Eggs, Cholesterol and a Healthy Diet: Fertilized Eggs and More
There has been much controversy about whether a healthy diet should include eggs. Cholesterol in eggs has been considered by many health experts to be a contributor to heart disease. In the sixties and seventies medical reports linked egg consumption to heart disease causing a decline in egg sales. In the late seventies beliefs about eggs began to change and some experts promoted eggs for their many nutritional benefits including decreasing the risk of heart disease.
Then in the mid nineties more opinions about the dangers of cholesterol in eggs began to emerge. The concern was that eggs contained two hundred and fifty milligrams of cholesterol in every yolk, which is the total daily allowance. In the late nineties views began to change again. Some experts claimed that eating eggs every day is healthy and the cholesterol content is good for your health.
Today it is known that consuming cholesterol from natural sources such as eggs does not increase blood cholesterol. Therefore the amount of cholesterol in fertilized or unfertilized eggs is not an issue. What does increase cholesterol is a diet high in refined sugars, flours and fats. In fact, the high lecithin content in eggs helps reduce cholesterol levels. Studies show that healthy individual who eat one to two eggs per day do not increase their risk of heart disease. High saturated fat consumption is now known to be the true risk factor for heart disease. Most of the fat found in eggs is not saturated.
The nutritional value of an egg depends upon the quality of the chicken which laid it and amount of time it has spent in storage. Mass produced eggs from caged hens contain growth enhancing chemicals, antibiotics and other chemicals in their feed. These eggs can be recognized by their pale, flat yolks, bland taste and thin shells. Good quality egg will have a round, deep orange-yellow yolk with a greatest concentration of egg white nearest to the yolk and the shells will be thick and hard.
Quality eggs can be found at a natural food store, a farmer’s market and some major supermarkets. Eggs should be labeled certified organic or free range, which means hens have been grain fed without the use of antibiotics and have been able to roam around freely to get exercise.
Organic or free range eggs are considered a whole food and are very nutritious and taste much better than mass produced eggs. They are one of the most nutritious foods available. Nutrients include A, E, B1, B2, B5, B6, B12, D, pantothenic acid, folate, iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, lutein(a powerful antioxidant), selenium, tryptophan, iodine and DHA. Eggs also contain lecithin which breaks down fat, supports liver function, helps prevent clogged arteries, and improves digestion, prevents gallstones and kidney stones, provides a source of choline and inositol for proper brain function.
Eggs are low in calories and only have five grams of fat. They are one of the best sources of protein available because they are rich in all the essential amino acids. Once the body has been provided these eight essential amino acids, it is able to produce all the other amino acids that it requires. When you consider the cost of eggs, they are one of the best values around for the amount of protein and other nutrients they contain.