And many people immediately associate eggs with cholesterol and many times, they associate it with bad health. But is cholesterol totally bad?
Is egg really evil or is it all good?
Eggs are a good choice as part of a healthy, balanced diet. As well as being a source of protein, they also contain vitamins and minerals. They can be part of a healthy meal that’s quick and easy to make.
Eggs have long been recognized as a source of high-quality protein.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and other public health authorities actually use eggs as their reference standard for evaluating the protein quality in all other foods. Egg protein is usually referred to as “HBV” protein, meaning protein with High Biological Value.
Since eggs are used as the reference standard for food protein, they score 100% on the HBV chart. The high quality of egg protein is based on the mixture of amino acids it contains. (Amino acids are the building blocks for making proteins.) All B vitamins are found in eggs, including vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, choline, biotin, and folic acid. Choline is a standout among these B vitamins. Eggs should be considered a ‘superfood’ because they can boost health and tackle obesity, researchers will claim today.
The nutritionists say eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods and are recommending one a day for the maximum benefits.
What about Cholesterol?!
While it’s true that egg yolks have a lot of cholesterol—and so may weakly affect blood cholesterol levels—eggs also contain nutrients that may help lower the risk for heart disease, including protein, vitamins B12 and D, riboflavin, and folate.
A large egg contains about 185 mg of cholesterol. And since the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a limit of 300 mg per day,if you eat two eggs , you’ve exceeded that limit.
You may be asking what can be done if this is the case. But that’s not exactly how it happens. There happens to be a problem with the AHA’s recommendation. It assumes that when you eat more cholesterol (from eggs and other animal foods), your blood cholesterol increases.
Assume that and, of course, it makes sense to eat fewer eggs. Your blood cholesterol would be lower. Your heart and arteries would stay healthier for longer.
But here’s the AHA’s dirty little secret: Your body doesn’t work that way.
Indeed, the research consistently and reliably shows that the cholesterol you eat has very little impact on how much cholesterol is in your blood.
If that sounds weird, maybe this will help…
You see, your body makes cholesterol. Lots of it, in fact. Every single day you produce between 1 and 2 grams of it on your own. (That’s 5-10 times the cholesterol in a large egg.)
The interesting twist? When you eat more cholesterol from foods like eggs, your body produces less of it. And when you eat less cholesterol from foods like eggs, your body produces more.
That’s because you have a cholesterol “set point.” Think of it like a thermostat that’s largely determined by your genetics, exercise habits, and stress. Funny enough, diet plays a surprisingly small role.
The major determinant of plasma LDL (low density lipoproteins) level is saturated fat.
And while eggs are high in cholesterol (186 milligrams, 184 of them in the yolk), they’re relatively low in saturated fat (1.6 grams in the yolk).
The body needs cholesterol to work properly but too much in the blood causes problem. There is no current recommendation on how many eggs you should consume each week. Research indicates that total saturated fat contributes more to LDL (bad) cholesterol than dietary cholesterol.
Egg whites are safe and a good source of protein. It is egg yolks that have the cholesterol and saturated fat you’re trying to avoid.
While it’s true that egg yolks have a lot of cholesterol—and so may weakly affect blood cholesterol levels—eggs also contain nutrients that may help lower the risk for heart disease, including protein, vitamins B12 and D, riboflavin, and folate. In the area of cardiovascular disease, recent studies have shown no increased risk of either heart attack or stroke in conjunction with egg intake of one to six eggs per week.
Interestingly, these studies have also shown the ability of egg intake to increase levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol). Not only did egg intake increase the number of HDL molecules, it also improved their composition and allowed them to function more effectively. This improved function may have been the result of more phosphatidylethanolamine being added to the HDL molecules. (The addition of phosphatidylethanolamine, in turn, might have been related to the rich initial choline content of the eggs.)
How many eggs should I eat per day?
There is no recommended limit on how many eggs people should eat.
How Best To Prepare Eggs
In order to prevent any possible contamination to a recipe by a spoiled egg, break each egg separately into a small bowl before combining with the other ingredients. This will help you to not lose all your eggs by mixing the good ones with the bad ones. (Make sure to store eggs in the fridge and cook them until the whites and yolks are firm, to prevent food-borne illness.
When you prepare eggs, you should also pay attention to the way you cook them, If you fry them, the oil that you add is only going to contribute to your saturated fat for the day. The drier or oil-free cooking methods are preferred:
• Pan-frying with a cooking spray
• hard-boiled or poached, without added salt
• scrambled, without butter – which is high in saturated fat
Frying eggs can increase their fat content by around 50%.
Also avoid putting salt on your eggs to keep the amount of sodium in your diet at the recommended level. One teaspoon of salt is all you need per day. Eggs can be enjoyed as part of a healthy balanced diet. Once again it’s best to cook them without adding salt or fat.
To get the nutrients you need, make sure you eat as varied a diet as possible.
What about eating/drinking raw eggs?
I have done this once or more when I was younger, though I was forced to do it by my relations when I was ill. It was believed that raw egg is better than fried or boiled and would instantly “give Blood’ to the drinker. I have also seen some people mix raw eggs with a malt drink which is believed to be a very rich source of “blood’’.
Perhaps you have done it before or you still do it? Ever drank raw egg before?
As a general rule, there is more risk associated with soft cooked and “sunny side up” eggs than eggs that have been hard boiled, scrambled, or poached.
Dishes and utensils used when preparing eggs should be washed in warm water separately from other kitchenware, and hand washing with warm, soapy water is essential after handling eggs.
Any surfaces that might have potentially come into contact with raw egg should be washed thoroughly.The main concern of eating raw eggs, or any food that has not been cooked, is the potential for salmonella food poisoning.
Salmonella bacteria are the most common cause of foodborne illness, according to the Iowa State University Extension. “Salmonellosis” symptoms closely mirror symptoms of the flu.
Poultry and poultry products such as eggs are major purveyors of salmonella bacteria. Salmonella spreads to food products when a chicken or hen is sick from the bacteria. Eating raw eggs, eggs with runny yolks or any food that contains raw eggs and is uncooked or only lightly cooked can cause food poisoning, especially in anyone who is in an “at risk” group. These groups include:
• babies and toddlers
• elderly people
• pregnant women
• people who are already unwell
This is because eggs may contain salmonella bacteria, which can cause serious illness. And salmonella infection like typhoid fever can be very dangerous.
When eating raw or lightly cooked eggs, using pasteurized eggs minimizes this risk, because the pasteurization process kills salmonella. You can get them from some nice grocery stores in town.
Who Should avoid eating Eggs?
If you have heart disease or high cholesterol, be cautious about the number of egg yolks you consume, and take into account all the other forms of saturated fat (red meat, beef, pork, veal and lamb, poultry skin, whole-milk dairy or full-fat cheese) in your diet.
Chicken eggs are high in cholesterol, but the effect of egg consumption on blood cholesterol is minimal when compared with the effect of trans fats and saturated fats.
The risk of heart disease may be more closely tied to the foods that accompany the eggs in our normal everyday diet — such as the sodium in shawama, sausages and ham, and the saturated fat or oils with trans fats used to fry the eggs and the hash browns.
Most healthy people can eat up to seven eggs a week with no increase in their risk of heart disease. Some studies have shown that this level of egg consumption may actually prevent some types of strokes.
But the story is different for people who have diabetes. In this ever-growing population, eating seven eggs a week significantly increases the risk of heart disease.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one large egg has about 186 mg milligrams (mg) of cholesterol — all of which is found in the yolk.
When deciding whether to include eggs in your diet, consider the recommended daily limits on cholesterol in your food:
• If you are healthy, consume no more than 300 mg of cholesterol a day.
• If you have diabetes, high cholesterol or heart disease, limit the daily cholesterol intake to no more than 200 mg a day.
If you like eggs but don’t want the extra cholesterol, use only the egg whites. Egg whites contain no cholesterol. You may also use cholesterol-free egg substitutes, which are made with egg whites. They can be bought from any good grocery stores around town.