Eggs get both good and bad raps, but here’s why you should incorporate eggs into your diet in moderation. Most of us know eggs are protein rich (each 85 calorie egg packs 7 grams of protein), however, they are also loaded with amino acids, antioxidants, and iron. And if you think only consuming egg whites will cut it, keep in mind that some nutrients are only found in the egg yolks.
You do want to steer toward organic eggs whenever possible. These are certified by the USDA and are free from antibiotics, vaccines, and hormones. The color of eggs is up to personal preference, and simply varies based on the type of chicken (both have the same nutritional value).
Here are a few reasons why you want to include eggs into your daily diet:
Boost Immune System
One large egg contains 22% of your recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of selenium, a nutrient which helps support your immune system and regulate thyroid hormones. Adding an egg or two to your diet can make a difference, especially for children and adolescents. A deficiency of selenium can result in Keshan disease and Kashin-Beck disease, conditions that can affect the heart, bones, and joints.
Improve Cholesterol Profile
We all know that high cholesterol is not good, however, there are good and bad kinds of cholesterol (HDL and LDL, respectively). While it is true that eggs contain plenty of cholesterol (one large egg has 212 mg), this does not necessarily mean that eggs will raise “bad” cholesterol levels in the blood. Research has shown that eggs can actually improve your cholesterol profile as they seem to raise HDL cholesterol while increasing the size of LDL particles.
Reduce Risk Of Heart Disease
Speaking of LDL particles, they transport their fat molecules into artery walls and drive atherosclerosis (the narrowing of the blood vessels due to cholesterol plaque build-up). And when it comes to these particles, size matters. Those with predominantly small, dense LDL particles have a higher risk of heart disease than those who have mostly large LDL particles. Eggs tend to raise LDL cholesterol in some people, however, as mentioned previously, they also change the particles from small and dense to large, lowering the risk of cardiovascular problems.
One egg contains about 15% of your RDA of vitamin B2 (riboflavin). This is just one of eight B vitamins which help to convert food into fuel to produce energy.
Better Skin & Hair
Aside from vitamin B2, eggs also contain B5 and B12. These B-complex vitamins are also necessary for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver. They also help to ensure the proper function of the nervous system.
Protect Your Brain
The essential nutrient choline is a component of cell membranes and is required to synthesize acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter). A lack of choline has been linked to neurological disorders and decreased cognitive function, and, surprisingly, more than 90% of Americans eat less than the RDA of choline. Luckily, choline can be found in egg yolks.
Save Your Life
There are 20 essential amino acids that your body needs, 11 of which your body can produce. The other 9 must come from a food source, and eggs contain all 9. A lack of these 9 amino acids can result in muscle wasting, decreased immune response, weakness, fatigue, and changes to the texture of your skin and hair.
Less Stress & Anxiety
A deficiency in the 9 amino acids can also have effects on mental health. A 2004 study found that lysine (an amino acid) can significantly reduce anxiety and stress levels by possibly modulating serotonin in the nervous system.
Protect Your Eyes
Lutein and zeaxanthin, both antioxidants found in eggs, have powerful protective effects on the eyes. They significantly reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts (which are among the leading causes of vision impairment and blindness in the elderly). But if you’re only eating egg whites, don’t expect to reap these benefits – these antioxidants are found in the yolk.
Improve Bones & Teeth
Vitamin D aids the absorption of calcium and eggs are one of the few natural sources of this. Calcium is not only important for the health and strength of your bones, but is also crucial for a healthy heart, colon, and metabolism.
Because eggs are such a great source of protein, all other sources of protein are measured against them.
High-protein foods affect your appetite in that they allow you to feel fuller while eating less. With that being said, eggs score high on the Satiety Index, a measure of how much foods contribute to the feeling of fullness. And because of their satiating power, eggs have also been linked with fat loss.