Why eggs are so good for your health:
- Eggs are one of those ‘go-to’ nutrient-dense foods that have absolutely no downside
- A great source of protein (in the whites) and healthy fats (in the yolks), including cholesterol, which is super healthy for you (read below)
- Eggs also contain biotin, selenium, vitamin D, and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper, and Vitamin A
- Lots of B vitamins: B12 (cobalamin), B2 (riboflavin), B5 (pantothenic acid), and Biotin (also known as B7, Vitamin H, and Coenzyme R),
- Trace amouns of calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, manganese, vitamin E, folate and more.
[Speaking of biotin – it’s part of the B vitamin family; also known as B7, Vitamin H and coenzyme R. Biotin is involved in many metabolic processes: the conversion of certain nutrients into energy – i.e. the utilization of fats, carbohydrates, and amino acids. Biotin is important for the health of hair, skin, and nails. Biotin is found highest in liver, second in egg yolks.]
Dragon slaying: are you misinformed about cholesterol?
It makes me want to scream when a restaurant offers Egg White omelettes as a ‘healthy’ menu option. The logic being that egg yolks have ‘fat and cholesterol’ – and are therefore bad – and we should avoid them.
If you think saturated fat and cholesterol are bad, it’s important to understand the facts surrounding these critically important dietary nutrients, so let’s slay that dragon before we go any further.
- The only people who live long are those with high cholesterol – read that again (see references below).
- Eating cholesterol-rich foods such as eggs do NOT elevate one’s ‘bad’ blood fats, or increase the risk of cardiovascular disease – eating sugar and other refined carbohydrates (bread, cereal, pasta, pizza) is what causes cardiovascular disease by way of elevated insulin levels, inflammation and the consequences of those metabolic ‘events’ (which are HUGE). And of course a sedentary, high-stress lifestyle.
- Like cholesterol, saturated fat is not associated with cardiovascular disease (i.e. atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries, heart attacks), or increased mortality (earlier death).
In years past, people were also told that eating eggs was unhealthy because eggs contain cholesterol because people thought fat and cholesterol were bad (uninformed people still think this).
Let’s look at what human bodies need for health, from a nutrition/dietary basis: nutrients that build healthy cells. What are those nutrients? Fats, protein and carbohydrates. But, in each of those categories, there are very important distinctions to be made – there are good and bad fats, protein and carbohydrates.
Here’s the condensed version of what’s good and what’s bad:
GOOD FATS: raw nuts, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, butter (from pastured cows), fat from pastured animals, and eggs (from organic/free-range chickens). For more on good fat, read here.
BAD FATS: processed vegetable oils (canola, soy, corn, cottonseed, etc. – found in most processed/packaged foods), and deep fried foods.
GOOD PROTEIN: raw nuts, wild-caught fish, meat from pastured beef, pork, lamb, chicken, broccoli (yes, broccoli has protein), pea protein, whey protein
BAD PROTEIN: tofu, GMO soy-derived protein substitutes (Impossible Burger brands)
GOOD CARBOHYDRATES: vegetables, raw nuts, fresh fruit, yams/sweet potatoes
BAD CARBOHYDRATES: sugar, bread, flour-based foods (cereal, muffins, pasta, pizza, cookies, crackers), potatoes, rice
Back to eggs.
‘Higher consumption of eggs … is not associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease or stroke. In addition, people with higher egg consumption had a 25% lower risk of developing hemorrhagic stroke.’ [article reference]
How to eat eggs
- Poached – poached eggs don’t take long to cook – be careful not to overcook them. Season with quality sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper (and hot sauce, if you’re so inclined)
- Hard-boiled – I use the ’13 minutes start-to-finish’ method: eggs in pan covered in water; from turning on stove to removing from heat and rinsing in cold water = 13 minutes (use the timer on your phone). This produces a soft yolk. Use 14-15 minutes if you like more firm yokes. For a gourmet twist on eating hard-boiled eggs, try Dr. Paul’s Italian Eggs – you get the additional bonus of better flavor and more healthy fat from the olive oil.
- Scrambled – there’s no end to what you can cook with scrambled eggs: onion, spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, raw cheese,
- Egg Salad – here’s a great recipe for egg salad
Again, let’s review the facts:
- High cholesterol doesn’t cause atherosclerosis (high insulin and inflammation from eating sugar and refined carbohydrates (bread, pasta, pizza, cereal) causes atherosclerosis – clogging of your arteries – and heart attacks. Along with a sedentary and stress-filled lifestyle)
- Saturated fat does not increase cholesterol
- Saturated fat – from healthy sources – is incredibly health-promoting
- Cholesterol is critically important for many physiologic functions within the body – cell membranes and structures, immune, endocrine/hormone, brain, Vit D, to name a few.
Statin Drugs: Another in a long line of highly profitable drugs that are very questionable in their clinical effaccy. Statin drugs to lower cholesterol are a profit center of epic proportions for drug companies and don’t make you healthier (actually statins lower life expectancy – go figure). As neuroscientist Dr. David Diamond says, ‘Instead of going to the pharmacy, go to the library and LEARN about what doctors prescribe and why’.
He goes on to say ‘Despite the well-established health benefits of diets rich in cholesterol and saturated fat, flawed, deceptive and biased research has created the myth that a low fat, plant-based diet is ideal for good health. Poorly conducted epidemiological research, U.S. government intervention and misinformation conveyed by contemporary lifestyle researchers have contributed to the current state of confusion on dietary influences on health. The public must educate themselves on how to optimize their diet and cardiovascular health.’
For a comprehensive understanding of fats in general and saturated fat in particular, please read this.
- Ravnskov, Uffe, et al. Lack of an association or an inverse association between low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol and mortality in the elderly: a systematic review. British Medical Journal 2016; 6:e010401 [article link]
- ‘The inverse association between high total cholesterol and reduced all-cause mortality in older adults is primarily due to non-cardiovascular mortality, especially among those who are not treated with cholesterol-lowering medications.’ Liang Y, et al. Serum total cholesterol and risk of cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular mortality in old age: a population-based study. BMC Geriatrics 2017; 17:294 [article link]
- Rong Y, et al. Egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. British Medical Journal, 2013 Jan 7;346 [article link]