It doesn’t matter whether you like them boiled, poached, scrambled or fried. Regardless of however you eat yours, adding eggs to your diet is incredibly beneficial to your overall health.
We all know that eggs are delicious and versatile. Not only do they taste great as a standalone food, but they are a necessary ingredient in so many of our favorite meals.
Did you know that eggs can give you a stronger heart, contribute to healthy eyes and skin and help ward off a plethora of chronic diseases?
The egg is one of the more humble superfoods. It’s not green or exotic, but it does pack a nutritional punch and offers a vast array of nutrients that most modern Western diets lack.
The History Of The Egg
None of us know whether the chicken or the egg really came first, that’s one debate science is still trying to solve! But one thing we do know is the humble egg has been around for millennia and has a rich history that spans back as far as the ancient Egyptians.
Even the Pharaohs knew the super health powers eggs held, insisting they were created by one of the ancient Gods from the sun and the moon.
It is believed their use as food originated in southeast Asia, moving across Egypt and Greece until finally they reached the entire world.
In 17th century France, eating eggs with acidic fruit juices rose in popularity. Whereas in the 19th century, drying eggs was introduced, a practice which became incredibly significant during world war ll, especially for the U.S. armed forces and their allies.
Although chicken eggs are the main type of eggs purchased in the US, duck and quail eggs are also available. 762 billion eggs are sold throughout America each year, 70 percent of those as whole eggs with the rest used in egg products.
So we can clearly see that eggs are an incredibly popular addition to our dinner plate. Next let’s discuss some of the many benefits of eggs which have been backed by science.
1 – Eggs are Incredibly Nutritious
Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods you can put on your table. The actually offer incredibly levels of important nutrients considering their size.
One single boiled egg offers the following micronutrients (source):
- Selenium – 22% of the RDA
- Riboflavin – 15% of the RDA
- Vitamin B12 – 9% of the RDA
- Phosphorus – 9% of the RDA
- Pantothenic Acid – 7% of the RDA
- Vitamin A – 6% of the RDA
- Folate 5% of the RDA
- Vitamin E – 3% of the RDA
- Vitamin B6 – 3% of the RDA
- Iron – 3% of the RDA
- Calcium – 2% of the RDA
- Potassium – 2% of the RDA
- Zinc – 2% of the RDA
- Thiamin – 2% of the RDA
They manage to offer all of this while coming in at under 100 calories!
Eggs also offer a number of trace nutrients which are often lacking from modern diets yet are important for overall health.
2 – Eggs are the Gold Standard of Protein
Protein is an essential macronutrient which is present in every cell in our bodies.
Moreover, amino acids – the building blocks of protein – have a number of specific functions from making our hair to neurotransmitters.
Protein also offers a number of health benefits from improving bone health to lowering blood pressure.
The fact is, consuming enough protein is incredibly important for human life.
Lately it’s become popular to follow a diet which gets a large percentage of daily calories from protein, in order to assist fat loss. This is because protein promotes satiety and can prevent muscle break down when cutting calories.
Eggs offer a huge amount of protein with one boiled egg containing a whopping 6 grams.
Eggs also include all 20 amino acids, even the essential ones that our body can only get from the food we eat.
3 – Eggs are Packed with Choline
Choline is something most people have probably never heard of. However it is an important micronutrient which often falls under the B vitamin category.
Choline is incredibly important for the human body as it’s involved in production of cell membranes as well as producing signaling molecules in the brain just to mention a couple of its functions.
Despite its importance, most people miss out on this super nutrient. Studies show that 90% of the people in the US get less than the recommended daily amount.
A single egg is packed with choline, more than 100 mg of this super nutrient.
4 – Eggs Don’t Raise Blood Cholesterol
Many people are concerned about eating eggs due to the high cholesterol levels they contain.
It’s true that their levels are high. In fact, one egg contains 212 mg which is more than half of the recommended daily amount.
However, one thing to bear in mind is that dietary cholesterol doesn’t necessarily raise the levels of cholesterol in the blood.
What actually happens is that cholesterol is produced daily by the liver, yet when we eat eggs, the liver produces less, evening out the levels.
Even better news, for around 70% of people, eggs don’t raise blood cholesterol at all.
5 – Eggs Actually Raise Good Cholesterol
High density lipoprotein (HDL) is often referred to as the “good” cholesterol
Higher levels of HDL are associated with a lower risk of several diseases such as cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) and even a lower risk of mortality.
6 – Eggs Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Many people throughout the world have the misconception that eating eggs is dangerous for those who are at higher risk of heart disease. However, a study in 2015 showed that eating the right kind of eggs offers benefits regardless of your pre-existing conditions
Free range eggs (taken from pastured chickens rather than those raised in cages) contain a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, they contain double the amount of caged eggs.
Omega-3 fatty acids are lacking in most people’s diets but are incredibly beneficial to both physical and mental health. One of their significant benefits is that they help lower triglycerides.
High triglycerides are a serious risk factor for heart disease and thus having lower triglycerides makes you less likely to develop the heart issues.
7 – Eggs Can Improve Eye Health
One type of nutrient that naturally occurs in eggs are carotenoids. Carotenoids offer a number of health benefits and people who include them in their diet often have longer life spans and lower their risk of chronic diseases.
Carotenoids are also present in many green leafy vegetables although they are harder to absorb. Eating cooked eggs along with raw vegetables actually boosts absorption of the carotenoids in the veggies.
There are over 600 carotenoids in existence, but only 2 are found in the eyes. These are called lutein and zeaxanthin and their concentration is higher in the eyes than anywhere else in the body.
They work as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, protecting eye health by filtering out high energy blue spectrums of light. This lowers your risk of developing some of the more common eye diseases like cataracts and glaucoma.
Research has shown that eating eggs can significantly impact your levels of these important nutrients. In fact, one study showed that by eating as little as 1.3 egg yolks per day, your carotenoid levels seriously increase.
Over a 4.5 week period, lutein levels increased by 28-50% and zeaxanthin levels increased by 114-142%.
Moreover, we already saw that eggs have high levels of vitamin A. As vitamin A deficiency is the number one cause of blindness, this is another way that eggs can promote eye health.
8 – Eggs Keep Skin Healthy
The lutein and zeaxanthin found in eggs don’t only promote eye health, they help look after your skin too.
Similarly to how they filter the harmful high energy blue spectrums of light from your eyes, they do the same for your skin, thus reducing oxidative damage from certain light wavelengths, particularly UV rays.
9 – Eggs can Aid Weight Loss
Many people are familiar with how beneficial a protein-rich diet can be for weight loss.
One measuring system called the “Satiety Index” measures to what level certain foods leave you feeling full, therefore, reducing further calorie intake.
One study showed that eating eggs for breakfast instead of other typical breakfast foods such as bagels increased satiety and lowered subsequent calorie intake for the next 36 hours.
But eggs actually boost weight loss for other reasons too.
The carotenoid lutein found in eggs not only has an impact on eye health, it also positively impacts your physical activity level according to recent studies.
Not All Eggs Are Created Equal!
You’ve probably noticed in the grocery store that there are predominantly two types of eggs:
Free range eggs and cage-raised eggs.
For many people the only difference they see is the price tag and it may not seem like a big deal which eggs you buy or if you simply pick up the first carton you lay your hands on (excuse the pun). However, when thinking about getting the maximum health benefits from eggs, buying the right kind of eggs is key.
Buying the wrong kind of eggs not only affects the levels of nutrition they offer, you also put yourself at risk of accidentally consuming harmful bacteria such as salmonella.
Let us take a look at the differences between these two types of eggs:
Cage Raised Eggs
- Several hens all in one single small 67 square inch cage
- Can’t roam freely or flap their wings
- Hens can’t lie down properly
- They can’t groom themselves
- Hens often pluck, attack and even eat one and other
- They are exposed to bacteria and antibiotics
- Often hens are fed ‘slaughterhouse waste’ which includes diseased dead animals (meat, blood and feces)
Free Range Eggs
- Hens are allowed to roam freely, perch, flap their wings
- The hens have a better quality of life
Nutritional Differences Between Cage-Raised and Free Range Eggs
Free range eggs offer:
- 2 times more omega-3
- 3 times more vitamin E
- 7 times more beta-carotene
- ⅓ less cholesterol
- ¼ less saturated fat
- ⅔ more vitamin A
Not only this, but free range eggs are 98 percent less likely to carry salmonella than cage.
This is why switching to free range eggs could make a huge difference to your health and that of your family.
Helen Sanders is chief editor at HealthAmbition.com. Established in 2012, Health Ambition has grown rapidly in recent years. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives.