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Is It Safe to Eat Eggs Every Day?

Posted by Smarter Nutrition on

Let’s settle this debate once and for all because personally, I’m not a cereal fan. I like my scrambled eggs, and I’d like to enjoy them without the guilt, please! So let’s take a closer look at the egg.

One of the most versatile and leanest protein sources bioavailable to your body is the incredible, edible egg. In the modern world, it’s not just a breakfast food but an anytime accompaniment to your meals, shakes, and supplements. The egg has been a breakfast staple since the ancient Romans and has continued to stand as a protein-rich energy source before a busy day (1). If you are not a huge egg fan because of the bad rap they were given due to the cholesterol content in their yolks, maybe it’s time to reconsider. Eggs were demonized in so many ways, including being given the reputation of increasing your risk of heart disease, that so many people questioned eating them as part of a healthy lifestyle and stayed away.

Fast forward to today, and we see that there is ample recent research showing that eggs are not a health risk, and the vitamins and nutrients in eggs are some of the most nutritious parts of any healthy lifestyle.

What’s Really in an Egg?

The average-sized egg contains about 70 calories and 6 grams of complete animal protein (3,4). They do not contain any sugar or carbohydrates and only have about 70 milligrams of sodium per egg (5). Although the egg white contains slightly more protein, the yolk should not be ignored. This is because the yolk of an egg contains important nutrients such as (3,6,7,8):

  • Choline: 
  • One egg contains about 23% of the daily recommended value of choline. This important nutrient is vital for growth and development in the nervous system of the body, and it promotes normal cell activity, liver function, and transport of nutrients throughout the body.
  • Selenium: About 22% of the daily recommended value of selenium is found in one egg. This nutrient is an important antioxidant that helps to reduce cell damage and lower chronic disease risk.
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2): About 14% of the daily recommendation of this B vitamin is found in one egg. This vitamin is important for energy production in cells of the body, fat metabolism, and cell growth and development.
  • Vitamin D: One egg contains about 10% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin D. This vitamin is important for bone health, since it helps aid calcium absorption in the body.
  • Phosphorus: About 10% of the daily recommended value of phosphorus is found in one egg. This nutrient is vital for producing energy in the body and helping to form healthy bones and teeth.
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      Besides these important nutrients, the yolk also supports other health functions such as (6):

    • Nerve cell health: Vitamins B6 and B12 as well as calcium play important roles in nerve cell function. Calcium is also important for bone and tooth health, muscle contraction, and blood clotting.
    • Immune health: Vitamins A and B6 as well as zinc are important for maintaining healthy immune function. This is important to lower your risk for illness and infection.
    • Digestive health: Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, as well as vitamin B12 are both important for maintaining a healthy digestive system. In particular, B5 helps break down food into usable energy and nutrients.
    • Egg yolks also contain iron, which is needed for oxygen transport in the body (6). Not just iron, but a good amount of folate, too! That’s both great news for expecting mamas and little peanuts. Iron and folate are vital nutrients for fetal growth and development.

      So, Are Eggs Healthy or Not?

      This has been a long-standing question in research circles for many years. However, recent research from Australia has shown that eggs can in fact be part of a healthy diet. A 2018 study looked at the effects of a high egg diet (12 eggs per week) versus a low egg diet (two eggs or fewer per week) on heart health (9). After this 12-month study, no differences in cardiovascular markers such as serum lipid levels, inflammation markers like C-reactive protein, or glucose markers like plasma glucose were seen between the two groups.

      The science today is pretty clear—the experts seem to have ascertained that eating up to three eggs a day is fine. Well, more than fine; it’s actually quite healthy. Even those with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, who have an increased risk for heart disease, may benefit from eating eggs every day. Even though a large egg contains about 186 milligrams of cholesterol in its yolk, this same yolk also contains a ton of nutrients that could benefit heart health, such as those listed above. Furthermore, the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are found in the yolk and are great for eye health, which can help those with diabetes who are prone to eye health issues (10,11).

      How Can I Add Eggs to My Diet?

      The trend is that eggs are not just for breakfast anymore. Not only can you find them on menus in all restaurants throughout the day, you can easily add an egg to any meal and snack with a little preparation and creativity. Here are a few ways to add the incredible egg to your day.

      • Whether scrambled, sunny side up, poached, or fried, the egg is no doubt a great addition to any breakfast meal. Cook up with some vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, and onions to add some fiber. Pair your eggs with steamed asparagus or sautéed sweet potatoes instead of fruit or toast for better digestion.
      • Hard boiled eggs are great on their own for a snack option or sliced on top of a salad for lunch or dinner. You can also mash up a few hard-boiled eggs with some avocado for a heart healthy egg salad lunch option.
      • Breakfast for dinner is a delicious idea when you add in eggs. Try grass fed steak and eggs with a side of steamed vegetables. You can also sauté some spinach and other vegetables in a non-stick pan and pour in some whipped eggs for a protein- and fiber-rich frittata.
      • Blend in some eggs to chicken or vegetable broth, scallions, and soy sauce for a comforting bowl of egg drop soup.

      Stay Safe When Eating Eggs

      When eating eggs, always be sure to cook them before consuming. This is because cooking will kill any bacteria that may be present in the egg (12). Eggs should also be refrigerated at 45 degrees Fahrenheit when you are not using them to make sure bacteria such as Salmonella cannot flourish in the eggs.

      And as for the date on the egg carton? You can consume eggs safely for about four to five weeks past the sell by date (12). But eggs are so healthy and delicious, they probably won’t stay around in your kitchen that long.

      Bottom Line

      Eggs are in, and you should be adding at least a few incredible eggs to your meals each day as part of a protein- and nutrient-rich diet. Enjoy!

      References:

      1. Bos, S. (April 6, 2017) “Why Do We Eat Eggs for Breakfast, Anyway?” Bon Appetit Online.
      2. Lopez-Jimenez, M.D., F. (April 5, 2018) “Eggs: are they good or bad for my cholesterol?”
      3. American Egg Board (accessed August 16, 2018) “Incredible Egg.”
      4. American Egg Board (accessed August 16, 2018) “Egg Facts.”
      5. Berkeley Wellness (October 4, 2017) “A New Spin on Eggs.”
      6. American Egg Board (accessed August 16, 2018) “Eggcyclopedia: Nutrient Density.”
      7. National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements (March 2, 2018) “Riboflavin.”
      8. Medline Plus (accessed August 16, 2018) “Phosphorus in diet.”
      9. Fuller, N.R. (May 7, 2018) “Effect of a high-egg diet on cardiometabolic risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) Study- randomized weight-loss and follow-up phase.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 107(6): 921-931.
      10. American Heart Association (August 15, 2018) “Are eggs good for you or not?”
      11. American Academy of Ophthalmology (November 4, 2016) “Diabetes and Eye Health.”
      12. Egg Safety Center (accessed August 16, 2018) “Browse Our Egg Answers.”

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