9 excellent reasons to eat more eggs

Jill Bridges, SATI STAFF

Eggs can be found in just about anyone’s refrigerator, but how many of us truly appreciate the huge amount of nutrition they provide? Chicken’s eggs are one of the cheapest and most wholesome sources of protein around, for one. They also come packed with vitamins and healthy fats — no surprise given their role in nurturing young chicks.

Certain people should limit their intake of whole eggs, but regardless of your health, there are plenty of healthy ways to incorporate eggs in your daily diet. Eggs can be conveniently added to almost any meal without adding any unwanted flavors. They are also incredibly cheap, making them one of the most cost-effective and versatile sources of nutrition available.

Additionally, many of the health controversies surrounding eggs, including warnings of cholesterol intake, have been recanted by the medical community. Instead, eggs have come to be embraced as an effective and accessible source of critical nutrients.

So put down that pitchfork and pick up a whisk as we tell you some interesting facts about eggs, including why they really aren’t “bad for you” and their nine biggest health benefits.

Are eggs bad for you?

The easy answer to this question is an emphatic “no.” By working with their doctor, eggs can easily be enjoyed by almost anyone who does not have an allergic reaction to them. Certain people must take care to limit their whole egg consumption or egg white consumption based on dietary needs and health goals. These groups include those with heart disease, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and similar conditions.

Yet, anyone can see the nutritious trade-off the fats and cholesterol in eggs provide. For one thing, those who need more omega-3 fatty acids in their diet can find them reliably and cheaply in certain fortified eggs. Since these acids actually help remove blood triglycerides, they can offset the minimal fats and calories a whole egg has [1].

Eggs are also a highly affordable source of “complete” protein. Our body can only produce 12 of the 20 amino acids needed build every single type of cell protein. That fact means that the other eight have to come from somewhere else, and eggs have all eight of them [2]!

What about eggs and cholesterol?

The cholesterol eggs contain does not raise negative biomarkers of heart health nearly as much as once claimed. In fact, studies show that 70 percent of individuals’ blood cholesterol levels are unaffected by eating several eggs a day, yolk and all [3]. The 30 percent that are affected by egg yolks can still often obtain the benefits of eating whole eggs when working in coordination with their doctor’s recommendations.

Furthermore, the old recommendation of the American Heart Association to limit consumption of cholesterol to 300 mg per day — which would mean less than two eggs — has been effectively lifted [4]. Instead, the AHA recommends that individuals limit their consumption of saturated fats to five to six percent of their total calorie intake [5]. Since one egg contains just 1.5 grams of saturated fat, you would have to eat 80 of them in a day to surpass this recommendation, based on a 2,000 calorie diet [6].

So, just to reiterate, eggs can contribute a host of important nutrients the body needs and that many people may find difficulty getting elsewhere. For those interested in learning more, read on to discover the biggest nine health benefits of eggs.

1. A complete source of protein

As mentioned above, eggs are an excellent and inexpensive source of complete proteins. The World Health Organization even uses the chicken egg as a benchmark for quality of protein content. A single whole poached egg contains 6.3 grams of protein, or 13 percent of the daily value [6]. It also contains all eight of the amino acids our body needs to make proteins but cannot produce on its own.

Our body uses amino acids to form proteins. Proteins have a huge role in our bodies’ functioning. They form structural components for nearly every tissue. They digest our food in the form of enzymes. White blood cells use protein to attack and destroy infecting cells, running our immune system. Proteins help regulate brain activity and transport nutrients, waste and molecules throughout our body [7].

Basically, we could not survive without functioning proteins. We need to constantly build new ones to replace others or to add to the overall number of cells available to do work, such when the body builds muscle tissue. Eating protein-rich foods like eggs ensures our bodies can continue to make the needed proteins and function as it should.

2. Relatively low in calories

A single poached, whole egg has a quite low calorie count of 71 [6]. Considering all the flavor that comes with it, this makes eggs one of the more satisfying low-calorie foods to eat, making them perfect to add to other meals.

Eating just the egg white, either cooked by itself or mixed in with other foods, offers just 17 calories [8], making them even better for low-calorie and low-fat diets that need to add protein. Egg whites make a great addition to many meals, and can be used as an important binder to create sauces, casseroles and even some baked goods with a surprisingly low fat and calorie count.

However, note that along with most of the calories, cholesterol and fat, egg yolks also contain the majority of desirable nutrients. Speaking of which…

3. Whole eggs are ridiculously nutritious

Looking at a single poached, whole egg, you would obtain 23 percent of your recommended daily value of selenium [6]. You also get over ten percent of your daily needed phosphorous, vitamin B12 and riboflavin. Eggs are also an excellent source of choline, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids, all of which we will get into later.

Additionally, eggs provide a fairly substantial source of vitamin A, vitamin D, folate, iron and more, in addition to the aforementioned essential amino acids. Eating eggs can help you add these incredibly important nutrients to your diet in a low-calorie package.

Just make sure to leave the yolk if more-complete nutrition is what you want! Although egg yolks contain 99 percent of the fat and 76 percent of the calories, they also have the higher concentration of nutrients [8]. As a portion of the total egg, the yolk contains:

  • 91% of the calcium
  • 94% of the iron
  • 93% of the phosphorous
  • Almost 100% of the zinc
  • 97% of the thiamin
  • 62% of the copper
  • 97% of the vitamin B6
  • 95% of the folate
  • 92% of the vitamin B12
  • 100% of the vitamin A, E, D, K and the carotenoids

4. The cholesterol in eggs doesn’t lead to “bad” cholesterol

There is that dreaded “c” word again! What most people do not realize about cholesterol is that eating dietary cholesterol is not necessarily the direct cause of artery plaque buildup. In fact, a review of clinical studies found no correlation between the amount of cholesterol eaten in foods and the risk of heart attack or stroke [9].

Eggs help the body create more HDL, which helps lower the number of LDL in the bloodstream while helping the body regulate cholesterol levels in general. Evidence shows that eating two whole, boiled eggs a day can boost the blood’s content of HDL by 10 percent [10]. LDL levels usually stay the same, while blood cholesterol increased slightly.

Furthermore, eating eggs can also help the body maintain larger LDLs, which are less prone to adhering to artery walls and also less susceptible to oxidation damage [11]. Put together, the minor health consequences of eating eggs are offset in most people with healthy cardiovascular benefits!

5. Eggs contain omega-6, and some contain omega-3

Omega-6 fatty acids cannot be made by the body, but they can be found in certain foods like egg yolks. These healthy fatty acids help the body grow new hair and skin in addition to regulating brain functions and normal cell replacement [12]. Eating omega-6 may also help certain people with rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes-related neuropathy manage their inflammation and pain.

Some eggs have also been enriched with omega-3 fatty acids, which can regulate cell membrane transport, making our metabolism and immune system function better [13]. These acids also play an integral role in helping avoid inflammation and maintain regular heart functioning. Combined, the fatty acids found in some types of eggs can boost your body’s functioning, helping you maintain healthy skin and hair while feeling less pain and more energy.

6. The protein in eggs makes them quite filling

Our bodies use many different physiological regulators when deciding whether to send hunger signals to our brain. For instance, if we eat a lot of sugar and carbohydrates, a vicious cycle emerges where spikes in blood sugar are followed by crashes, triggering the body to demand more food [14].

Proteins on the other hand, alongside dietary fiber, help us feel full without skyrocketing our hormone regulation. Adding protein-rich foods like eggs to a meal can therefore curb appetite for longer, even though eggs have a lower overall calorie count. Eggs are rated highly on the “satiety index,” which is a measure of how full the food makes you feel and for how long [15]. Those trying to reduce their calorie count and avoid snacking on unhealthy foods can therefore enjoy more eggs alongside fruits, veggies and nuts.

7. Eggs have potent antioxidants that are good for vision and immunity

The yellow color in egg yolks comes from pigmenting compounds called carotenoids. These compounds can be found in orange and yellow foods, including squashes, lemons, persimmons, mangoes and, as the name phonetically implies, carrots. The body can break these compounds down into vitamin A and potent antioxidants [16].

Two specific carotenoid compounds in eggs — lutein and zeaxanthin — accumulate in our retinas. The body uses these antioxidants to prevent damage to critical eye cells, including the results of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Put another way, eating eggs can give the body both compounds, which helps prevent age-related eye damage and conditions like cataracts [17]. One study found that eating three egg yolks a day can increase levels of lutein in blood by 28 to 50 percent and zeaxanthin by 114 to 142 percent, indicating significant benefits for eyesight.

Furthermore, antioxidants prevent certain types of cell and tissue damage, like the kind described above where LDLs become damaged and leave plaque on artery walls. Although no study has drawn a conclusion between egg-derived antioxidants and reduced cancer rate, adding antioxidants to your diet can potentially help reduce health conditions related to cancer, heart disease and inflammation.

8. May help manage certain markers of metabolic syndrome

Eggs that come from pastured hens or that have been enriched with omega-3 can help the body reduce its level of blood triglycerides, which are essentially a type of fat carried in your bloodstream. High levels of blood triglycerides are considered a component of metabolic syndrome and a marker for high risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and other conditions [18].

Growers can enrich eggs with omega-3 fatty acids by adding fish oil to chicken feed. These eggs, as well as eggs from pastured hens, can significantly lower blood triglyceride levels, helping people maintain their health and lower their risk of associated diseases. One study determined that eating just five omega-3 enriched eggs a week can reduce blood triglycerides by 16 to 18 percent [19].

On top of that, eating whole eggs in general can help improve insulin sensitivity and the amount of plasma insulin [20]. These results indicate positive effects for people trying to improve their condition related to metabolic syndrome. However, those with diabetes should consult with their doctor about the appropriate level of whole eggs in their weekly diet.

9. A great source of the hard-to-find nutrient choline

Choline is a nutrient that helps the body regulate its cell membranes and signalling functions. For instance, acetylcholine helps transmit nerve signals to muscles and organs, keeping our heart beating and our legs moving. Unfortunately, an estimated 90 percent of the U.S. population does not get enough choline in their diet [21].

Eating eggs as part of a regular diet can provide an important supplemental source of choline, supplying 100 grams of it in a single whole egg [22]. Research also shows that choline may help reduce the risk of fatty liver disease and improve the memory of newborns when mothers ingest plenty of choline while pregnant.

The choline in eggs can also improve metabolisms, immune response and cell functioning in general. Eggs may therefore be an integral part of any diet since they are a primary source of choline for Americans.

10. Potentially good for hair and skin

Eggs have many substances in them that can help improve the health of your skin, nails and hair while avoiding the negative consequences of certain dietary deficiencies.

For one, eggs contain plenty of dietary protein, which is used to create amino acids that serve as the building blocks for keratin, the protein in hair, skin and nails. Diets low in protein can lead to complications like weak, brittle hair [23].

Additionally, eggs supply vitamin B12 and vitamin B7, or biotin. A study of women with brittle nails found that supplementing their diet with biotin could improve nail thickness by as much as 25 percent [24]. Biotin deficiency has also been associated with hair loss, making getting enough biotin an important dietary component for those worried about thinning hair. At least one study found positive, effective results from giving supplementary biotin to women with thinning hair [25].

As for vitamin B12, it is a critical vitamin not only for hair, skin and nail growth but for metabolic functioning in general. A report from Harvard health found that deficiencies were hard to detect but could lead to weakness, tingling sensations in extremities and even hallucinations [26].

The Sati line

People who want to have an optimal diet must work in collaboration with their primary care provider, any specialists they see and potentially a nutritionist. Those with chronic health conditions like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome and similar issues should especially consult their doctor when planning their diet.

That said, here are some general guidelines to adding eggs to your diet while staying healthy, which include eating whole eggs when possible since yolks provide the majority of nutrition and consuming greasy foods commonly associated with eggs in moderation, including bacon, sausage and hashed potatoes. Instead, you can add fresh or cooked veggies or eat hard-boiled eggs on top of a salad

Also, exercise regularly in conjunction with a healthy, balanced diet that includes eggs for optimal results!

If you follow these guidelines and work with your doctor, you have a much better chance of getting fit, building muscle, staying healthy and reducing your risk of certain diseases. So go ahead and crack open a tasty, nutritious egg and enjoy all the healthy benefits it can offer!


References
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