08 Nov Are you eating enough eggs?
Eggs are one of the best nutritional foods, but they have been demonized for many years. This is because they were thought to significantly increase blood cholesterol. This is not true. While eggs do have cholesterol, consuming eggs has minimal effects on our blood cholesterol levels. Processed foods and trans fats are much more dangerous for our cholesterol levels.
The myth that eggs are a health risk may be closely associated with the foods that are taken together with eggs such as hams, sausages, sodium in the bacon and saturated fats used to fry the eggs. Eggs should in fact be classified as “super foods”. They have numerous health benefits which include the following:
1. Eggs are extremely nutritious
Eggs are incredibly nutritious. A whole egg contains the nutrients required to turn a single cell into a chick. An egg contains vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B5, vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorous and folate. It also contains decent amounts of calcium, zinc, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin D and vitamin B6. All this comes with about 5 grams of healthy fats, 77 calories, and 6 grams of protein. Eggs contain little bits of nearly all the nutrients you require.
Pretty much the perfect food, huh?
2. Weight management
Eggs are a perfect weight loss food. Apart from being one of the healthiest foods you will ever eat, they have some unique properties that make them exceptionally weight loss friendly. One whole egg contains only about 77 calories and is packed with nutrients. An average woman requires 2,000 calories to maintain weight and 1,500 calories to lose one pound per week. An average man requires 2500 calories to maintain his weight, and 2,000 calories to lose one pound per week. An egg meal usually contains 2 to 4 eggs. Thus, three boiled eggs and some vegetables, which is a complete meal, contain about 300 calories. However, if you decide to fry your eggs in butter or oil, every teaspoon you use adds about 50 calories.
Due to their high-protein density, eggs are very filling. This makes them efficient in preventing and reducing obesity, as well as managing weight. Foods rich in protein increase fullness and reduce appetite compared to foods with low protein content. Studies in obese and overweight women have consistently shown that consuming eggs instead of bagels increased their feeling of fullness and caused them to consume fewer calories over the next 30 hours. Studies have also shown that having an egg meal for breakfast causes over 60% greater weight loss, over 2 months.
Eggs enhance weight management and obesity prevention by enhancing metabolism. Eggs contain all the crucial amino acids and in the right ratios. This implies that the body can easily utilize the protein in eggs for metabolism and maintenance. A high-protein diet enhances metabolism by 80-100 calories per day. Thus, high protein foods like eggs help the body to burn more calories.
3. Heart health
HDL (high-density lipoprotein) referred to as the “good” cholesterol, seems to increase in people who consume 3 or more eggs daily. Increased HDL levels reduce risk of heart diseases and strokes as well as other heart complications. Eating eggs consistently raises HDL levels, which is linked to a reduced risk of many heart diseases.
Eating eggs consistently of course also increases LDL (low-density lipoprotein) levels too. LDL is the “bad” cholesterol and is linked to increased risk of heart diseases. However, the individual lipoproteins get bigger with more egg consumption, making you less prone to heart diseases – people with large LDL particles have lower risks of heart diseases compared to people with small LDL particles.
4. Brain health
Eggs contain minerals and vitamins that are necessary for proper functioning of cells, including the brain and the nervous system.
5. Eye health
Eggs contain zeaxathin and lutein which help to prevent macular degeneration, the major cause of age-related blindness. Other vitamins enhance good vision.
6. Healthful pregnancy
Eggs have some nutrients which help to prevent congenital disabilities like spina bifida.
7. Skin benefits
There are some mineral and vitamins within eggs that prevent breakdown of body tissues and enhance healthy skin.
Are all eggs created equal?
Chickens produce either brown or white eggs. But is there any difference in nutritional value between the two types? The golden food rule when it comes to food is that brown is always better. Brown bread, brown sugar, wheat pasta and whole wheat crackers are considered healthier. However, when it comes to eggs, there is no difference in nutritional value between white and brown eggs.
The most important things to look for when buying eggs are that they are 100% organic and pasture-raised. Pasture-raised eggs are from chickens that have been given free access to roam around and live/feed as close to a natural animal’s environment as possible. This creates the most nutrient-dense and healthiest eggs, containing more of the beneficial omega-3’s. Organic eggs will be from chickens that are fed organic feed, free from pesticides, chemicals, and hormones that could pose serious health problems.
The Bottom Line
As opposed to the popular belief that eggs are a health risk, eggs have numerous health benefits. They are incredibly nutritious and contain bits of nearly all the nutrients you need to thrive. They contribute to a healthy heart, immune system, skin, pregnancy, and help in weight loss among other things. They are nature’s ultimate food. In my practice, I recommend pasture-raised organic eggs as a staple of my nutritional plan, creating delicious, affordable and nutritious healthy meals.