Busting The Myth: Eggs Are Bad For Your Heart

by Stephlina D'cunha

Eggs—every dieter’s miracle food to get their daily protein—have long been under the microscope for their ill-effects on the heart. While there’s no denying that egg yolks are rich in cholesterol and may weakly affect the blood cholesterol levels, they definitely are not bad for your heart.

Debunking The Myth
A nutritional powerhouse, eggs are a fantastic source of lean protein along with heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins such as B12, D, riboflavin and folate.

Eggs do contain a substantial amount of cholesterol—186 mg in a medium-sized egg. However, while cholesterol can stick to your heart’s artery walls and clog them, labeling eggs as unhealthy is perhaps connecting the wrong dots. Cholesterol, although hazardous in high amounts, is actually an essential nutrient that every cell in our body requires for optimal functioning.

According to leading experts, cholesterol obtained from foods has very little impact on raising the levels of blood cholesterol. In such cases, the body often compensates by manufacturing less cholesterol to regulate the optimal levels. The main culprits, responsible for increasing the cholesterol levels, are often the foods that accompany eggs in a traditional American breakfast. So if you’re feasting on a three-egg omelet fried in saturated butter with sodium-rich fried bacon or hash browns, you don’t need us to tell you you’re killing your heart right there.

Health Benefits Of Eggs
Jillian Michaels, TV personality and popularly recognized as America’s Toughest Trainer writes, “Whole eggs are a nearly perfect food, with almost every essential vitamin and mineral our bodies need to function. Your body actually needs the cholesterol in meat and eggs to make testosterone, which helps to increase energy and helps to build more calorie-building muscle.”

A large egg contains about 2gm of saturated fat and no trans fats. The American Heart Association advises that a healthy individual with no history of heart diseases or diabetes can consume about 300mg of cholesterol per day. However, if you are a diabetic or suffer from any ailments associated with the heart then it is best to limit your intake to less than 200mg, which is about less than one big egg daily, perhaps two eggs over the week.  

How To Make Your Eggs Healthy
The secret lies in how you prepare your eggs.

  • Make your egg preparations healthy by including vegetables. According to a recent study, eating cooked, whole eggs with your vegetables tends to increase the absorption of carotenoids from the veggies.
  • Poach them instead of frying them.
  • And lastly, if you enjoy eggs but don’t wish to compromise on your health at the same time, eat them without the yolk.

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1. McNamara DJ. The impact of egg limitations on coronary heart disease risk: do the numbers add up? J Am Coll Nutr. 2000 Oct;19(5 Suppl):540S-548S. Review. PubMed PMID: 11023005.

2. Fernandez ML. Dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2006 Jan;9(1):8-12. Review.PubMed PMID: 16340654.

3. Fernandez ML. Effects of eggs on plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations.Food Funct. 2010 Nov;1(2):156-60. doi: 10.1039/c0fo00088d. Epub 2010 Oct 19.Review. PubMed PMID: 21776466.

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