I overheard part of a conversation the other day between two individuals while shopping. They were talking about eggs and using them in cooking and making paleo breads (which usually call for 5-7 eggs depending on the recipe). The question of “What about a person’s cholesterol levels?” came up between the two. When the other answered “I just get checked by my doctor” I realized our level of education (as a society) is a little behind the times. Yes, these two individuals were a generation older than me and yes, I know there has been plenty of research in the past cracking-down on eggs but it raises the question of “are eggs healthy?”
I’m going to share with you my thoughts on the subject. Yes, I do believe in moderation, eggs are a great addition to a whole food lifestyle. My reasoning is their nutrient value outweighs the cholesterol aspect. Eggs are an egg-cellent source of lecithin which is a phospholipid that actually helps block the absorption of cholesterol. Eggs are also a good source of protein. The yolk is rich in Vitamin D and choline. Choline is a B vitamin that is important for the nervous system as well as fetal brain development (for all the pregnant mommas out there). Registered Dietitian Lily Nichols calls it “Folates long lost cousin”.
It’s important to keep in mind how the eggs are prepared. When you fry an egg, you oxidize the cholesterol which is what leads to the cascade of events that causes cardiovascular disease especially if you’re enjoying them with a side of bacon and white toast. Boiled eggs or poached eggs are better options to protect the cholesterol from oxidizing. It’s also a good idea to choose eggs from happy chickens that get to be outside on their own terms and eat omega rich flax seeds and/or an organic diet. You’ll notice the deep orange colour of these yolks compared to the pale yellow of a conventional egg. Colour always means nutrition! These deep yellow/orange yolks are richer in nutrients and have nigher levels of anti-inflammatory omega 3 than conventional eggs.
There is a ton of information available in this article by Julie Daniluk if you want to know more about what the different labels on eggs mean as well as great recipes and tips if you are sensitive to chicken eggs.
Overall, I believe most people can incorporate a few eggs a week into their diets.