When it comes to weight loss and healthy living, eggs are usually one of the main ingredients on the list. They’re versatile, meaning you can use them for any meal of the day and cook them in so many ways. Whether you love them scrambled, poached, or prefer to make an omelette with them, there is always a way to use them up.
But they do get a bad reputation, especially when it comes to cholesterol levels. They can also be banned from some diets, especially in certain cooked forms. For example, pregnant women are advised not to eat runny eggs (yes, that means soft boiled eggs are off the menu) because of risks of food poisoning.
So, are eggs that healthy for you? Should you include them in your diet or is it time to focus on another ingredient?
It all really depends on some eggs you eat in a day or week. Here’s a look at all things eggs to see just how good or bad they can be.
Yes, There Is Cholesterol, but It’s Not All Bad
Just because food has cholesterol in it doesn’t mean that it is going to be bad for you. This is the case for eggs.
Eggs are full of the HDL cholesterol, which is the good stuff. Good cholesterol protects the blood vessels and kicks out the bad cholesterol from the body. It helps to keep the blood flowing through your body smoothly, so you don’t have to worry as much about clogs and heart issues.
The problem is many cholesterol tests will lump both types together. I remember getting a blood test that told me my cholesterol level was higher than normal, but right away I questioned whether that was the good or bad stuff. It turned out the doctor couldn’t tell me and admitted that a different type of test was needed.
Eggs contain cholesterol in one specific part of them: the yolk. That means if you only eat the white part then you’re not getting any of the cholesterol anyway. Therefore,there are many people opting for egg white omelettes now.
Research has also shown that when used with a healthy diet, heart disease isn’t as big of an issue as it would be with a poor diet. It suggests that it isn’t just the eggs that are the problem.
Packed with Plenty More Nutrients
While you’re worrying about the cholesterol levels, it’s easy to forget about all the other health benefits from eggs—especially the yolk. This is where you’re getting your protein from.
In fact, vegetarians who decide that they will allow eggs in their diet can get most their daily protein from the eggs. Protein is an essential food group for the body. It helps with the building of strong muscles while breaking down slowly to keep the body fueled with energy. You feel like you’re fuller for longer, so you don’t feel the need to eat as many calories. Those who are trying to lose weight will benefit from eating,e.g.,
And then there’s the benefit of two antioxidants: zeaxanthin and lutein. Both helps to improve the eyesight and keep the health of the eye in good nick. Lutein has been linked to the ability to slow down the formation of cataracts and even prevent the onset of glaucoma and macular degeneration disease. Of course, antioxidants also help to fight against free radicals in the body, which means you’re at a lower risk of developing cancer.
We also can’t forget the vitamins A, B12, and D that are in eggs. Vitamin A is essential for the formation and repair of cells. It helps to boost the eyesight, so you’re getting two nutrients in one ingredient when you opt for eggs.
Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium, which helps with the development of strong bones and teeth. Meanwhile, B12 keeps the nerve system and DNA healthy. This is especially important if you’re pregnant, as your developing baby will need as much of this nutrient as possible.
Brain Developing Super Food
Eggs are one of those super foods because of all the nutrients that it offers. One of the nutrients, Choline (not to be confused with chlorine!) helps with the development and function of the brain. No, it’s not the regular nutrient you hear of—that’s Omega 3—but that doesn’t mean it isn’t as good!
Doctors recommend that expectant mothers get choline in their diets because it will help with the brain development of babies. Good brain development helps to prevent numerous other problems down the developmental line.
You will also find that your own brain benefits since your memory is better. You’ll find that the brain functions as it should, while you’re at a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Keep Your Lean Muscle During Weight Loss
We can’t forget that point that we’ve mentioned in passing: eggs are good for weight loss. They tend to get a bad reputation for being fattening, but this isn’t the case.
Let’s start with the fact that most of the calories in the egg are in the yolk. If you just have the eggs, you’ll get a very healthy meal. But sometimes we just want the gooey goodness of the yellow part, right?
Well, this still isn’t that bad for you. In fact, the protein in it will help you with your weight loss efforts. It keeps you feeling full, remember?
And it’s not just the fullness. The protein helps with the development of muscle. When you lose weight, you run the risk of your body taking calories from anywhere that it can. If you have food that helps with muscle toning and building, you can encourage your body to take the calories from the fat cells instead.
Not only are you losing weight, but you’re getting a beach-ready body at the same time.
Oh, and that extra muscle tissue you’re adding is helping your weight loss efforts in another way. The tissue means that your metabolism needs to work quicker, so you end up burning more calories throughout the day. Now tell me that eggs are bad for your weight loss.
How Do You Like Your Eggs?
When you’re asked about how you want your eggs, think carefully. This will affect the nutrients you get and any additional badness that you get from these great additions to your diet.
Poached or boiled eggs are two of the best ways to cook your eggs. They only require water, and you won’t add in any extra fats. There are no extra calories added to your diet, which will help your waistline.
If you dry fry your eggs, you’re benefiting from no extra calories. The problem is it can be hard to dry fry if you don’t have the right pan. How often have your eggs turned into scrambled and then you’ve only gotten half of what you cooked? You usually need some oil to help avoid the sticking to the bottom—and eggs are one of the worst culprits for this.
When you do cook in oil, think about the type of oil you use. A small amount of olive oil for cooking isn’t going to do you harm. In fact, it can be good for your heart health. If you’re a vegetable or sunflower oil fan, think about making a few changes because you’re making your eggs unhealthy.
However, if you want to keep the cholesterol in the healthiest form possible, consider avoiding scrambling and frying. The cholesterol will oxidise and become bad cholesterol when you fry and scramble.
Make Sure You Get Fresh Eggs
There will be a “use by” date on the eggs. You may be tempted to ignore this date, but it will affect the health of them. The use by date is there to protect your chances of getting food poisoning.
It’s time to know the signs of a bad egg. The fresher you get, the more nutrients you will get. Fresh eggs will sink to the bottom of your pan. After cooking, they are also much harder to peel because the shells are much stronger. If your egg floats, it’s a sign that it’s getting old.
It’s Not All About Your Health
With all that in mind, it’s important to remember that it’s not just your health that you have to think about. It’s about the health of the hens, which affects the health of the eggs. This, in turn, affects your health!
There are so many buzzwords on egg cartons. You’ll read things like “caged hens” or “free roaming hens.” You’ll even find some cartons make a point of saying the hens were free from antibiotics, which is a major selling point for those who want to stay away from vaccinations and medication because we just don’t know what too much of the drugs will do to us.
However, not all the terms are regulated. And they don’t always tell the whole truth. You may see eggs that are “free-range,” which means the hens have shelter but also have access to the outdoors. Just how much access to the outdoors do these hens have? Well, we don’t know for sure. That information isn’t shared. The hens could have just one or two hours a day outdoors, but they’re still free-range, right?
Some of the free-range hens or cage-free hens don’t get access to the real outdoors. They’ll have an open space in a barn, but that’s it. The hens may still not be the healthiest options out there. And the treatment of the hens doesn’t factor in the type of food the hens are fed, which can have a more direct affect on the eggs.
The only way you can find out the full truth about the eggs and the health of the chickens is by going to the source. You’ll have the name and address of the farm where the eggs came from on the cartons so you can find out more directly from them. This is also a great way to make sure the eggs are from local farms and aren’t subject to other governmental standards that may be poorer than your own.
The Colour Doesn’t Matter
There’s this belief that the colour of your eggs will affect your health. Let’s get one thing straight: whether you have a white shell or a brown shell, you’re still getting the exact same middle. You will still get all those nutrients and all the weight loss help.
The colour difference in the shell is based on the type of hen and not where the hen comes from. However, there is a difference in the yolk colours that may affect your choice—of course, you don’t get to see this until you crack the egg.
Grass-fed chickens will have bright yellow yolks, while those fed on corn and grains can have a duller yolk colour. More research is needed to determine just how much affect this will have on your health.
Add Some Eggs to Your Diet
It’s time to add the eggs back into your diet if you removed them in fear of your health. Eggs on their own are not the sole cause for high levels of cholesterol in the body. It depends on the way the eggs are cooked and the other ingredients that are added.
Yes, there is cholesterol, but this is good cholesterol. And there are so many other good vitamins and minerals that your body will need. It’s just all about getting them in moderation. Having eggs and only eggs for the rest of your life isn’t going to do you any good. But then that applies to anything (even one vegetable). You want a varied diet.
So, don’t be afraid of the eggs. Just know the best type of eggs for you and how to cook them to make the most of all their benefits.