The humble egg is one of the most controversial foods discussed in nutrition circles and knowing whether or not are eggs healthy can leave many of us feeling confused about whether to eat eggs or not. Let’s take a closer look at eggs, and what makes them a health food- or not!
What’s in an Egg
Many dietitians and nutritionists will promote including eggs as part of a healthy diet due to the array of nutritional components that they contain. An egg yolk is nutrient dense and contains a wide variety of vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, B6, folate, pantothenic acid and B12. The yolk also includes antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents- choline, lutein and zeaxanthin- as well as the fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E, and the all-important omega-3 fatty acids needed for a healthy heart.
The egg white, also known as albumin, consists of mostly just water and protein and the anti-nutrient avidin which can be destroyed by cooking (which is why eggs should always be cooked to avoid loss of nutrients).
Each egg also contains 6 grams of high-quality protein, which equates to 13 percent of the daily recommended intake, making the humble egg a nutritional powerhouse.
Why are Eggs So Controversial
With so many good qualities, it seems hard to believe that the egg can get a bad rap. The main reason that eggs have got a bad name for themselves is that along with all the healthy nutrients and high levels of protein, eggs also contain 185mg of cholesterol, which is over half the daily recommended intake per day.
It is this information which has led people be recommended to limit their intake of eggs to two per day in order to keep dietary cholesterol levels down for maintaining a healthy heart. The paranoia around eggs has always rested on the belief that eating the yolks of eggs will cause blood cholesterol to rise and this increases your risk for artery and heart disease.
Latest Eggs Advice
The good news is, the latest research can debunk this assumption. Studies have now reliably shown us that the cholesterol you eat has very little impact on how much cholesterol is in your blood. We now know that heart disease risk is related to trans fat and sugar and not dietary cholesterol. In fact, eggs are very low in saturated fats- only 2 grams per egg. This research also shows that not all cholesterol comes from diet, and that every day our body makes 1-2 grams of cholesterol. The amount of cholesterol your body produces is directly linked to your dietary consumption- the more you eat from food including eggs, the less your body produces and the less consumed in the diet, the more the body makes to counteract.
The reason your body is always trying to keep cholesterol in balance is that it is an important nutrient for your body to have in order for cell growth and hormone production. The problems that can be associated with cholesterol and heart disease will not be affected by consuming eggs every day- something that has been proven in dietary studies.
Egg Health Benefits
Eating up to three eggs per day can bring about a range of health benefits, from weight loss, decreased inflammation and improved blood cholesterol levels. Eggs can also help preserve muscle mass and prevent muscle loss, especially in older adults.
Who Shouldn’t Eat Eggs
There are some groups of people who might find that eating 2-3 eggs a day is not recommended. These include people who are diabetic and those with familial hypercholesterolemia.
It is also recommended that athletes who are competing in weight class sports keep their egg consumption down, or to only consume the white and not the yolk, which will keep protein higher and calories lower.
There is also a percentage of people in the population who are allergic to eggs, so of course for these people eggs should be avoided.
Another great thing about eggs is their versatility when it comes to cooking. They can be fried, scrambled, boiled soft or hard, added into baking and whisked into drinks.
Try this frittata recipe for a quick, easy, tasty and healthy egg-based meal. This is great served with a salad and fresh baked bread.
Spinach and Goat Cheese Frittata
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
salt and black pepper
6 cups baby spinach
10 large eggs, beaten
cup goat cheese, crumbled
Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Heat the oil in a medium oven-proof non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, tossing, until wilted. Add the eggs and sprinkle with the goat cheese. Cook until the mixture begins to set around the edges for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until set for around 10 to 12 minutes.
Now that we know eggs are healthy we hope that you will indulge in them while on our retreat holiday Bootcamp in Thailand. We love eggs here at Fresh Start and they are a great addition to our Bootcamp menu, however, if you are allergic to eggs then we can recommend some other alternatives.