Several years ago, it was learned that eggs contain a high level of cholesterol. Therefore people believed that eating eggs will cause hardening or narrowing of the arteries, a disease known as atherosclerosis. As a result, health experts advised against over-consumption of eggs to protect the coronary arteries and the heart.
However, recent studies have indicated that there is no connection between egg consumption and atherosclerosis. It was also revealed that blood cholesterol level is not determined by eating the cholesterol from food.
Consequently, health organizations such as the British Heart Foundation, American Heart Association, and Food Standards Agency do not recommend a limit to the number of eggs an individual should eat in a day as long as they do not have any health condition related to high cholesterol and the healthy fats in their bloodstream are normal.
Eggs can now be eaten every day as a part of a healthy, balanced diet. Further research shows that it is better to avoid eating the egg yolks but only the egg whites instead, because egg whites contain zero cholesterol and are low in fat but rich in protein and minerals. It is also healthier to boil the eggs, rather than frying them, because it does not use any oil or fat.
Moreover, other studies indicated that it is necessary to consider the saturated fat content of eggs rather than its cholesterol content to keep normal level of blood cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease.
It is a common knowledge there are two types of cholesterol, one is LDL cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol, is related to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, while HDL cholesterol, more popularly known as the good cholesterol, helps lessen the possibility of any threatening heart disease.
Because cholesterol and saturated fats are frequently seen together in the same type of foods, people got confused which among them is responsible for increasing the blood cholesterol level. After conducting several studies, it was proven the high saturated fats cause LDL cholesterol to rise, whereas dietary cholesterol has very little effect. Surprisingly, eggs contain high level of cholesterol but very low saturated fat. Hence, eggs have negligible effect on building up blood cholesterol. As a matter of fact, eating eggs may help increase HDL (good) cholesterol, which offsets the effects of LDL cholesterol on reducing the risk of heart disease.
Health Benefits of Eggs
Eggs are known as excellent sources of proteins and unsaturated fats as well as vitamin D, vitamin B12, and minerals like folate and riboflavin. Additionally, egg yolks are found to have tryptophan and tyrosine, two different amino acids that have high level of antioxidant properties.
Additionally, eggs are found to have lutein, zeaxanthin, and choline. Lutein and zeaxanthin help prevent vision problems such as blurry eyesight, macular degeneration, and cataract, while choline aids in improving memory, mental alertness, and body metabolism as well as brain development of babies during pregnancy. Choline also assists in the reduction of fat buildup in liver and repairs certain types of neurological damage.
Researchers discovered that eggs contain antioxidant properties that encourage the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Two raw egg yolks are found to have almost twice antioxidant properties as those found in a piece of apple. However, these antioxidant properties are reduced to half when the eggs are fried, boiled, or microwaved. Therefore, researchers suggest eating egg yolks in their raw form.
Eggs are one of the very few foods that have natural vitamin D. Eggs are also excellent source of vitamin B12, which is important for proper functioning of the nerve cells.
Furthermore, eggs are found to prevent breast cancer. A study conducted observed that women who ate six eggs for a week had less possibility of breast cancer.