Many people avoid eggs because they believe the high amounts of cholesterol they contain causes heart disease. The vast majority of studies show that this is not the case and that even relatively high levels of egg consumption have neither a significant effect on an individuals cholesterol levels nor do they increase an individuals heart disease risk.
One study, conducted by researchers at Harvard Univeristy, followed around 120,000 individuals over a 14 year period. The study found absolutely no correlation between egg consumption and the risk of heart disease. Those who consumed two or more eggs each day were found to have almost exactly the same risk of heart disease as those who never consumed eggs at all.
While eggs are one of the most concentrated sources of dietary cholesterol, the link between dietary cholesterol and serum (blood) cholesterol appears to be minimal since only a very small amount of the dietary cholesterol is absorbed into the blood. According to Cr. Meir Stampfer, one of the researchers involved in the study: “Eggs will raise blood levels of cholesterol, but the increase is actually very small and appears to be compensated for by other nutrients, beneficial nutrients, that are present in eggs.”
Another study published in 2007 in the Medical Science Monitor which involved 9,5000 people found that eating one or more eggs a day did not increase heart disease risk and may even cause a slight decrease in blood pressure levels.
The high levels of the vitamins B6, B9 and B12 contained in eggs may in fact help protect the heart as these vitamins help reduce homocysteine levels in the blood. High homocysteine levels may damage blood vessels, and degrade the main structural elements of arteries: collagen, elastin, and proteoglycans. Several studies have linked high homocysteine levels to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Many also avoid eggs because they believe eggs to have high levels of fat, particularly saturated and trans fats, the so called “bad fats”. Eggs consist of only 10 percent fat however, and only a small amount of that fat (less than a third) is in the form of saturated fat. Eggs in fact have almost the exact ratio of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats recommended by most dietitians.
Egss are also an extremely healthy, nutrient dense, food. Eggs consist of about 15 percent protein. Egg protein is extremely high quality protein, it has a biological value of 94 percent. The biological value is a measure of how efficient a particular protein source can be used by the body. Egg has one of the highest protein values, it is higher than soy milk (91%), cows milk (90%), chicken (80%), fish (76%) and beef (74%). One egg provides over 10 percent of the bodies daily protein requirements.
Eggs are extremely good sources of most vitamins and minerals. They have high levels of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Thiamine (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B6, Folate (Vitamin B9), Vitamin B12, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Zinc, Tryptophan, Iodine and Selenium. Eggs are also an excellent source of choline, a nutrient important for brain health.