I don’t know about you, but I always have eggs in the house. I eat them hard-boiled (alone for a snack or chopped up in a salad for lunch), scrambled for breakfast, or in a frittata with veggies for dinner. Eggs are easy to make, affordable, and very nutritious, but in the past few years, they've gotten an undeserved bad rap due to their high cholesterol and saturated fat content.
The truth is, dietary cholesterol doesn’t have as much influence on elevating blood cholesterol as you think. In fact we only absorb about half of the cholesterol we get through our diet. The real culprit for elevating your cholesterol is saturated and trans fat. And while one whole egg contains about 240 mg of cholesterol and 8 percent of your daily allowance for saturated fat, the American Heart Association says you can eat up to four egg yolks per week. In my practice I tell patients they can use egg whites as their source of protein for all meals if they want.
Eggs have a lot of surprising functions:
They can boost your memory
Egg yolks are rich in choline, an essential nutrient that acts as a precursor for acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter involved in many functions like memory and muscle control.
They can help you see better
Lutein, a carotenoid found in eggs, is thought to prevent oxidative damage to the eye and reduce age-related eye disease. Egg yolks also contain vitamin A, which in adequate amounts, helps prevent night blindness, regulates the immune system, and prevents mutations during embryonic development.
They make your bones stronger
Egg yolks contain some vitamin D, which aids in calcium absorption and helps prevent osteoporosis.
They can help you get a leaner, stronger frame
One large egg white has about half of all the protein in an egg — 3.5 grams — for just 20 calories and 0 grams fat. It is the ultimate source of high biological value lean protein — the kind that keeps us full, helps grow healthy tissue, and repairs muscles after exercise. It is also a good source of riboflavin, a B-vitamin used in carbohydrate and fat metabolism.
They’re the best beauty secret
Since eggs contain all the amino acids that are needed to build keratins, a group of tough, fibrous proteins that form the structural framework of certain cells, they strengthen hair, skin, and nails.
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a nationally known registered dietitian based in New York and the creator of a proprietary high-fiber nutrition program for weight loss, wellness and for treating various medical conditions. Tanya authored the bestselling weight loss book The F-Factor Diet, and she is the first dietitian with a national line of high-fiber foods, which are sold under the F-Factor name. Become a fan of Tanya on Facebook, follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn, and visit her website Ffactor.com.
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.