Cracking the Myths About Eggs
As we hop into Spring Season with Easter just around the corner we are surrounded by all sorts of eggs; plastic, hard-boiled, colorful and some full of goodies. With all these eggs in the month of April one question most people want to know is, “Are eggs healthy?” Should I eat the whole egg, only the whites or include the yolk? Some claim eggs to be a healthy addition, while others put eggs on their do not eat list. Some believe the cholesterol in eggs lead to plaque buildup and eventual heart disease. So, what should we do? What are eggs really cracked up to be? Let me help crack the question with some valid answers. As a registered dietitian I always look at current, evidenced-based research in nutrition and science. So, lets see what I can find.
What Do We Know About Eggs?
In the past eggs have been touted as a high cholesterol food, with all the cholesterol concentrated in the delicious yolk. We know that high levels of cholesterol in the blood increase our risk for heart disease, so it seems realistic to limit egg consumption or just eat the whites, right? But not so fast with that simple conclusion. Actually, consuming transfat, excessive amounts of sugar and saturated fats impact cholesterol levels more than the cholesterol we eat. Research has uncovered that most of the cholesterol in our body comes from our liver, is influenced by our genes, gender, age-not our food.
Health Benefits of Eggs
Although, most people think ordering an egg-white omelet is the “healthier” version, they are missing out on the star of the show, the yolk! The yolk is the most nutritious part of the egg. Plus, eggs are nutrient dense and rich in essential amino acids to boost your health and keep you active. Here are a few of the benefits of eating the whole egg.
- Enhanced Eye Health-Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants in the yolk, which have been found to reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
- Brain Function-Choline, which boosts your brain health and nerve function, may also be associated with improved cognition in adults. And for all those pregnant mamas, new research shows you need extra choline to support placental health and brain development.
- Build those bones with Vitamin D. Eggs are one of the only foods that contain vitamin D naturally.
- Iron and vitamins such as A, B, and D.
Let Us Eat Eggs, The Yolk Too!
In fact, The American Heart Association updated their original recommendations of three whole eggs a week to seven whole eggs a week as part of a healthy eating plan. Participants from New River Community and Technical College were excited about this news when I mentioned it at the Eat Smart for Heart Health presentation. This new knowledge has changed my typical 1-2 eggs a week to almost an egg a day for breakfast with a slice of toast and sautéed veggies. It’s delicious and current evidence says it’s good for me! Plus, I feel like I have more energy to participate in one of the many FREE physical activities we offer here at Active SWV. Just remember the nutrients are found in the yolk, so enjoy the whole egg! What great news for all those egg lovers out there! Enjoy some eggs for Easter this year and hop into health with a newfound energy!