By: Pamela Egan, FNP-C CDE
Eating eggs can be good for your health
My husband and I have just been diagnosed with high cholesterol. We love our eggs for breakfast and can’t get used to powdered eggs. What should we eat for breakfast now?
I just attended the “American Academy of Nurse Practitioners” convention in Reno, Nevada, last week and here’s the latest, “Eggs Are Back”!
After 30 plus years of being maligned for its cholesterol content, now, thanks to an ever-growing body of research studies, eggs are making a comeback.
Even the American Heart Association allows healthy adults to enjoy seven eggs per week.
Study after study shows that dietary cholesterol has no effect on heart disease risk.
Even though one large egg contains 215 milligrams of cholesterol, it has only 1.5 milligrams of saturated fat. More importantly, studies show that eggs contain important nutrients that play important roles in health promotion and disease prevention.
Current research has shown an egg eaten daily does not increase your risk of heart disease.
In a large study of over 117,000 men and women followed for eight to 14 years, eating seven eggs a week was found not to increase heart disease risk.
This finding and others have provided the foundation for the American Heart Association to revise their guidelines permitting people to enjoy an egg everyday as part of an average daily cholesterol intake of 300 milligrams.
In addition, studies are showing that restricting eggs from the diet can have negative nutritional effects. Eggs are a source of biologically available lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect against age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in the elderly.
Eggs are economical. Compared with other high protein foods, eggs offer many nutrients at a relatively low price.
Serving an egg main dish and green salad for dinner a few nights a week can help to keep expenses down while still providing a nutritious and satisfying meal. Eggs provide 13 different vitamins and minerals in excess of the caloric contribution.
Choline in eggs has been shown to be an essential nutrient.
Necessary for proper brain development in the fetus and newborn, choline may also play a role in memory function throughout life and into advanced age. Each egg yolk contains a mixture of essential fatty acids with other fatty acids that supply energy. The egg yolk also contains omega-3 fatty acids that may lower your risk of heart disease.
Beginning the day with eggs as part of a balanced meal can help prevent mid-morning hunger and improve nutrient intake compared to skipping breakfast.
Eggs make a great snack food because they are easily transported, individually portioned, fun to eat and are widely available.
Since eggs can be cooked in hundreds of ways, they can be easily prepared in just the right way for each individual’s needs and tastes. Once cooked, eggs can safely be kept at room temperature for up to two hours or kept chilled for a late day energy boost.
Eggs eaten at mealtime can lower daily calorie intake and prevent snacking between meals.
The association between meal skipping and overeating later in the day has been proven. In fact, recent studies have found that foods consisting of carbohydrates that are quickly absorbed into the blood stream have a high glycemic index, promoting hunger and excess weight gain.
Eggs contain no carbohydrates and therefore lower the total glycemic load of the meal in which they are consumed (a great choice for diabetics).
Our current understanding of the relationships between diet and CHD has moved beyond the simplistic view that dietary cholesterol equals blood cholesterol, and shifted towards an emphasis on saturated fats, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle in CHD risk.
For all those people who have been avoiding a food they enjoy, this will be a valuable shift in the conventional thinking which will allow them to again welcome eggs back into their heart healthy diet.