It has long been common knowledge that eggs are one of the most nutritionally complete foods on the planet. Eggs contain all the building blocks for cell growth, and a broad range of critical nutrients required by the human body.
Less common knowledge is that eggs contain antioxidants that are good for eye health. Eggs are rich in the antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthin. Studies have shown that these two antioxidants reduce risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Eggs are also a good source of choline, which is an essential nutrient that is often grouped with the B vitamins. Choline is important for supporting liver function, brain development, nerve function, energy levels and regulating metabolism, and is used in the synthesis of phospholipids that are essential components of cell membranes.
Possible symptoms of choline deficiency may include low energy levels, fatigue, muscle aches, mood disorders, nerve damage, memory loss, cognitive decline or learning disabilities.
Studies have shown that only 10 percent of people in the U.S. are getting enough choline in their diet.
Eggs Are Fulfilling and Can Help You Lose Weight
Eggs score high on the satiety index, which means that, for a relatively small caloric intake, your hunger will be satisfied for a relatively longer period of time than with other foods lower on the index. Eating a couple of eggs for breakfast (or a snack) will have you satisfied and subsequently snacking less than if you eat a bagel.
Two eggs give you a total of about 130 calories and 12 grams of complete protein. The eggs contain all nine essential amino acids that your body needs for cell growth. Consuming all nine amino acids at once helps to suppress appetite, and you will feel less hungry throughout the day.
Eggs also have a low glycemic load, so they won’t raise your blood sugar or spike your insulin (which tends to store fat in the body). Working with an awareness of satiety index and glycemic index gives you two very important tools in managing your appetite, food intake and ultimately your weight.
What About Cholesterol in Eggs?
For years, we have heard about eggs being high in cholesterol, and therefore bad for us if not consumed in moderation. However, currently accepted science indicates that dietary cholesterol has limited effect with regard to raising cholesterol levels in the blood.
Cholesterol is actually necessary to produce vitamin D, steroid hormones and bile acids, among other things. It is also an important component of cell membranes.
There are different types of cholesterol that are found in our bodies, and each has different functions. High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), commonly known as “good cholesterol,” mops up excess cholesterol and brings it to the liver for disposal. Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), commonly known as “bad cholesterol,” also serves the important function of transporting cholesterol and fat from the liver to the rest of the body. LDL’s bad reputation stems from the fact that it has been identified as the main ingredient in blood vessel plaque (atherosclerosis). LDL cholesterol is fragile and susceptible to oxidation, and therefore is seen to cause the most problems with heart and blood vessel health.
However, both HDL and LDL have subgroups consisting of different sized molecules. Studies suggest that HDL subpopulations do not all protect against atherosclerosis equally well, and likewise not all LDL subgroups are culprits in creating atherosclerosis.
Studies have shown that a regular diet of eggs raises levels of the good cholesterol (HDL) and results in larger HDL molecules. It also results in a decrease in small LDL particles (bad) and an increase in large LDL particles (good) in the blood. The larger HDL and LDL molecules are antiatherogenic, which means they do not produce plaque in the circulatory system, and even assist in preventing plaque by helping to move cholesterol efficiently through the blood system.
Not only does eating eggs not raise your risk of heart disease, some studies have indicated that eating eggs may reduce your risk of stroke.