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The Health Benefits of Eggs

Written by Lindsey Arevalos, MHA, MS on in Health & Wellness

Are you feeling confused about what to eat these days? You’re not alone. Nutrition guidance seems to be constantly changing. Why? The short answer is nutrition is always evolving as new research helps improve our understanding of what to eat and why.

Are you feeling confused about what to eat these days? You’re not alone. Nutrition guidance seems to be constantly changing. Why? The short answer is nutrition is always evolving as new research helps improve our understanding of what to eat and why.

For years, many people were told to avoid eggs due to their cholesterol content, because eating dietary cholesterol (i.e. eggs) made blood cholesterol go up. That advice has changed thanks to evolving research. In 2016, the long-standing recommendation to limit dietary cholesterol intake to 300 mg per day was lifted.

So can we let go of our fear that eating eggs will increase our cholesterol levels and heart attack risk?

That’s a good thing to do, since eggs have so many benefits:

  • A recent meta-analysis suggests eating one whole egg a day reduces risk of stroke by 12 percent and does not affect risk for coronary heart disease.
  • Another study found that adding a whole egg to a salad made from a variety of raw vegetables improves Vitamin E absorption, another nutrient important for proper heart function, as well as the absorption of carotenoids, which are fat-soluble nutrients that help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • Eggs may also benefit brain health – daily egg intake was associated with better cognitive performance.

Another reason I’m a fan of eggs is because eggs are an all-natural, high-quality protein powerhouse.

Here is a nutrition breakdown:

  • Eggs are a source of 13 essential vitamins and minerals (most of which are lost if you toss the yolk), including Vitamin D, which is necessary for immune function, strong bones and overall health. On a side note, have you had your Vitamin D level checked lately? You may be deficient. I was. Ask to have your Vitamin D hydroxy level checked the next time you see your doctor.
  • There are 6 grams of protein in a whole, large egg. The high-quality protein of eggs can help active individuals build and preserve muscle as well as help prevent muscle loss in older adults. Eggs continue to be one of the most affordable sources of high-quality protein providing the most grams of protein per dollar spent.
  • Eggs contain antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which are believed to reduce the risk of developing cataracts and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, a disease which develops with age.
  • Eggs are an excellent source of Choline. Two eggs, including yolks, contain about 250 milligrams of choline, or roughly half the recommended daily amount. The National Academy of Sciences recommends pregnant women consume 450 milligrams of choline per day and that breastfeeding women consume 550 milligrams per day. Choline is a little-known but essential nutrient that contributes to fetal brain development and helps prevent birth defects. It’s also key in the development of an infant’s memory functions, so get cracking, moms!

Eating eggs for breakfast reduces hunger, increases satisfaction and decreases calorie consumption at lunch and throughout the day compared to eating the more traditional American, carbohydrate-based breakfast. The protein in eggs give you steady and sustained energy because it doesn’t cause a surge in blood sugar or insulin levels, which can then lead to an energy “crash” as blood sugar levels drop.

Sustained mental and physical energy throughout the day? Who doesn’t want that? Sign me up!

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Author: Lindsey Arevalos, MHA, MS, PRIME Project Coordinator

Lindsey Arevalos is Lompoc Valley Medical Center’s Director of Food and Nutrition Services and PRIME Project Coordinator, managing federal funding opportunities and coordinating multiple projects to improve the health care delivery system under the Affordable Care Act. She earned a bachelor of science degree in nutrition, with a minor in psychology, from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. She also holds a Master’s of Science in Agriculture with a specialization in food science and nutrition and a Master’s of Health Administration in Operations from Cal Poly.