Eggs are a smart choice for healthy eating. Did you know that each 85-calorie serving of eggs packs a whopping 7 solid grams of protein? They are also packed with amino acids, antioxidants and many beneficial nutrients. Contrary to popular belief, the yokes are also good for you because they contain a fat-fighting nutrient called Choline.[i]
There are numerous healthy benefits gained from eating eggs!
- Eggs boost your immune system. Just one egg has more than one-fifth of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Selenium, a nutrient that helps support your immune system and regulate thyroid hormones.
- Eggs can lower your risk of heart disease. Eggs raise HDL or “good” cholesterol while increasing the size of LDL (i.e. bad) particles, which is ironically, not so bad for you. Confusing, yes, but there is a logical explanation.
- LDL “bad” cholesterol sends fat molecules inside the walls of your arteries, stuffing them up and increasing your risk of heart disease. There are several different types of LDL particles that differ in size, and the smaller, dense varieties are the most harmful.
- The large LDL particles, by contrast, are not as effective in causing cardiovascular problems. Therefore, even though eggs raise LDL cholesterol in some of us, the LDL particles change from small to large, minimizing the risk of heart disease. Again, eggs raise the HDL “good” cholesterol particles, which eliminate fat molecules from your artery walls.
- Eggs are rich in the “3 Bs” that give you more energy AND a better functioning body! A regular serving of eggs (i.e. two) gives you almost one-third of your Recommended Daily Allowance of Riboflavin or Vitamin B2. The B vitamins work with your body to fine tune food into “juice” that gives your body more energy. For this reason, eggs are one of the best foods to eat for building muscle definition.[ii] Along with B2, eggs also have a lot of B5 and B12. All 3 of these B-complex vitamins are vital for healthy skin, hair, eyes and liver. Working together, the 3 Bs help safeguard your nervous system so that it runs properly.
- Eggs are life-saving brain food. Eggs are high in Choline, an essential ingredient that is necessary for maintaining cell health and creating neurotransmitters that communicate information throughout your brain and body. A deficiency can increase liver enzymes, which can lead to liver disease, heart disease and neurological disorders. For those of us who still think that the yolks are bad for us, most of the Choline in eggs can be found in the yolk![iii] Eggs also contain almost half of the essential amino acids your body needs to sustain life. A deficiency of these particular amino acids can have adverse mental effects, including increased stress and anxiety.
- You can SEE the difference! Yolks possess two powerful antioxidants that protect the health of your eyes. They are known as Lutein and Zeaxanthin and they significantly reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration (the leading causes of vision impairment and blindness for the elderly).
- Eggs are one of the few natural sources of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your bones and teeth by assisting in the intake of calcium, which benefits your heart, colon and metabolism.
- Eggs are among the best high-protein foods that make you feel fuller when you eat, thus helping to curb appetite. They have also been proven to help lose more weight and body fat, as compared to other foods with the same amount of calories.
Take note: HOW you cook your eggs makes a difference as to how healthy they are!
Eggs have been getting a bad rap for years because of their high cholesterol content, as well as how they are prepared. Whether it is deviled eggs, three cheese omelets, or a fried egg on a burger, just because we know how healthy they are doesn’t mean we can go crazy with our meal planning.
The healthiest ways to cook eggs are as follows:
- Boiling your eggs may very well be the best way because you are not exposing the yolk to high heat. When yolks are exposed to high heat and oxygen, the HDL cholesterol becomes damaged. Thus, boiling is the perfect solution because the yolk isn’t exposed to any air! (Soft or hard boiling are fine.) The other benefit of boiled eggs is that you can take them to work for a low-carb, high-protein snack![iv]
- Poaching your eggs is another good way to prepare them because you don’t need to add fat or oil. Poached eggs are best served with a slice of whole-grain toast and a small portion of smoked salmon or lean ham for an extra protein boost.
- Scrambling eggs with a non-stick pan means you don’t have to add any fat, which helps you save calories. Tip: If you don’t have a non-stick pan, use olive oil! Just like with boiled eggs, cook them on a low heat and eat them right away so the good cholesterol in the yolks does not become damaged. Be sure to add chopped mixed veggies to scrambled eggs to boost vitamin and mineral intake!
We all know from our favorite brunch and breakfast spots that eggs pair well with a lot of different foods. Stay away from foods that are not good for you, like hash browns, other fried foods, or hollandaise sauce! There are several healthy options to choose from, like the aforementioned mixed veggies and whole grain toast. Also, try the recipe below for a baked egg breakfast option.
Eggs are enjoyable and they satisfy your appetite. Make eggs the smart choice for healthy eating!