It is the best of foods; it is the worst of foods. It’s been heralded as a super food once or twice, then scorned as a cholesterol-laden poison. So, what is truth and what is farce when it comes to the simple egg? Nature’s most simple meal, eggs have been eaten since the beginning of human history. Used in a huge variety of recipes as well as eaten alone, the egg is a rich source of protein and is very easy to obtain. Should you make eggs a regular part of your diet? It depends on whom you ask.
The Truth About Cholesterol
One large egg averages between 63-84 calories (sources vary widely). It contains 186- 213 mg of cholesterol (source vary here too) and approximately 6 grams of fat. Eating too much cholesterol will adversely affect your heart and may lead to high cholesterol levels and heart disease. One who suffers from high cholesterol may not want to eat a dozen eggs per week. According to Dr. Thomas Behrenbeck of the Mayo Clinic, eating four or fewer egg yolks weekly shouldn’t put you at an increased risk for heart disease (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cholesterol/HQ00608).
A healthy human should keep their daily dietary cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams. Someone with diabetes or heart disease should limit their cholesterol intake to less than 200 milligrams daily. One egg weighs in very close to that limit. So, if you have cholesterol problems or heart disease, it would be wise to limit your egg intake and be conscious of how much dietary cholesterol you are consuming daily. If you absolutely love eggs and can’t part with them, consider egg whites instead of yolks. Moderation is key.
Yet the Benefits Outweigh Everything Else
Eggs are rich in vitamins, bursting with Vitamins B12, B2, B5, Selenium, and Tryptophan. These compounds work together to keep your body functioning well. The protein found in eggs will keep you full longer, potentially aiding in weight loss. As part of a healthy diet, eggs are a true super food.
Www.Healthdiaries.com lists a variety of interesting health benefits from eggs (http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/10-health-benefits-of-eggs.html). Eggs may benefit your eyes and reduce your risk of developing cataracts. Eggs help regulate your cardiovascular system, brain, and nervous system. Eggs promote healthy hair and nail growth too. That’s a lot for such a small food.
Eggs also supply a much needed dose of choline. According to www.whfoods.com, 90% or more of Americans don’t get enough choline in their daily diets (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=92). Pregnant women should be especially aware of this, since choline in needed for healthy brain and memory development. Choline is needed for cellular health in people of all ages and a deficiency can lead to fatty liver and hemorrhagic kidney necrosis. In children and adults alike, choline can help improve the memory.
The Best Eggs of All
Eggs are inexpensive and readily available. Yet much of what is available at the grocery store comes from commercially farmed chickens. While still nutritious, there is an even better option. Organic, home-grown (or free-range and purchased from your local health food store or farmer’s market) eggs are much richer in nutrients than their commercially-raised alternatives.
According to a study by “Mother Earth News,” pasture-raised chickens produce eggs that have 2/3 times more vitamin A than commercially produced eggs. These eggs also have twice the omega-3 fatty acids, three times more vitamin E, and seven times more beta carotene. Not to mention, non-commercial chickens produce eggs that have 1/3 less cholesterol. If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, this is good news! They also have fewer toxins, are less likely to be infected with salmonella, and taste phenomenal.
The egg is a simple yet healthy way to start your day. The benefits are innumerable. Crack one open today and pave your way toward better health.