The Health Benefits of Eggs

Eggs, the perfect diet? 

Eggs took a bad rap. Decades ago eggs were the staple food for American breakfasts. Most of the time they were the main course of the meal. Many people would prepare eggs by frying them in a skillet on top of the stove and they would season them with a lot of salt and pepper. After years of unhealthy eating habits, people began developing health issues. Researchers and scientists started analyzing their diets and came to the conclusion that eggs were one of the culprits that contributed to these health issues.

Over the years studies have shown that eggs can be a part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation.

Since then, dieticians, scientists, and researchers have found that many people still have a common misconception; because eggs are high in dietary cholesterol they can not be a part of a healthy diet. If you allow yourself to overeat, and consume foods that are high in fat, sugar, cholesterol, and salt, then you increase your chances of having serious health issues. High blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high LDL, or bad cholesterol levels, are all potential threats. The most important part of maintaining a healthy diet is knowing the facts, and weighing the health benefits against the risks. Eating eggs for every meal on a regular basis may be a reason for concern, however, adding eggs to your diet in moderation present many health benefits.

Eggs contain a nutrient that is essential to brain function, it is called choline. Researchers have found eggs to be one of the highest food sources that contain choline, aside from beef liver. Choline is also being studied as one of the nutrients, when consumed by pregnant women, that may help memory performance of an unborn child. Eggs contain other vital nutrients such as riboflavin, B12, folate, and selenium as well. The antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are also found in eggs. These are found to promote eye health, and can be responsible in fighting off macular degeneration which is one of the leading causes of blindness.

If you have a family history of high cholesterol, then it is a good idea to have your cholesterol checked annually. Heredity does play a role in how our body metabolizes things such as fatty acids and cholesterol. Eating a healthy diet, combined with physical activity can be the best tool to fight off high blood pressure and cholesterol. As with anything, in order to promote a healthy diet, the key to egg consumption is not only moderation but how you prepare them as well. The old saying, “Too much of a good thing is bad”, does apply to adding eggs to your diet. Look for alternative preparation methods. Instead of frying  eggs, scramble them, bake them, or hard boil them.

One large egg contains only 75 calories and 210milligrams of dietary cholesterol, which is found all in the yellow part, or yoke of the egg. For a healthy individual the recommended daily allowance of dietary cholesterol is 300 milligrams. For an individual who suffers from diabetes, cardiovascular disease or high LDL, which is known as the bad cholesterol, your daily recommended daily allowance for dietary cholesterol is 200 milligrams per day. If you are still concerned with your cholesterol intake, or if you have been advised by your physician to limit your dietary cholesterol intake, egg whites can be eaten without the yolk, the whites are cholesterol free. There are also cholesterol free egg substitutions available at any grocery store and they are made from egg whites. When using a recipe that calls for eggs and you are trying to cut out the cholesterol, substitute two egg whites, for every one egg that is needed for the recipe.

When most people think of eggs, breakfast comes to mind. Eggs can be eaten with any meal, and there are healthier cooking alternatives to frying an egg. Hard boiled eggs are a great lunch addition to a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread, or they can be added to a garden salad with low fat dressing.

Here is one main dish that can be used for a lunch or dinner recipe that you can try in order to add eggs to your diet: 

Vegetable Egg Bake – Serves 4 People

16 ounce pkg. of frozen broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower, thawed (any other vegetables that you prefer may be added or substituted)

1/4 cup of I Can’t Believe its not Butter brand butter

8 eggs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves

Preparation:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Drain thawed vegetables well.

Melt the butter.

Arrange vegetables around outside edges of four individual, 2 cup, ramekins.

Drizzle 1/4 of the melted butter over the vegetables in each dish.

Break the eggs, one at a time, into a small dish, whisk them gently, and slip two into the center of each ramekin.

Sprinkle each ramekin with 1/4 of the Parmesan cheese and 1/4 of the thyme leaves.

Place ramekins on a cookie sheet and bake them at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until the eggs are thoroughly cooked.

NO CHOLESTEROL EGG ALTERNATIVE: If you prefer to use the eggs without the yolks, double the eggs to 16 instead of 8, and separate the yolks from the egg whites before pouring the eggs into the ramekins.

If you are interested in finding more healthy main dish recipes that include eggs, one recommended website is www.goodhealth.com.

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