Eggs have garnered some controversy over the years, primarily because of their cholesterol content.
“The thinking on eggs and cholesterol is changing,” says EvergreenHealth nutritionist Marcy Dorsey, MS, RD, CD. “About 80% of your cholesterol is made in your liver. This is serum cholesterol, which is different from dietary cholesterol from food.”
Marcy points to numerous studies that show there are no harmful effects from regular egg consumption. These studies include one that found that people with heart disease could safely eat two whole eggs a day without negatively impacting their cholesterol, blood pressure, or weight.
Marcy encourages people to eat whole eggs, including the yolk, despite the dietary cholesterol they contain. “Why use egg replacement products and then have to add cheese or another fat for flavor? It’s healthier to simply include the yolk.”
She says that it is fine for most people to eat eggs several times a week, which is in keeping with current American Heart Association and Mayo Clinic guidelines.
Marcy says that many people are deficient in the very nutrients that egg yolks contain. The variety of vitamins and other nutrients in whole eggs makes them an important part of a balanced diet:
These nutrients give eggs many health benefits:
Marcy says that eggs from free-range or “pastured” hens – those that forage for at least 20% of their food – have less cholesterol and saturated fat, more Vitamin A, and three times the omega-3s, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E of conventional supermarket eggs from commercially raised chickens.
Eggs labeled “organic” come from chickens that receive organic feed, are not given hormones or antibiotics, and are also free-range. The yolks in these eggs may be deeper yellow with a richer flavor. You will also pay a little more for them.
Some people choose brown eggs believing they are healthier, but this is not the case. The size and color of an egg is determined by the chicken that produced it. Brown chickens lay brown eggs and white lay white, but their nutrition is similar.
Sometimes brown eggs cost more, because the chickens that lay them tend to be larger and therefore cost more to feed, according to the EveryDay Health newsletter.
If you want to ensure that you always have fresh, flavorful eggs close by, you might consider raising chickens at home. The trend is growing in popularity in urban and suburban areas.
The health benefits of eggs make them something you should include in your meals several times a week. They can be served at any meal, from a breakfast omelet to a dinner soufflé.
Try one of our recipes below – they work at any meal. Get cracking and eat well!
Visit our Healthiest Best Foods homepage for more great ideas to get you and your family eating healthier.