You’ve probably consumed eggs most of your life, and you’ll find them in most types of cuisine. But have you ever stopped for a minute to ponder what makes hens’ eggs such a healthy snack and a beneficial part of your meal plan?

Eggs lower the risk of heart diseases

Previously thought to be bad and the cause of high cholesterol, recent studies have shown that eggs actually lower the risk of heart diseases.

In a study by researchers from China, it was found that people who ate an average of one egg per day had an 11% lower risk of heart disease and an 18% lower risk of dying from heart disease during the study period compared to people who did not eat eggs. The benefit seemed to be strongest for stroke; daily egg-eaters had a 26% lower risk of bleeding-related stroke and a 10% lower risk of clot-based stroke. (1)

Meanwhile, a new study in 2018 by researchers from the University of Sydney concluded that eating up to 12 eggs per week for a year did not increase one’s risk of cardiovascular disease, specifically in people with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. (2)

Eggs contain choline, an important nutrient for brain development

Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers can benefit tremendously from choline, an essential nutrient found in egg yolks, as choline has been shown to play an important role in fetal and infant’s brain development, affecting the areas of the brain responsible for memory and life-long learning ability. (3) Choline is also deemed beneficial for cognitive function, heart health, and liver health.

Eggs can prevent breast cancer

It is interesting to note that several studies have been done to show to advantages of eggs in preventing breast cancer. A study in 2008 suggested that choline found in eggs is associated with a 24% reduced risk of breast cancer among women. (4)

Two previously published studies have also shown that women who eat eggs have a lower risk of developing breast cancer. In 2003, researchers at Harvard University found that women who reported higher consumption of eggs, vegetable fat and fibre during adolescence had a smaller risk of developing breast cancer as adults. Specifically, eating one egg per day was associated with an 18% reduced risk of breast cancer. (5)

Meanwhile, a study on Chinese women published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention in 2005 showed that those who consumed the most fruit, vegetables, and eggs were significantly less likely to have breast cancer. For those that reported eating at least six eggs per week, the risk of developing breast cancer was 44% lower than for those who ate two or fewer eggs per week. (6)

Eggs are good for your eyes

Evidence has shown that the two antioxidants, lutein, and zeaxanthin in your diet play an important role in protecting against age-related macular degeneration (7). Meanwhile, in Australia, researchers found that in a study of 2,322 people 40 years and older, whom they followed for five years, the subjects were found to have a 40% lower rate of cataracts occurring at the center of the lens for every 1 mg increase in their daily intake of lutein and zeaxanthin. (8)

Eggs contain high-quality protein

Every healthy body needs protein. And eggs happen to be an excellent source of protein as well as essential amino acids. Protein is important to build stronger bones, increase muscle mass, build tissue and cells, as well as making hormones and anti-bodies. For sports enthusiasts who do weight training and endurance sports, an increase in protein intake is also deemed to be beneficial for increasing muscle mass. Studies also suggest that as we get older we may benefit from eating more protein because it helps minimise the muscle loss associated with aging (9)

Eggs are good for brain health

It’s no secret that eggs are good for brain health. Eggs are packed with vitamins and minerals such as selenium, folate, iodine, iron, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B5, vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin E and much more that is needed for regular functioning of cells, including the brain, nervous system, memory, and metabolism.

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References

  1. Chenxi Qin et al (China Kadoorie Biobank Collaborative Group). Associations of egg consumption with cardiovascular disease in a cohort study of 0.5 million Chinese adults. Heart, published online May 21, 2018; doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2017-312651
  2. Nicholas R Fuller et al. Effect of a high-egg diet on cardiometabolic risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) Study—randomized weight-loss and follow-up phase. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 107, Issue 6, 1 June 2018, Pages 921–931, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqy048
  3. Zeisel SH. Choline: Needed for normal development of memory. JACN 2000;19(5):528S-531S.
  4. Xinran Xu et al. High intakes of choline and betaine reduce breast cancer mortality in a population-based study, High intakes of choline and betaine reduce breast cancer mortality in a population-based study. FASEB J. 2009 Nov; 23(11): 4022–4028.
  5. Frazier AL, et al. Adolescent diet and risk of breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res 2003; 5: R59-R64.
  6. Shannon J, et al. Food and botanical groupings and risk of breast cancer: A case-control study in Shanghai, China. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2005; 14 (1): 81-90.
  7. Delcourt C, Carriere I, Delage M, Barberger-Gateau P, Schalch W. Plasma lutein and zeaxanthin and other carotenoids as modifiable risk factors for age-related maculopathy and cataract: the POLA Study. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2006 Jun;47(6):2329-35.
  8. Vu HT, Robman L, Hodge A, McCarty CA, Taylor HR. Lutein and zeaxanthin and the risk of cataract: the Melbourne visual impairment project. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2006 Sep;47(9):3783-6.
  9. Phillips SM et. al. Protein “requirements” beyond the RDA: implications for optimizing health. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2016 May;41(5):565-72. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2015-0550. Epub 2016 Feb 9.