Nutrition Experts Explain Why Eggs Are One of the Best Things You Can Eat

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From good housekeeping
Health experts have been waging a scientific war against each other over the true nutritional value of eggs for years. The battle always depends on how the cholesterol in eggs affects our health, as research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2019 highlighted a link between eggs and an increased risk of heart disease and a shorter lifespan. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new nutritional guidelines for Americans continue to claim they are part of a healthy diet on a weekly basis.
Are eggs actually worthy of their health, you might ask? It all depends on how much you eat. The 2019 review depends on data obtained from people who eat more than a dozen eggs per week. So unless you are consuming three or four eggs a day, don't throw away your cardboard boxes just yet. According to the latest data review from Harvard University's School of Public Health, which analyzed data from 215,000 men and women over a 34-year period, the best amount may be closer to one each day. The vast majority of these people had no impact on their risk of stroke or cardiovascular disease in general unless they had a previous condition such as type 2 diabetes. These results were similar to a cholesterol opinion published in 2019 by the American Heart Association.
One of the best sources of protein in your kitchen, eggs are full of essential nutrients like vitamins A, D, B12, and an under-the-radar essential known as choline. They are also an inexpensive and versatile staple food. So don't let misconceptions about cholesterol or saturated fat stop you from making them for breakfast, brunch, or brinner! The following highlight the best health benefits of eggs. Plus, we tackle all the egg chatter with a list of FAQs - including what you really need to know about egg whites.
Egg nutrition statistics
A large egg contains the following, according to the USDA:
72 calories
0 g of carbohydrates
6 g protein
5 g total fat
1.5 g saturated fat (8% DV)
0 g fiber
0 g of sugar
69 mg potassium (1% DV)
6 mg magnesium (1% DV)
28 mg calcium
0.8 mg iron (3% DV)
99 mg of phosphorus
0.08 mg vitamin B6 (5% DV)
0.45 µg vitamin B12 (10% DV)
270 IU of vitamin A.
41 IU vitamin D (11% DV)
What Are The Health Benefits Of Eating Eggs?
They promote brain health. Eggs are full of choline, an essential nutrient that is vital to healthy memory, mood, and muscle control, says Michelle Hoeing Bauche, MS, RDN, a clinical nutritionist in the University of Missouri's Health System Department of Bariatric Services. "Choline is part of the B vitamin family ... and is pretty 'new' compared to other nutrients that have been studied and researched," she says. "Consuming choline through foods like eggs can actually help prevent cardiovascular disease, premature brain dysfunction like dementia, and fatty liver disease."
But you won't get Cholin's health advantage simply by taking nutritional supplements. Bauche says that some research shows that choline alone doesn't have much of an effect on preventing these conditions, most likely "because most nutrients work synergistically and rarely alone." It is best to include foods rich in choline in the regular rotation in the kitchen. Eggs and other dairy products are the best source, according to Bauche, followed by beef liver, shiitake mushrooms, high-fat salmon and beans, legumes, and cruciferous vegetables on a smaller scale.
They protect pregnant women. During pregnancy, choline intake is critical to the development of the fetal brain and can help prevent birth defects. "Research has shown that up to 90 percent of pregnant women may not be consuming enough choline," says Bauche. Clinical studies have shown that pregnant women who eat more than 900 mg of choline (twice the recommended daily allowance) have cognitive development in their children later. "While most people know that folic acid plays a role in preventing neural tube defects, choline actually plays an equally important role as it also aids cell membrane synthesis and neurotransmission." Two large eggs contain more than 50% of the recommended choline intake for pregnant women. Vitamin B12 is another essential nutrient that is needed for red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis. B12 occurs almost exclusively naturally in animal products. So, if you're a vegetarian, eggs can help meet your B12 needs.
They can help manage weight loss over time. Research has shown higher protein meals to help you stay full and full longer. A 2004 review published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition suggests that high protein foods (including eggs!) Are the most filling option with meals, even in smaller servings compared to other nutrients. In addition, lean protein such as eggs are lower in calories than higher-fat meat and poultry.
You can maintain eyesight and eye health. Eggs also contain an important chemical compound known as carotenoids, which is normally found in fruits and vegetables. These nutrients can boost the immune system over time, according to Anne-Marie Gloster, Ph.D., RD, a senior lecturer in nutrition at the University of Washington's science program. "Carotenoids are the chemical compounds that produce the yellow, orange, and red colors in fruits and vegetables," she shares, adding that eggs contain a class of carotenoids known as xanthophylls. “The two xanthophyll compounds found in these carotenoid-rich foods are lutein and zeaxanthin. They are more like the yellow pigments in our foods. Egg yolks contain these xanthophylls ... And the color of the egg yolk depends on the chicken's diet, whether or not their diet is high in carotenes Food contained. "

The lutein and zeaxanthin found in eggs play a role in maintaining eye health. The study published in 2019 shows that lutein in particular can influence cognition in both children and adults. Gloster shares that these pigments allow our eyes to naturally filter blue light emissions from computers and televisions. Research has shown that these compounds can even help prevent deterioration in vision well into old age and prevent cataracts themselves. And while a balanced diet usually provides more than enough of these chemical compounds for your body to absorb, eggs offer far more immediate benefits than most leafy vegetables, according to Gloster. "Because eggs also contain fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin are more bioavailable and easier to absorb than the richer vegetable sources of carotenoids."
You can build healthier bones. Eggs are one of the few natural sources of vitamin D that helps absorb calcium, maintain healthy bones, promote neuromuscular function, and reduce inflammation. "Other essential nutrients and vitamins in eggs are DHA (higher amounts from chicken on pasture), other B vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K," says Bauche. "The trace elements iodine and selenium are often forgotten or normally not consumed in sufficient quantities, but they play a role in the development of the brain, thyroid function and liver function."
Photo credit: Getty Images
Are Eggs a Good Source of Protein?
Eggs are a complete protein that contains all 9 essential amino acids needed to rebuild muscles and tissues in our bodies. Depending on its size, an egg contains between 5 and 8 grams of protein and almost everything in our body needs protein. That makes a constant supply of the essential amino acids, well, essential!
Do Eggs Raise Your Cholesterol?
Current evidence suggests that dietary cholesterol does not automatically increase our blood cholesterol, which means that eating moderate amounts of eggs does not affect the risk of disease in most healthy people. A recent review of previously published studies published by a team of researchers at Northwestern University in JAMA suggests that eating more than 3 eggs a week can increase your risk of heart disease by more than 25%. However, many experts have acknowledged that dietary cholesterol is not as harmful to long-term health as saturated fat and trans fats, which can have a more serious impact on blood cholesterol. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans for 2020–2025, as well as the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and the American Diabetes Association, have removed previous recommendations for limiting dietary cholesterol because modest, manageable amounts are naturally found in a balanced diet. The final result? Eating eggs in moderation is key, especially if you already have high cholesterol - an omelet made with six eggs a day will have an immediate impact on your cardiovascular health, but an egg or two can definitely be part of a healthy breakfast .
Are brown eggs healthier than white eggs?
No! The color of an egg is not an indicator of quality, nutrition, or taste. Rather, the color depends on the breed of the hen, says Bauche. Chickens with white feathers lay white eggs, while chickens with brown feathers lay brown eggs. If you're wondering why brown eggs often cost more, it's simply because brown feathered chickens are larger and more expensive to raise.
Should I only eat protein?
If you eat eggs more than once a day (vegetarians and flexitars, listen up!), Switching in egg whites for whole eggs can be a great way to enjoy their flavor profile while avoiding extra cholesterol. But don't cut out whole eggs if you enjoy them occasionally during the week. The egg yolk contains most of the essential nutrients, and the fat in them helps your body absorb them. In addition, egg yolks primarily contain 40% of the protein found in eggs.
How many can I eat and what should I eat them with?
Current health guidelines show that eating an egg every day has no adverse health effects. They can be safely kept in your refrigerator for three to five weeks after purchase without any loss of quality, which makes eggs an excellent staple for so many quick and nutritious meals. Use them in:
Veggie scrambled eggs or frittatas
Avocado toast
Spicy oatmeal
Photo credit: Getty Images
Help! What do all these labels mean?
Label claims can be confusing. Here's what all of these labels actually say.
Cage-Free: According to the USDA, cage-free chickens must be housed in a building, room, or enclosed area with unrestricted access to food and water. Cage-free does NOT mean the chickens have access to nature.
Free Range: Free range chickens must be housed in a building, room or area with unrestricted access to feed and water. However, these chickens need to have continuous access to nature during their laying cycle. This outdoor area can be fenced in (in a back yard or garden if built on a historic farm!) And / or covered with a net.
Grazing: This term is not currently governed by the USDA, but grazing eggs should mean that the chickens spend most of their lives outdoors and have ample room to roam in addition to access to the barn. The chickens can feed on worms, insects and grass along with their feed, mimicking the natural diet and environment of a chicken. Look for the HFAC Certified Humane Label.
Farm-Fresh or All-Natural: These labels are neither subject to federal regulation nor do they have a specific meaning. They are widely used for marketing purposes, according to the USDA.
No Hormones Added: Contrary to popular belief, the egg industry does NOT use hormones in the production of shell eggs, whether or not it says so on the label.
Antibiotic-Free: Likewise, all eggs made in the USA are antibiotic-free, even if not stated on the box. When chickens get sick, a veterinarian can give them antibiotics, but these eggs would not be used for human consumption under FDA regulations.
Vegetarian-fed: According to USDA rules, the egg producer using this claim must keep documentation that the source hens do not eat animal by-products. However, chickens in the wild are omnivorous (i.e. not vegetarian) and get most of their protein from worms and insects.
Gluten Free: All eggs are naturally gluten free. When the chickens that produce the eggs are fed a grain that contains gluten, the gluten is broken down during digestion rather than passed on to the eggs.
Organic: To certify eggs as "organic", the chicken feed must be grown without most synthetic chemicals. 100% of the ingredients must be organically grown, the chickens must be free-range, and the use of antibiotics and growth hormones is prohibited. Management must provide evidence from an accredited certification body to the USDA to verify that the herd is organic.
Zero Trans Fats: This claim indicates that one egg contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fats, which is true for all eggs.
AA, A, or B: You may have noticed that eggs are rated AA, A, or B in descending order of quality. According to the USDA and the American Egg Board, there is no difference in nutritional values. The rating is based on appearance standards such as the conditions of the white or egg yolk and the cleanliness and firmness of the shell.
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