Eggs and Their Many Benefits
Eggs got a very bad rap in the past due to their high cholesterol and fat content. Many people began limiting their egg intake to twice a week or cut eggs completely out of their diet.
Many people found ways to prepare egg whites so that they would taste OK. By leaving out the yolk, they leave out the high fat content, but does that really make an egg healthier or now suitable to eat?
From the prospective of following a whole-food diet, leaving out the yolk makes the food less than perfect because it is no longer a whole food. And nutritionists are now finding that this is a valid concern.
Eggs do not raise cholesterol. It is true that eggs are high in cholesterol, but they are high in the “good” cholesterol [HDL] and will not raise cholesterol levels. Eating two eggs daily may actually help lower cholesterol level.
In general, it is not dietary cholesterol that raises cholesterol levels in the body and eating cholesterol-rich foods may help improve blood lipids.
Eggs are good for the heart and the brain. Egg yolks are very high in a nutrient called choline, with two servings providing about half the recommended daily allowance of choline. It is estimated that 90 percent of Americans are deficient in choline.
Choline is one of the B vitamins. It is an important nutrient for the brain and nervous system. Choline also helps reduce inflammation and helps prevent the buildup of homocysteine (a compound associated with heart disease and osteoporosis).
Eggs help people lose weight. A controlled trial conducted on a group of 160 severely overweight or obese people divided the group in half. One group had no eggs but had a bagel for breakfast, and the other group’s breakfast included two eggs. Both groups’ breakfasts were equal in calories. The group that had eggs for breakfast lost almost twice the amount of weight as those who did not.
Eggs help prevent cataracts. Eggs are an excellent source of lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids are crucial for preventing macular degenerations and cataracts.
Lutein is much more easily absorbed into the body from eggs than from lutein supplements or vegetable sources such as spinach.
Eggs differ in quality. Eggs are delicate and need to be stored properly. If they have not been properly refrigerated, they may not be fresh. Properly stored eggs can last up to a month in the refrigerator. Keep them in their original box or in another enclosed case to maintain freshness.
Do not store eggs in the refrigerator door to avoid exposing the eggs to room temperature each time the door is opened. Do not wash eggs prior to storing because that will wash off the protective coating an egg has to keep it fresh.
The best eggs are from pasture-raised chickens. This means that the hens are allowed to roam freely outside where they can peck and scratch in the grass for insects and anything else they choose to eat.
If the egg carton is labeled organic, this means that hens are cage-free, fed organic crops, and not given antibiotics.
Free-range means that chickens were raised outside of a cage and with outside access, whereas cage-free means that they were raised out of cages but did not necessarily have outdoor access.
Tysan Lerner is a certified health coach and personal trainer. She helps women attain their body and beauty goals without starving themselves or spending hours at the gym. www.lavendermamas.com