imagine! Everything we eat undergoes a lot of processing before entering the bloodstream - some things don’t even make it into the bloodstream.
It is estimated that only 20 percent of your blood cholesterol level comes from your diet. The rest of the cholesterol in your body is produced or recycled by your liver, and if it is being produced by the body itself, then cholesterol must also be good and essential for daily life.
This means we shouldn’t focus on specific foods such as eggs, and specific nutrients such as cholesterol. Instead, we should assess the overall value of our usual diet and keep it balanced.
In 2000, the American Heart Association said that an average intake of 1 egg per day is allowable. This means you can even eat 3 eggs in a day, as long as you only do this twice a week.
The truth is, eggs are champions for your diet
When we stop eating eggs - or throw away those egg yolks, we miss out on these amazing benefits.
1. Eggs are considered a gold standard for protein
Just like milk, eggs contain the highest biological value for protein. This means that you absorb egg protein easier compared to other protein sources. This is why eggs and milk are recommended foods for growing children or people trying to build muscle.
Protein is the building block of the body and it is usually broken down when we are ill or stressed. If you are recovering from an illness, experiencing dullness in your hair and skin, or feeling weak during a workout, try adding eggs to your diet. You might be surprised by the results.
2. Eggs are rich in brain-boosting choline and other B-complex vitamins
Choline is a nutrient that plays an essential role in brain development. It is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is needed for muscle control and memory. It also helps maintain our cell membranes and control inflammatory reactions in our body.
Our body produces a very small amount of choline and it is easy to develop a deficiency if we don’t watch our diets. This may cause memory problems, lethargy and persistent brain fog. Eggs can be a solution as they provide 215 mg of choline per egg yolk.
Eggs also contain almost all B vitamins such as riboflavin (B2), biotin (B7), pantothenic acid (B5), and cobalamin (B12). These work with other nutrients to regulate nerve function, energy metabolism, red blood cell formation, and cell renewal.
3. Lutein and zeaxanthin, found in the egg yolk, are great for maintaining eye health
Your eyes are one of the most stressed organs in the body especially because they need to be exposed to light to perform its function. Light can cause free radical damage on the sensitive parts of the eye. Therefore, your eyes need antioxidants to fight those free radicals and protect themselves from degeneration.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids that act as phytochemicals and antioxidants in the body and are most needed by our eyes. Zeaxanthin is an antioxidant that protects the retina from degeneration. On the other hand, lutein is found in your macular pigment, which helps protect it by absorbing harmful ultraviolet and blue light.
4. The fatty yolk carries fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, & K
Essential fat-soluble vitamins can only come in fatty packages. So why throw out the nutrient-rich egg yolk? Cut out empty-calories, deep-fried foods and high-fat snacks instead.
Vitamin A is essential for normal cell growth and development. It also contributes antioxidant and immune protection for your body. However, it is best known for its role in maintaining good vision.
Vitamin D, otherwise referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” enhances and regulates calcium and phosphorus absorption. This translates to maintaining strong bones, as well as keeping other functions of these minerals - such as blood pH balance and muscle contraction - in check.
Vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant for your body as it protects our cells, tissues, and organs from free radical damage. Good levels of vitamin E also help maintain good skin as it needs protection from exposure to light and harsh environmental factors.
Lastly, Vitamin K plays a key role in blood clotting. This saves you from excessive bleeding whenever you have skin wounds or organ damage.
5. Eggs contain body-regulating minerals such as iron, zinc and selenium
Eggs are rich in iron which help our body metabolize protein. Iron also plays an important role in hemoglobin and red blood cells that deliver oxygen to other cells to help them breathe and function.
Zinc is needed to stimulate proper wound healing. It keeps our immune and digestive systems functioning in top shape. It also helps us control diabetes, maintain taste acuity, regulate energy metabolism, and reduce stress.
The essential trace mineral selenium is also found in eggs. Selenium is important for cognitive function, a healthy immune system, and fertility for both men and women. It also works with vitamin E for antioxidant support, and is needed in higher amounts by pregnant women.
Eggs are usually considered unhealthy because of their fat and cholesterol content. However, they are actually considered a superfood as they contain a lot of nutrients like protein, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. They are also very convenient and practical as part of a healthy diet.
Our focus should be on healthy dietary patterns, not specific foods or nutrients. In conclusion, eggs are good for you if - and this is true for all foods - they are eaten in moderation and balance with other food.