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Are Eggs All They’re Cracked Up to Be?

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The modern world at large has had a pretty weird, up-and-down relationship with eggs for quite some time.

Just the other day, eggs were widely seen as a cholesterol-loaded nightmare, with public health experts warning people off having more than a couple a week. Various swathes of the fitness community got the message, and started wolfing down egg-white only omelettes, throwing out the yolks to protect their hearts.

But science can be tricky, and past assumptions often get turned on their head in big ways. What does the science have to say about eggs? Are they all they’re cracked up to be, or are they worth keeping to a minimum?

Do eggs cause high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease?

A Chinese study published in May 2018, which looked at more than half a million people, found that eating an egg a day was associated with a significantly reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

An Australian study, also from May 2018, found that eating up to 12 eggs per week was not associated with an increase in cardiovascular disease, among test subjects with pre-diabetes and diabetes.

As for the whole cholesterol issue with eggs? Well, it is true that eggs contain dietary cholesterol, but it turns out that dietary cholesterol likely doesn’t have that much to do with blood cholesterol levels.

In fact, even the British Heart Foundation publicly declared in 2015 that the fear of the cholesterol in eggs was a “misconception” stemming from “incorrect conclusions”.

The evidence seems to indicate, pretty clearly, that eggs aren’t likely to cause you cardiovascular issues.

Are eggs nutritious?

In a word, “yes”.

Eggs, as it turns out, are an extremely nutrient-dense food. According to the USDA, one large egg (50g) contains the following.

Macronutrients:

Calories - 78

Protein - 6.29g

Fat - 5.3g

Minerals:

Calcium - 25mg

Iron - 0.59mg

Magnesium - 5mg

Phosphorus - 86mg

Potassium - 63mg

Sodium - 62mg

Zinc - 0.53mg

Vitamins:

Thiamine - 0.033mg

Riboflavin - 0.257mg

Niacin - 0.032mg

Vitamin B6 - 0.06mg

Folate - 22µg

Vitamin B12 - 0.56µg

Vitamin A (RAE) - 74µg

Vitamin E - 0.52mg

Vitamin D - 1.1µg

Vitamin K - 0.1µg

What’s more, the protein found in eggs is widely considered to be some of the most digestible and efficiently-absorbed protein of all, as measured by BV (or “Biological Value”).

Are there any other health benefits to eating eggs?

As mentioned earlier, recent research has found that eating an egg a day is associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

This is a remarkable finding, but other striking suggestions have also been made about the potential health benefits of eating eggs.

One of these is that eggs may have the ability to help protect eyesight, particularly when it comes to fending off macular degeneration.

Lutein and zeaxanthin — antioxidants which are found in eggs — seem to have a protective effect on vision. Research has shown that eating egg yolks can increase the amount of these substances in the body significantly.

Eggs may also help to overcome and stave off various health conditions, due to their high choline content. Choline is a water-soluble nutrient, which is known to play an important role in various elements of mental development and health, pregnancy, heart and organ health.

How should I eat my eggs?

So now you know that eggs are, apparently, a pretty beneficial and healthy food. The next question is, how should you eat them?

Here are a few suggestions.

Breakfast

It’s hard to go wrong with the classic breakfast omelette. Add some cheese and vegetables to the mix, and you’ll have a large helping of protein, fat, and micronutrients to help kickstart your day.

Lunch

For lunch on the go, fried eggs (with the yolk cooked through) make a great addition to any sandwich. Scrambled eggs can also be used for a traditional egg, mayo, and watercress sandwich.

Dinner

If you feel like tucking into your eggs at dinner time, how about using sliced boiled eggs in a large salad, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar? Alternatively, various traditional Mediterranean soups call for egg as an ingredient.

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