Eggs are one of the healthiest foods you can possibly eat. Their vitamin, mineral, antioxidant, protein and even fat and cholesterol content serves important nutritional purposes. The cholesterol in eggs has a preventive action against degenerative diseases of the nervous system while the Omega-3 fatty acids which benefit cardiovascular health, raising HDL cholesterol levels in the blood and promote brain development of children in the womb. The high protein and fat in egg yolks makes them an excellent brain food which supports memory and learning. When consumed in moderate amounts, as part of an overall healthy and balanced diet, eggs are an important source of nourishment and boast the several wonderful properties and benefits.
1) Good for eye health. Studies show eating eggs is good for vision and can offer a certain degree of protection against degenerative eye diseases, reducing risks of cataract and delaying macular degeneration (loss of central vision due to old age). This is because egg yolks are rich sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoid antioxidants that give the egg yolks their yellow color. Both carotenoid pigments are physically part of the retina, protecting against free radicals from light and providing benefits for visual acuity. What makes eggs a better food for eye health than spinach, kale, carrots, corn or bell peppers is their content of fats and cholesterol. Carotenoids need fats to be absorbed and eggs provide plenty, hence their benefits for eye health.
2) Complete source of protein. Eggs are one of the few sources of complete protein, meaning they contain all 9 essential amino acids: histidine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. The body cannot produce these amino acids itself in the amounts needed, so it has to get them from dietary sources like eggs, meat, milk and dairy or the few plant sources that contain them like quinoa and buckwheat. The fact that eggs contain all essential amino acids in the protein they provide means they provide benefits for:
– Brain and nervous system: improve mood, regulate sleep and appetite, reduce anxiety, brain fog and nervousness, boost productivity, support learning.
– Muscle health: combat fatigue, boost energy levels, contribute to muscle growth and repair.
– Immune system: support immune system function.
– Other benefits: good for brain development in infants, digestion, vitamin and mineral absorption, hair growth, strong nails and teeth and weight loss.
3) Important source of choline. Choline is a relatively new essential nutrient, only recently discovered. Eggs contain 294 mg of choline/100 g (the new RDI, recommended daily intake for choline is 550 mg). Getting enough choline from food is believed to have long term benefits on memory. Moreover, the nutrient helps prevent fatty liver disease and cardiovascular disease. Choline is also good for pregnant women because it helps with brain development of children in the womb, prevents neural tube defects of the brain, spine and spinal cord, reduces risks of hypertension during pregnancy, pre-eclampsia and premature birth.
4) Good source of vitamin D for immunity. 100 g of whole, hard-boiled egg contains 2.2 mcg (micrograms) of vitamin D out of the 20 mcg minimum recommended daily intake. In other words, 2 eggs provide 15% of the RDI of the vitamin for an average person. Vitamin D is crucial for a strong immune system and is believed to play an important part in cancer prevention. Cholesterol in eggs helps synthesize vitamin D.
5) Rich in vitamin B12 for brain and digestive health. 100 g of whole, hard-boiled egg has 1.11 mcg of vitamin B12 out of the 2.4 mcg RDI. In other words, eating 2 medium to large eggs provides you with 45% of your vitamin B12 intake for the day, which is a lot. Vitamin B12 has benefits for memory, digestion, fights depression, boosts energy levels, combats fatigue and prevents anemia.
6) Source of Omega-3 for cardiovascular and brain health. Believe it or not, eggs are generally a good source of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, along with fish and other seafood. Found for the most part in the egg yolk, Omega-3 fatty acids helps with brain development of infants in the womb and young children under the age of four, support cognitive functions, especially memory and learning, reduce brain fog and have benefits for cardiovascular health, raising levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and lowering bad cholesterol (LDL).
7) High in cholesterol and fat. The maximum recommended daily intake of cholesterol for an average person is estimated at 300 mg. 100 g of eggs contains 373 mg of cholesterol, and 10.6 g of saturated and unsaturated fats. While they are high in both cholesterol and fats, eggs are actually healthy and do not cause cardiovascular disease when consumed in moderation (read more about how many eggs you should eat per week).
New studies show that cholesterol from food has little effect on blood cholesterol levels and, more important, does not cause heart disease. It’s more likely that an overall high intake of fats from all kinds of foods causing obesity leads to high total cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease. Eating eggs is only bad for people who are already overweight or obese and would not benefit from adding other sources of fat in their already high fat diets.
Both cholesterol and fat are actually essential nutrients, meaning the human body requires them in limited amounts to be healthy. They are essentially brain food, supporting cognitive functions. Moreover, cholesterol makes up part of the myelin sheath, the protective lining surrounding the tail of nerve cells. Without cholesterol, the myelin sheath would disintegrate, exposing neurons and increasing the risk for degenerative diseases of the nervous system such as multiple sclerosis (read more about cholesterol: good or bad for you).
8) Rich source of B vitamins and phosphorus. Eggs are rich sources of all B vitamins: thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, folate and vitamin B12. They aid digestion, help synthesize fats, support gut flora health, help in the production of red blood cells, boost energy levels and prevent anemia. Eggs also provide 25% of the RDI of phosphorus for strong bones and teeth.
9) Good food for pregnant women. Eggs are important dietary sources of folate, vitamin B12 and Omega-3 fatty acids which help with brain development of children in the womb and prevent neural tube defects of the brain, spine and spinal cord. Eggs also contain vitamin D and zinc for good fertility, supporting pregnancy.
Despite their bad reputation, eggs are one of the few truly highly nutritious foods. They promote brain and nervous system health, boost immunity, support digestion and energy metabolism, combat physical and mental fatigue, promote muscle growth, are good for pregnancy, cardiovascular, bone and eye health. However, because there is a risk of contamination with Salmonella bacteria, eggs are best eaten well cooked. Also, they are not recommended for diabetics who are already enjoying high-fat diets and children and adults with egg allergy or egg intolerance should avoid eating eggs altogether.