What came first, the chicken or the egg? We may never know, but we do know that there are many reasons why eggs should be an important part of your diet.
Eggs have been a food staple since ancient times, and there’s good reason why they’re still on our menus and meals. Not only do they offer a variety of food — hard-boiled eggs, omelets, deviled eggs, and then some — they’re a source of protein, calcium, and several vitamins and nutrients. Here are some of the benefits of including eggs in your diet.
- It is a nutritious dessert.
Despite their relatively small size, eggs contain a large amount of nutrients and are an important component of a balanced diet.
One large boiled egg contains about 77 calories and contains:
Vitamins A, B5, B12, D, E, K, B6
Six grams of protein
Five grams of healthy fat
“Eggs are a good source of protein (both whites/yolks). They contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats and are a source of important nutrients like vitamins B6, B12, and D,” says Kurt Hong, MD, an internist at USC’s Keck Medicine.
- Eating cholesterol affects different people in different ways.
Yes, it’s true that eggs, especially egg yolks, are high in cholesterol. One large egg contains about 186 mg of cholesterol. However, before eliminating eggs from the menu, it is a good idea to study the dietary guidelines provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). One study found that about 70 percent of people found that eggs did not raise their cholesterol at all. According to researchers, dietary cholesterol does not increase blood cholesterol levels. The remaining 30% are called “hyper-responders” and have a slight increase in total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol with egg consumption.
“As with any food, the key here is moderation,” says Hong, M.D., a professor of medicine at the Keck School of Medicine in the US.
- Eggs increase good cholesterol.
Eating eggs can increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the so-called “good” cholesterol. People with high HDL levels have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems. In one study, eating two eggs a day for six weeks increased HDL levels by 10 percent.
- Get some choline.
Choline is a water-soluble vitamin that is often found along with the B vitamins. It is used to build cell membranes and helps the brain produce signaling molecules. One hard-boiled egg contains approximately 147 mg of choline, which is 27% of the daily intake recommended by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Eggs help maintain eyesight.
As we age, we need to take care of our eyes. Egg yolks contain large amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, which reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Eggs are rich in vitamin A, which is good for eye health.
- Some eggs are better for you.
Omega-3s help lower triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood. For this reason, eating Omega-3-enriched eggs may be an option, especially if you don’t like other Omega-3-rich foods (fish, nuts, seeds). (If your triglyceride level is below 150, you’re doing well; 150-199 is borderline high; 200-499 is high; 500 or higher is considered very high.)