How are eggs useful for health?
How many eggs can you eat? How many eggs are healthy?
So many bad things have been heard about eggs over the years that some barely dare to eat this wonderful (and inexpensive!) Food. Many would like to eat more eggs, but are wondering: how many eggs can you actually eat?
How many eggs are healthy?
Eggs are wonderful and very high-quality foods that are incredibly rich in nutrients - or, to put it bluntly, an egg contains as many nutrients as you need to build a whole, small, viable bird. With a functioning nervous system, brain, digestive system, eyes, beak, wings, feathers, etc. Sounds macabre - but shows how high the “nutrient density” is in such a small egg.
Unfortunately, eggs have fallen into disrepute over the years - mostly by mistake. It has long been believed that cholesterol in food can raise our body's own cholesterol level and that high cholesterol levels are a major factor in causing heart attacks and strokes. And because eggs contain a lot of cholesterol, they have just ended up on the blacklist. Unfortunately, this (in) knowledge persists even today, although both have been refuted for a number of years.
Eggs and cholesterol
Dietary cholesterol, i.e. how much cholesterol we ingest through food, has very little, if any, effect on our cholesterol levels. The body produces cholesterol itself and if it gets more from food, it makes less itself - because cholesterol is a very important “starting material” - our stress hormones, sex hormones and vitamin D, for example, are made from it. That is why the body makes sure that we do not run out. So not only is cholesterol bad, it also has many good, useful, and vital properties.
There are people who are a bit more sensitive to the amount of cholesterol in food, but here, too, it has been shown that eggs are then only a "harmless" version of cholesterol (there are several subgroups, not all are "dangerous") slightly increased, but not the potentially harmful cholesterol. So even the people who have to be careful have no problem with eggs.
(Apart from that, cholesterol is not a particularly good marker for heart attacks and strokes, so other things play a much bigger role, but you should still make sure that your cholesterol level is in the normal range).
In other words, the cholesterol in eggs has little to no effect on our cholesterol levels.
A much greater influence on our cholesterol level is the amount, but above all the type, of the fats we eat (but also the amount and type of carbohydrates that are converted into sugar in the body - if the sugar is not burned straight away, it will be in Converted into fat, which in turn can raise our cholesterol levels). An egg also contains a lot of fat - but studies have shown that eggs have little or no effect on cholesterol levels in healthy people and that they do not contribute to cardiovascular disease in any other way.
Prepare eggs healthy
What is important: how to eat the eggs and what to eat with them: whether they are poached or soft eggs (recommended), or whether you have fried fried eggs (this can oxidize the cholesterol in the egg and make it harmful) with crispy fried bacon or something similar (less recommended).
How many eggs can you eat?
Most experts, such as Harvard Medical School, have frowned upon eggs for years and are now starting to increase the "allowed" amount of eggs only slowly. But they, too, now say that an average of one egg per day is not a problem for healthy people - with the possible exception that people with diabetes may need to eat less. Others, like the British National Health Service, are much braver and say that there are no longer any restrictions on the consumption of eggs because there is simply nothing but the very outdated cholesterol theory that would speak against it.
There are even studies showing that regular egg consumption can have a positive effect on the prevention of dementia and Alzheimer's - even in people who are genetically prone to develop Alzheimer's and who are also sensitive to dietary cholesterol. To the surprise of the scientists, eggs in this group actually reduced the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease, and the “egg-eaters” performed better in neuropsychological tests. This may also be due to the fact that eggs contain very important building blocks for our nerves and brain, which are only found in animal foods and especially in eggs.
Eggs also contain B12, which vegans in particular miss. In a study of children in Nepal who were fed little animal products and who had a rather low (but not deficient) B12 status in the first year of life, negative effects could still be measured in cognitive tests and social behavior 5 years later.
Are Organic Eggs Better?
What we are still missing in the egg studies is the distinction between different egg qualities. Because as we know from studies, the composition of an egg changes dramatically depending on how the chicken was kept and what food it was given. A free-range chicken can lay an egg with a completely different omega 6: 3 ratio than a pasture-raised chicken, which also finds a bit of green stuff and one or two worms. The omega 6: 3 ratio says, among other things, whether a food in the body is more likely to promote or inhibit inflammation. A ratio of 3: 1 (or less) is considered ideal. A “floor-keeping egg” has a much worse ratio - which is more likely to trigger inflammation in the body. Research has shown that “grazing eggs” cut the omega-6/3 ratio by more than half (and the eggs contain a higher concentration of vitamin A and twice as much vitamin A). Inflammatory factors are much more decisive for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes than, for example, cholesterol.
This aspect is never included in the egg consumption studies, so a distinction is never made between whether someone has eaten “good” or “bad” eggs, but rather they are all lumped together. But that would be very important, because then you would be able to work out the advantages of eggs even better and would know more precisely whether and how important it is to keep the animals in a species-appropriate manner.
I think it's incredibly great that more and more studies are coming out that show that the way nature intended it to be the healthiest for us too: eggs and meat from animals that have had happy, stress-free, species-appropriate lives much healthier for us. You can already see that in the egg studies: eggs from chickens that were allowed out on a pasture (and not only had a dusty run) and could also peck a worm and nibble a bit of greens (and not only with a lot of omega-6 -containing grains such as soy and corn) have a completely different and much healthier composition.
Conclusion: eat as many eggs as you like, but be “gentle” with them - that is, hard-boiled eggs, scrambled eggs and poached eggs (you can find out how to poach eggs in our recipes “Poached eggs with spinach or with Swiss chard) or omelette as fried eggs. And make sure that the chickens had a good life and were allowed to graze. It's not just a lot nicer for the chicken - it's healthier for you too.
If you need more ideas for a healthy diet and a better plan on how to incorporate them step by step into your life, then you can become a Premium Member - with only EUR 15.95 per month you are there!
- Harvard University - Eggs https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/eggs/
- NHS: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/eggs-nutrition.aspx
- Ylilauri MP, Voutilainen S, et al, Association of dietary cholesterol and egg intakes with the risk of incident dementia or Alzheimer disease: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Feb; 105 (2): 476-484.
- H.D. Karsten, P.H. Patterson, et al, Vitamins A, E and fatty acid composition of the eggs of caged hens and pastured hens, Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, March 2010, pp. 45-54
- Kvestad, Hysing, Shrestha, Ulak M et al, Vitamin B-12 status in infancy is positively associated with development and cognitive functioning 5 y later in Nepalese children., Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Mar 22.
- Mutungi G, Waters D, Ratliff J, Puglisi M, Clark RM, Volek JS, Fernandez ML., Eggs distinctly modulate plasma carotenoid and lipoprotein subclasses in adult men following a carbohydrate-restricted diet., J Nutr Biochem. 2010 Apr; 21 (4): 261-7. doi: 10.1016 / j.jnutbio.2008.12.011. Epub 2009 Apr 14.
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