Having fallen in and out of favor with nutrition experts, you’d think the fragile egg would be broken and beaten by now. Luckily, its ego isn’t nearly as vulnerable as its shell. The egg has managed to remain a nutritious, inexpensive, and popular food.
For awhile, nutrition experts hypothesized that the high cholesterol content of eggs raised blood cholesterol levels, which can increase a person’s risk of heart disease. But this hypothesis was never proven. In fact, several studies have shown that the consumption of eggs is not associated with higher cholesterol levels but is associated with higher nutrient intake.
In 2000, researchers set out to assess the nutritional significance of eggs in the American diet and to estimate the degree of association between egg consumption and cholesterol levels. Their straightforward results were published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition: Eggs make important nutritional contributions to the American diet and their consumption is not associated with high cholesterol levels.
Specifically, the study showed that egg consumers had a higher intake of important nutrients like vitamins B12, A, E, and C than non-egg eaters, and that people who reported eating four or more eggs per week actually had significantly lower average cholesterol levels than those who reported eating zero to one eggs per week.
4 ways eggs can enhance your health:
- Eggs are an excellent source of low-cost, high-quality protein.
One large egg provides more than 6 grams of protein. And the protein is “complete,” providing all nine of the body’s essential amino acids.
- Eggs are one of the best sources of choline.
Found primarily in the egg yolk, one large egg provides 30% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of this essential nutrient, which plays an important role in brain health and the reduction of inflammation. Many people are deficient in choline, which is found in trace amounts of many different foods.
- Eggs are a great food for those trying to lose weight.
Because of the high amount of quality protein in eggs, they make a very satisfying breakfast, which is especially useful for people trying to lose weight. In one study published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (2007), subjects following low-fat, calorie-restricted diets were randomly assigned to one of two breakfasts: a bagel or two eggs. After eight weeks, the egg eaters experienced 65% greater weight loss, 83% greater decrease in waist circumference, and a greater improvement in energy levels compared to the bagel-eating group. Also worth mentioning is that changes in plasma cholesterol and triglycerides did not differ significantly between the two groups. Researchers postulated that eating eggs for breakfast enhanced weight lost and increasing satiety, resulting in better adherence to a weight loss program.
- Eggs protect eyesight.
Egg yolks contain a highly absorbable form of vision-protective carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin, which help to prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Studies published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that eggs increased blood levels of these nutrients without increasing cholesterol or triglyceride levels.