Good for you. Bad for you. Only the whites. Eggs have a long history of being one of those confusing foods within the dietary guidelines, which makes sense because for over 40 years, everyone was told to avoid eggs completely, or at least the yolk. Let’s set the record straight on this controversial food.
Eggs are healthy! They are an extremely versatile food and nutritious for our bodies. In fact, the 2015 USDA's dietary guidelines removed the prior recommendation to limit consumption of dietary cholesterol to 300 mg per day, and so the recommendation to avoid egg yolks was removed as well. And luckily! Nature packaged egg whites and yolks together for a reason: the whites have the protein and the yolks have all the other nutrients, some of which will help your body to fully utilize the protein from the whites.
So you can feel good about enjoying eggs in your diet! While over-easy eggs provide the most nutrition (the less you cook the yolk, the more nutrients remain intact), scrambling, hard-boiling or whatever your preference is for eggs are all healthy options as well. In fact, eggs are often described as one of those "perfect" foods. They contain a little bit of almost every nutrient you need.
Here's why you should grab a carton of eggs on your next shopping trip:
1. Vitamins and minerals – Eggs contain B vitamins, phosphorus, selenium, folate and other nutrients which are essential for overall health.
2. Balanced protein and fat – An egg provides 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat making it an exceptionally balanced food. This is helpful if you are looking for a snack that
is hearty but low/no carbs.
3. Contain choline – Choline is used to build cell membranes and produces signaling molecules in the brain. Whole eggs are an amazing source of choline and provide more than 100 mg of choline per egg.
4. Promotes eye health – As we age, our eyesight tends to fade. There are several nutrients that help counteract the degeneration that can occur in aging eyes. Eggs are packed with lutein and zeaxanthin, both antioxidants, which are shown to help slow both macular degeneration and cataracts.
5. Can aid in muscle gain and fat loss – As mentioned above, eggs are full of protein. Protein is an important building block of the body, but it can also help us shed unwanted pounds because protein is satiating. This is why you'll see muscle-building programs include eggs and other protein. Just make sure you eat the yolk as well as the white to get the full benefit of the egg!
Another important point to note on eggs is that sourcing matters. Pastured eggs provide more nutrition than conventional eggs (for one, they have a healthy omega 6/omega 3 ratio). Not only are pastured eggs better for you but they are better for the health of the hen as well since they have more space to move and roam. Find them at your local farmers market to ensure freshness and support your local farmers.
Can't make it to your local farmers market? My favorite alternative is to buy eggs online! I purchase from Good Eggs – an online farmers market. Click here to shop and get $25 off your first order.
The bottom line is that eggs are both tasty and good for you! Try adding eggs to your meals in creative ways. Toss hard-boiled eggs on your salad, enjoy over-easy eggs with leftover vegetables for breakfast or make a batch of egg muffins for an easy grab-n-go option. There are endless possibilities!