Eggs are considered one of the most nutritious foods on our planet. They contain one of the most optimal nutrient profiles of any food out there. It’s no wonder that they are a common breakfast staple for many of us. But, with all the mixed messages surrounding the health benefits and risks of eating eggs, it’s easy to feel unsure about whether or not they’re good for us. In this article, we’ll debunk some of the common myths surrounding eggs and explore some of their most fascinating health benefits.
Eggs are a highly nutritious food that provides a range of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and essential amino acids. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at their nutritional value.
One of the reasons eggs are considered so nutritious is their high protein content. The amount of protein in an egg varies depending on size, with a large egg containing about 6 grams of protein, while jumbo eggs contain around 8 grams. Additionally, the quality of the protein in eggs is what makes them such a great protein source. Eggs are considered a complete protein, meaning they contain all the essential amino acids needed to build and repair tissues. What’s more, eggs have been described as being one of the lowest-cost animal sources of protein, making them a budget-friendly option for those looking to add more high-quality protein to their diet.
Moreover, their nutritional profile depends on the variety of eggs, with pasture-range and free-range eggs typically containing more omega-3s and vitamin D compared to conventionally raised eggs. This is because hens that are free-range or pasture-range spend more time in the sun, are less stressed, and consume a more nutrient-rich diet.
As for the vitamins and minerals in eggs, they sure do pack a punch. They contain a well-balanced variety of micronutrients, including vitamins A, D, E, B12, folate, riboflavin, choline, iron, zinc, and calcium. Choline is especially important because it plays a critical role in brain health and development. While B12, iron, folate, and zinc are vital for the production of red blood cells.
The fat content in eggs is often misinterpreted. While commonly associated with cholesterol and saturated fat, the truth is that eggs are a good source of healthy fats! For instance, one large egg contains 5 grams of fat, but 3 of those grams include mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, also referred to as MUFAs and PUFAs. MUFAs and PUFAs are considered good fats because they can promote heart health and help maintain healthy cholesterol levels that are already within the normal range.
But it doesn't end there. Eggs can be a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain and cardiovascular health.
Unfortunately, eggs have unfairly earned a bad reputation for contributing to cholesterol issues. But, as research has advanced, we’ve learned that the relationship between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol is much more complex than we originally thought. So, let’s dive in and explore some of the truths behind eggs and your health.
For years, it has been a common mantra that if you have high cholesterol, you should avoid eggs altogether, but this is not true! There has been a long-standing belief that eggs raisecholesterol levels because of their own high cholesterol content. However, recent research suggests that this may not be the case. The cholesterol found in eggs is considered dietary cholesterol, which is different from the cholesterol found in your blood. Eating foods that contain dietary cholesterol doesn't necessarily raise your blood cholesterol levels. In fact, the nutrient that has been shown to have the greatest effect on blood cholesterol levels is saturated fat. Thus, saturated fat is what should be minimized in the diet to help keep cholesterol levels within a normal range. Cholesterol gets a bad rep but it is important to maintain healthy hormone levels as cholesterol is usually the backbone used to make several hormones in the body. Always be sure to review your lab work with your doctor to figure out the best path forward as an individual.
It’s important to keep in mind that individual responses to egg consumption can vary. For instance, some people may experience digestive issues after eating them. Additionally, anyone with an allergy to eggs should avoid eggs and any of their byproducts.
Recommendations as to how many eggs you can eat daily will depend on the individual and their health. In general, eating one egg per day is considered safe and beneficial for most people. This study found that consuming one egg per day did not increase the risk of heart-related conditions in healthy individuals. Additionally, this study mentions that the potential benefits of eggs shouldn’t be ignored just because of their dietary cholesterol content. Eggs are a good source of protein that can help increase satiety, which can result in improved weight management and a positive impact on heart health.
There are a few key differences when it comes to egg whites versus whole eggs. Because of the long-standing myths about yolks containing cholesterol, so many people opt for eating just egg whites. But, this is an unfortunate substitution, as so many of the nutrients in eggs come from the yolk!
Let’s break down the key differences between egg whites and whole eggs. First, egg whites are lower in fat and higher in protein, which can make them a good option for those looking to limit their fat intake or increase their protein intake. This makes them a popular choice for making egg white omelets or other dishes where you may be adding dietary fat in other ways.
However, egg whites are lacking so many of the nutrients that egg yolks provide. The egg yolk contains choline, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids which are important components of a healthy diet.
You can also include a combination of egg whites and whole eggs, incorporating 2 or 3 egg whites with 1 yolk. That way, you are getting a powerful boost of protein, but still benefiting from the important nutrients found in the yolk.
Due to the wide range of nutrients that eggs contain, they offer a number of potential health benefits.
Since eggs are a good source of lean protein, they can contribute to feelings of fullness and satisfaction. This is because protein is a macronutrient that takes longer to digest, which means it can help keep you feeling fuller for longer periods of time, especially if it’s paired with a source of fiber.
Additionally, the protein found in eggs can also promote muscle growth and mass when combined with resistance training. As we mentioned earlier, eggs contain all the essential amino acids necessary for muscle synthesis, making them a great choice for those looking to build or maintain muscle. Fascinatingly, this study also mentions that when eggs are paired with exercise, they can promote anti-fatigue effects.
We’ve touched upon the effects of choline earlier, but its health benefits cannot be understated. The choline in eggs has been found to support brain health by helping to create neurotransmitters that play a critical role in regulating mood, memory, and intelligence.
Moreover, eggs contain a powerful carotenoid known as lutein. Lutein has impressive antioxidant effects that have been shown to possibly enhance gap junction communications in the brain, which can help maintain cognitive health.
Lastly, the protein in eggs can support healthy hair and skin by providing the building blocks for collagen production. In addition, the eggshell membrane can also provide benefits for skin and hair. Of course, it’s not recommended to consume the shells of eggs, thus the beneficial components are commonly added to dietary supplements, such as Care/of’s Veg Collagen. This product is made from eggshell membranes, which contain collagen, hyaluronic acid, and other compounds that can promote skin hydration and elasticity while simultaneously stimulating hair and nail growth.
The main reason behind eggs’ role in bone health is their vitamin D content. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that is required for the body to absorb calcium and regulate bone mineral density. There are so few foods that naturally contain vitamin D, but some eggs do. Some eggs, depending on the variety and hens' diet, will naturally contain vitamin D, while others are often fortified with it. Additionally, the lutein found in eggs has been shown to have favorable effects on eye health.
As with any food or ingredient, moderation is key. Some studies suggest that consuming too many eggs may increase the risk of certain health issues. However, these risks may vary depending on the health status of the individual and their overall diet. In moderation, eggs can be a nutrient-dense food that can be a great addition to a healthy diet. The best lifestyle practices for optimal health include a variety of factors, such as a proper diet, regular exercise, stress management, hydration, and adequate sleep.
Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on this planet. They are a good source of protein, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals, including choline, B12, and vitamin D. Incorporating eggs into your diet can provide you with several health benefits, including supporting bone health, vision, and brain function, as well as assisting in weight management. Although some studies suggest that consuming too many eggs may increase the risk of certain health issues; in moderation, eggs can be a wonderful addition to a healthy diet.