What came first the chicken or the egg? We may never know, but we do know there are many reasons to make them an essential part of your diet.
Since humans first roamed the planet, eggs have been a primary source of nutrition. Recipes have evolved from hard-boiled eggs to omelets and even delicacies at the finest of dining establishments. Because eggs are packed with nutrients and are excellent sources of protein, they are one of the best superfoods found in nature.
So as you enjoy your next delicious omelet, snack on a deviled egg or top your burger with a fried egg, remember these 10 health benefits of the glorious egg:
1. It’s a nutritious treat
It’s not surprising that eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet since one whole egg has all the nutrients needed to transform a single cell into a baby chicken.
One large boiled egg contains:
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- Vitamins A, B5, B12, D, E, K, B6
It also has 77 calories, six grams of protein and five grams of healthy fats. Omega-3 enriched and pastured eggs are even better to consume.
“Eggs are a good source of protein (both whites/yolk), contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats and also great source of important nutrients, such as vitamin B6, B12 and vitamin D,” said Kurt Hong, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine at Keck School of Medicine of USC and a primary care physician at Keck Medicine of USC.
2. Eating cholesterol affects different people, well, differently
Yes, it’s true that eggs are high in cholesterol — a single egg has 212 mg, which is more than two-thirds of the daily intake of 300 mg. However, eggs don’t raise cholesterol at all for about 70 percent of people. Cholesterol in the diet doesn’t necessary raise cholesterol in the blood. In the other 30 percent, who are called “hyper responders,” eggs can mildly raise total and LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.
“As with any food, the key here is consumption in moderation,” Dr. Hong said.
3. Eggs raise good cholesterol
Eating eggs leads to elevated levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein), which also is known as the “good” cholesterol. People who have higher HDL levels have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and other health issues. According to one study, eating two eggs a day for six weeks increased HDL levels by 10 percent.
4. Say goodbye to bad cholesterol
Eating eggs regularly can change the pattern of LDL patterns from small and dense LDL (aka bad cholesterol) to large LDL (harmless), which lowers the risk of heart disease.
5. Get some choline
Choline is a water-soluble vitamin that is often grouped with the B vitamins. It’s used to build cell membranes and helps produce signaling molecules in the brain.
Surveys have shown that about 90 percent of people in the United States are not getting the recommended amount of this important nutrient. Eating a single egg daily will do the job, since one egg contains more than 100 mg of choline.
6. Eggs help maintain your eyesight
As we get older, we need to take better care of our eyes. Egg yolks contain large amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, helpful antioxidants that help reduce the risk of cataracts and macular generation in the eyes. Eggs also are high in vitamin A, which also is beneficial for eye health.
7. Some eggs are better for you
Omega-3 helps reduce triglycerides, which are a type of lipid fat in the blood. That’s why eating Omega-3 enriched and pastured eggs are a good way of reducing these bad lipids. (FYI, if your triglyceride level is below 150, you’re doing well; 150-199 is borderline high; 200-499 is high; and 500 and above is considered very high.)
8. Get enough proteins and amino acids
Getting enough protein in our diets is an important way of helping our body’s health. Each egg contains about six grams of protein as well as helpful amino acids. Getting our share of protein for the day can help with weight loss, increase muscle mass, lower blood pleasure and help our bones as well.
9. They’re not bad for the heart
Despite what was believed in previous decades, there is no direct link between egg consumption and heart disease or stroke. But some studies show that people with diabetes who eat eggs increase their chance of heart disease. People who follow a low-carb diet and eat eggs have less of a chance of developing heart disease.
10. It’s a filling meal
You might have noticed that eating eggs for breakfast keeps your stomach full so that you won’t have to eat a lot of snacks between meals. That’s because of their high-protein content and their ability to induce feelings of fullness, which leads to less of a desire to take in more calories. In a recent study, replacing a bagel breakfast with an egg breakfast resulted in significant weight loss over a period of two months.
By Ramin Zahed
If you are in the Los Angeles area and are looking for help with your dietary needs, schedule an appointment with one of our physicians by calling (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or by visiting http://www.keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment/.