It is commonly believed that eggs especially yolks can increase your cholesterol levels. Many also avoid consuming eggs to keep their heart-healthy.
A recent study gave whole eggs the thumbs up, Lauren Anceriz, spokesperson of The South African Poultry Association (SAPA) said.
“While the egg white contains protein, selenium, and the B-vitamin riboflavin, most of the nutrition is actually found in the egg yolk.”
According to Anceriz egg yolks contain heart-healthy fats called monounsaturated fats.
“Added to this, egg yolks contain half of the protein of the whole egg. If you avoid eating the egg yolk, you are missing out on vitamin A, D, E and iron, too.”
Found mostly in the egg yolk are fat and cholesterol, two nutrients with a bad reputation, she said.
Cholesterol has some important functions in the human body though. For example, cholesterol is a major part of the human brain, is an essential structural component in cell membranes, and is a chemical precursor for some hormones.
“Though eggs are indeed high in cholesterol, scientists are starting to understand why whole egg, a source of dietary cholesterol, doesn’t raise blood cholesterol.”
Anceriz said in 2018, researchers found that cholesterol in a whole egg is actually not well absorbed by the body, giving us more insight as to why dietary cholesterol does not raise blood cholesterol.
“It appears that the body may have compensatory mechanisms to help deal with consumed cholesterol found in egg yolks.”
Furthermore, the study revealed that eggs are rich in carotenoids, a nutrient that gives egg yolk its golden colour.
“The two main carotenoids in egg yolk are lutein and zeaxanthin, found in high concentrations in the retina of the eye. For this reason, these key nutrients are linked to improved sight, reduced risk of cataracts, and an age-related eye disease called macular degeneration.”
She said the carotenoids in egg yolk are also associated with a reduced risk of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
According to the study, the muscle-building capability of eggs is also linked to protein: one large egg contains 7g of protein. When combined with resistance training, protein provides the building blocks for muscle building.
Protein is also needed to keep the immune system strong, which often takes a knock with hard training sessions.
“So, it seems that removing the egg yolk may be counterproductive when trying to follow an egg-cellent diet.”
Go ahead – choose the whole egg to maximise on all the nutrient and health benefits that eggs have to offer up.
The Iranian researchers concluded that eating whole eggs when during resistance or weight training helps with better muscle building, improvements in body fat, and greater strength.
Other research in Canada also supported this: eating whole eggs immediately after resistance exercise resulted in better muscle building than if only the egg white was eaten.
“When following this up in another study, the same researchers confirmed better muscle building in participants who ate whole eggs.”