The Real Truth: Are Eggs Good for You or Not?

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Eggs get a bad rap for being high in cholesterol, but they are an excellent source of lutein and zeaxanthin. These two antioxidants could protect against cataracts and macular degeneration.The consumption of eggs goes back to when humans started eating chicken as food. We have been consuming eggs and chickens for a long time now. Eggs get a bad rap from those pushing good nutrition health because they contain cholesterol. While it’s true that cholesterol negatively impacts your heart — sometimes to the point where you’re at greater risk of developing heart disease — eggs are not all bad. The yolk of an egg is very high in cholesterol when you take its size into consideration. But what is also true is that the yolk contains many B-vitamins including riboflavin, as well as vitamin A, and iron. Meanwhile, the whites of the egg have no cholesterol at all, and no fat.

There is a distinction to be made here: dietary cholesterol (found in your food) is far different than blood cholesterol, which is the amount flowing through your body. These two are not as directly related as scientists used to think they were. The cholesterol inside the yolk does not immediately become blood cholesterol, which is the real problem that leads to heart conditions.

A very interesting study out of the University of Arizona showed certain findings on the egg-cholesterol link. Examining 25 years’ worth of dietary research, these scientists came to the conclusion that saturated fat — not dietary cholesterol — raises our blood cholesterol levels. And eggs are actually not high in saturated fat, which would explain why people who eat a couple of eggs a day don’t have increased cholesterol levels.

And health news from another study: researchers have found that eggs contain significant amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin — two antioxidants that are documented to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. We’ve believed that leafy green vegetables such as spinach were the best natural place to get lutein and zeaxanthin. But recent research suggests that the best place could be eggs. A big study confirmed it: eggs are probably the best source of lutein you can find.

So there you have it — go ahead and eat some eggs. A few a week won’t do you any harm and should, in fact, benefit your health. If you want the yolk — because, let’s face it, we all do — here are the two best ways to ensure its cholesterol won’t be oxidized. Boil the egg. Poach the egg. The reason is that the chances of oxidation rise when the yolk is exposed to air while cooking. Both of these methods keep it covered. By this reasoning, the least healthy way to cook eggs is to scramble them.

Remember to get your doctor’s advice if you have heart disease and are concerned about your cholesterol.