It’s Easter time and for many of us an Easter egg hunt will be on the agenda. Although many of the eggs will be plastic and filled with candy (we’ll save that topic for another day), real eggs will likely be part of the festivities too.
The question of whether eggs are considered healthy or not is a common one. Science has waffled a bit in regards to the nutritional standing of eggs over the years leading to quite a bit of confusion. Hopefully this blog will help to clear some of that up.
For a long time eggs were considered unhealthy because of their cholesterol content. One egg contains around 180 mg of cholesterol. The thinking was that cholesterol in the diet impacted the cholesterol in our blood and so we should avoid dietary cholesterol.
We now know that most of the cholesterol in our body is made in our liver. The liver is stimulated to make cholesterol by the saturated and trans fat in our diets, not by dietary cholesterol. An egg is relatively low in saturated fat, with about 1.5 grams per large egg.
The goodness of eggs far outweighs the not so good. They are low in calories and a good source of protein with 78 calories and 6 grams of protein per large egg. They are also nutrient-rich, containing 18 vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B, and D. They are also good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for eye and heart health and an excellent source of choline, recognized by the Institute of Medicine as an essential nutrient that impacts liver, heart, and brain health.
Many studies have been done on eggs and their impact on our health. Multiple studies following hundreds of thousands of people over decades have shown that one egg per day is safe and is not correlated with higher rates of heart attacks or strokes for the general healthy population. For those with diabetes, at high risk for heart disease, or who already have heart disease, the recommendation is slightly less and limited to 3 egg yolks per week.
So there you have it, the latest on the big egg debate. Just like so many other foods, it really is about moderation. Eggs in and of themselves are a perfectly healthy choice. It’s also important to take into consideration what you are having with your eggs. An egg or two scrambled with some veggies, like spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes, maybe even a little avocado, served alongside a slice of whole grain toast is a quick, healthy, filling breakfast that gets the dietitian’s seal of approval! As I wrote about not too long ago, eggs can be a quick, easy dinner option in a frittata too, or a boiled egg can be a quick grab and go snack.
Now you can go enjoy those Easter eggs without the guilt, knowing that they are a perfectly healthy, nutrient-rich choice. Like so many other foods, just keep moderation in mind and stick to 1 egg per day, not the whole basket!