Before starting, I apologize in advance for the egg puns. I try to make this blog as professional as possible… except today. Rest assured, the information here is completely valid and backed up by research, but the puns just crack me up!
Today, we will be talking all about eggs. Eggs are a food item that have been on both Santa’s “Good” and “Bad” list over and over again. So let me demystify a few things, and hopefully we’ll see if we can see a bit clearer through this topic.
The Cholesterol Question
First off, eggs have often been accused of being quite unhealthy due to its high cholesterol content. Next, egg yolks were blasted for being too high in fat. Although both these statements are true, it doesn’t make eggs unhealthy, not in the slightest. Actually, your body produces 80% of the cholesterol that your it needs, and only 20% comes from the food you eat. You heard me right, your body NEEDS cholesterol. Cholesterol is found in your cell membranes, maintaining permeability and fluidity. It is also used for the production of steroid hormones, vitamin D (see previous article on vitamin D) and bile acid synthesis. The above fact also means that the cholesterol that you eat is actually quite minor compared to the cholesterol that your body produces and has minimal impact on your blood cholesterol levels. Your body’s cholesterol production fluctuates according to how much you eat, so you shouldn’t worry about your dietary cholesterol intake. Stay tuned for my next article on cholesterol and liver function for more information about our friends HDL, LDL, lipoproteins and permeable membranes and how to control blood cholesterol levels.
And as a quick side note, cholesterol found in eggs can actually increased HDL, which is beneficial for your body. As for the yolk’s fat composition, the fat in egg yolks is actually a high quality fat that is beneficial for brain function, steady metabolism and many other functions, and studies have shown that it can even promote weight loss. The yolk contains essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, K) that your body eggspects to receive from your diet.
Benefits of Eggs
Now that we spent too much time talking about cholesterol and fat, I want you guys to understand something very important about eggs: they are the golden standard for protein. Indeed, eggs are made of high quality protein, easily absorbed by your body and with infinite benefits for your body, including muscle growth. They contain all 9 essential amino acids that we NEED to get from our diet. One medium egg contains on average 6-7g of protein. Quick reminder: we have seen in my Balanced Plate article that we should be having about 20g of protein per meal. So 6-7g is a significant amount of protein, especially if we have 2 eggs for breakfast. And the best part? They are very cheap. There is also vitamin B2, B6, B12, D (for healthy bone and teeth health), folate (important especially during pregnancy), zinc, iron, copper, choline (for brain development), lutein (for eye and heart health). Bottom line: eggs are your friend; do not fear eggs.
If you go to the grocery store, you will surely find eggs marketed to be high in omega-3. These eggs come from chicken that were fed flaxseed, a good source of ALA omega-3. However, this omega-3 is not the same as DHA omega-3 typically found in fatty fish and associated with enhanced brain health. Omega-3 from plant sources (flaxseed, chia seed, hemp oil, walnuts, canola oil, soybeans) are not absorbed nearly as much as from animal sources and do not act the same way in your body. In addition, the amount found in the egg is already quite minimal, as it had to be processed by the hen before going in the egg. To summarize, omega-3 eggs are not a necessity on your weekly grocery list, and remember to have fish twice a week for adequate omega-3 intake.
Free Range Eggs
Free range eggs are eggs that come from hens that are free to roam around. These hens get to peck the ground and eat various bugs, worms and seeds found on the ground in addition to their feed. This allows for a more varied diet than hens laying conventional eggs. As I have often mentioned, you are what you eat. Hence, since the hen eats a more varied diet, they also produce eggs with more varied nutrients, which is beneficial for us. However, if spending the extra money for free range eggs does not interest you, conventional eggs still have all the benefits mentioned above (protein, fat, vitamins, minerals)!
Eggs for Breakfast
So what should we have while we’re scrambling to find something to eat for breakfast? The fact of the matter is that we want something healthy, filling and that essentially takes no time at all to prepare. Let’s face it, it’s a tough order to fill. We have very high eggspectations. There’s nothing like meal prepping using hard boiled eggs. You don’t need an eggstravagant meal. They are quick and easy to make, cheap and ready to grab and go the following morning. Plop a few eggs in water, boil for 8-12 minutes and voilà, breakfast! And if you want to get fancy, you can make my favorite: devilled eggs. Hard boil eggs, cut them in half. Empty out the yolk part and mix it with some mayo. Put the mixture back in the egg white hole and sprinkle some paprika on top! Delicious! They’re truly hard to beat!