- Eggs are a nutrient-dense food, rich in protein, vitamin D, and choline. They can also benefit eye health due to the presence of lutein and zeaxanthin in the yolks.
- Although eggs, particularly the yolks, are high in cholesterol, recent dietary guidelines have removed specific limits on daily consumption, suggesting they can be a part of a heart-healthy diet.
- A study suggested that consuming an egg a day can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Individuals at risk for heart disease or with a history of heart problems should monitor their cholesterol intake more closely.
- Eggs should always be properly refrigerated and cooked to lower the risk of salmonella, and those who favor fried eggs should use heart-healthy oils like corn, canola, or olive oil instead of butter or animal fat.
For many, the humble egg is an everyday breakfast staple. Yet due to its nutritional contents, the ongoing debate surrounding their health benefits remains a topical discussion.
Eggs are undeniably a nutrient-dense food. Averaging only at 78 calories each, they’re packed with protein and a variety of vitamins. Particularly, a single large egg boasts around 6 grams of protein. In addition, eggs are rich sources of vital nutrients like vitamin D, which supports bone health and immune system functionality, and choline that aids in metabolism and liver function, not to mention its crucial role in fetal brain development.
How Eggs Benefit Your Eyes
Egg yolks have been found to be beneficial for eye health. They contain significant amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, compounds known to reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which are leading causes of vision loss in aging individuals.
However, eggs, particularly egg yolks, have long been associated with high cholesterol. An average large egg contains 186 milligrams of cholesterol, more than half of the daily consumption previously advised before federal dietary guidelines decided to drop a specific limit due to insufficient scientific evidence in 2015.
The Bright Side of Consuming Eggs
“While eggs remain a source of dietary cholesterol, their inclusion in a heart-healthy diet is becoming more accepted compared to two decades ago,” says Jo Ann Carson, a professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. “It’s entirely reasonable for healthy individuals to consume an egg a day as part of a balanced diet,” she added.
A study published in the journal Heart suggested that consuming an egg a day might just keep you away from the doctor’s clinic. The research involved nearly half a million Chinese adults over nine years and found that eating up to one egg per day led to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
Deciding to Include Eggs in Your Diet
The critical factor, as Carson suggests, is awareness of one’s risk. Individuals at risk for heart disease, those with diabetes or previously suffered a heart attack should be more conscientious about cholesterol intake.
That isn’t to say all cholesterol intake signifies a detrimental health choice. Individuals who have little cholesterol in their diets can consider eggs less harmful. “For someone who opts for a vegetarian diet excluding red meat, eggs might be their only cholesterol source, hence they can probably consume a little more eggs,” advised Carson.
Mentioning dietary safety, eggs should always be properly refrigerated and cooked due to the increased risk of salmonella with raw eggs. Popular ways to cook eggs include boiling, poaching, scrambling, or frying.
The Final Say on Eggs
The American Heart Association suggests a daily intake of one egg (or two egg whites) for egg eaters, incorporated into a nutritiously balanced diet.
Egg whites contain ample protein without the cholesterol found in the yolk. Yet the yolk isn’t wholly bad, as Carson mentions, “There are other beneficial nutrients in the yolk you’ll miss out if you exclude it entirely.”
Additionally, for those who favor fried eggs, Carson recommends using non-tropical vegetable oils like corn, canola, or olive oil. She emphasizes the importance of using heart-healthy oils instead of butter or animal fat when it comes to cooking food, fundamentally reducing the intake of unhealthy fats.