10 good reasons to eat eggs.
Eggs are amongst the limited number of foods that I would classify as “superfoods.”
They are full with nutrients, some of which are rare in our modern diet. Here are 10 health benefits of eggs that have been established in human studies:
1. Eggs Are Extraordinarily Nutritious
Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet.
A whole egg contains all the nutrients required to turn a single cell into a baby chicken.
A single large boiled egg contains:
Vitamin A: 6% of the RDA.
Folate: 5% of the RDA.
Vitamin B5: 7% of the RDA.
Vitamin B12: 9% of the RDA.
Vitamin B2: 15% of the RDA.
Phosphorus: 9% of the RDA.
Selenium: 22% of the RDA.
Eggs also contain reasonable amounts of Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium and Zinc.
This is packaged with less than 80 calories, 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of healthy fats. Eggs also contain various other trace nutrients that are important for our health.
Preferably you should purchase pastured or Omega-3 enriched eggs, as these are even better. They have more Omega-3s and are much higher in Vitamin A and E.
2. Eggs are high in cholesterol, but they don't cause high cholesterol
A single egg contains 212 mg of cholesterol, which is over two thirds of the
recommended daily intake of 300 mg. However, cholesterol in the diet doesn’t necessarily raise cholesterol in the blood.
The liver in fact produces large amounts of cholesterol every single day. When we eat more eggs, the liver just produces less cholesterol instead, so it balances out.
The response to egg consumption varies between individuals:
In 70% of people, eggs don’t raise cholesterol at all.
In the other 30% (termed “hyper responders”), eggs may mildly raise Total and LDL (bad) cholesterol.
However, as I will outline later in the blog, the situation is a bit more complicated than that and these changes are in fact advantageous.
3. Eggs help increase HDL (‘good’) cholesterol
HDL stands for High Density Lipoprotein. It is often known as the “good” cholesterol.
People who have higher levels of HDL usually have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and various other health problems.
Eating eggs is a great way to increase HDL. In one study, 2 eggs per day for 6 weeks increased HDL levels by 10%.
4. Eggs contain Choline – Most of us don’t get enough of it in our diets
This is an extremely important substance and is often grouped with the B vitamins. Choline is used to build cell membranes and has a role in producing signalling molecules in the brain, together with various other functions.
Dietary surveys have shown that about 90% of people in the USA are getting less than the recommended amount of choline. The data for Europe is very likely to resemble that of the USA.
Whole eggs are an excellent source of choline. A single egg contains more than 100 mg it.
5. Eggs convert LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol
It is well establish that having high levels of LDL is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
But what many people don’t realize is that there are subtypes of LDL that have to do
with the size of the particles. There are small, dense LDL particles and then there are large fluffy LDL particles.
Many studies have shown that people who have predominantly small, dense LDL particles have a higher risk of heart disease than people who have mostly large fluffy LDL particles.
Even if eggs tend to slightly raise LDL cholesterol in some individuals, studies show that the particles change from small, dense to large fluffy LDL… which is beneficial.
NMR lipid testing is one of the newest methods available for testing your cholesterol.
6. Eggs contain Antioxidants that benefit eye health
One of the consequences of ageing is that eyesight tends to get worse.
There are several nutrients that help offset some of the degenerative processes that can affect our eyes. Two of these are named Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which are powerful antioxidants that tend to build up in the retina of the eye.
Studies show that consuming adequate amounts of these nutrients can significantly reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, two very common eye disorders.
Egg yolks in fact contain large amounts of both Lutein and Zeaxanthin.
In one controlled trial, eating just 1.3 egg yolks per day for one month increased blood levels of Lutein by 28-50% and Zeaxanthin by 114-142%.
Eggs are also high in Vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency is the most common cause of blindness in the world.
7.Eggs can reduce triglycerides
It not only important what we eat but also what our food eats. In this respect, not all eggs are created equally. Their nutrient composition varies based on how the hens were fed and raised.
Eggs from hens that are raised on pasture and/or fed Omega-3 enriched feeds tend to be richer in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce triglycerides levels in blood, a well establish risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Studies show that consuming Omega-3 enriched eggs is a very effective way to reduce triglycerides in the blood. In one of the studies, just 5 omega-3 enriched eggs per week for 3 weeks reduced triglycerides by nearly 20%.
8. Eggs are high in quality proteins
Proteins are the main building blocks of the human body. They’re used to make all sorts of tissues and molecules that serve both structural and functional purposes.
Getting enough protein in the diet is very important and studies show that currently recommended amounts may be too low. Eggs are an exceptional source of protein, with a single large egg containing 6 grams.
Eggs contain all the essential amino acids in the right ratios, so our bodies are well equipped to make full use of the protein in them.
Amongst other benefits, eating adequate protein can help with weight loss, increase muscle mass, lower blood pressure and optimize bone health.
9. Eggs may reduce the risk of stroke
For many decades, eggs have been exposed to bad rep. It has been claimed that because of the cholesterol in them, they must be bad for the heart. However, many studies published in recent years have examined the relationship between egg consumption and the risk of heart disease and found no evidence to that effect.
In one review of 17 studies with over a quarter of a million participants, no link was found between egg consumption and cardiovascular disease or stroke. Many other studies have led to the same conclusion.
However, some studies have found that people with diabetes who eat eggs have an increased risk of heart disease.
Whether the eggs are actually behind the increased risk is not known, because these types of studies can only show statistical association. They cannot prove that eggs are responsible because, for example, it is possible that on average diabetics who eat eggs are less health conscious.
On a low-carb diet, which is by far the best diet for diabetics, eating eggs leads to improvements in risk factors for heart disease
10. Eating eggs can help lose weight
Eggs are incredibly fulfilling because they are a high protein which is by far the most
Eggs score high on a scale called the Satiety Index, which measures the ability of foods to induce feelings of fullness and reduce subsequent calorie consumption.
In one study of 30 overweight women, eating eggs instead of bagels for breakfast increased feelings of fullness and made them eat fewer calories for the next 36 hours.
In another study, replacing a bagel breakfast with an egg breakfast caused substantial weight loss over a period of 8 weeks.
Studies clearly show that eating up to 3 whole eggs per day is perfectly safe for most people.
There is no evidence that going beyond that is harmful, it is just “uncharted territory” as it yet to be studies.
I personally eat as many as 15 whole eggs per week and my health has never been better.
Apart from being very nutritious eggs are also cheap, easy to prepare, go with almost any food and taste great.