For years, eggs have suffered from a bad reputation. We’ve been warned that the cholesterol in egg yolks will clog our arteries and cause cardiovascular disease – while there might be some risk of this, there are now many misconceptions around the consumption of eggs which might be doing us more harm than good! For example, we now know that dietary cholesterol isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and that eggs are packed with important nutrients that support health and fitness. In fact, for some people eggs might be the right choice in many circumstances.
Spinal health and overall wellbeing go hand in hand, so today let’s see how eggs can form part of your healthy diet plan.
Cholesterol and eggs
Now there’s no doubt that its true – eggs do contain a lot of cholesterol – like all animal foods, eggs contain this essential substance since all animal bodies (including the human body) need cholesterol to function properly. In fact, it’s essential for healthy function, since cholesterol It is a major component of cell membranes as well as the insulating sheath that coats neurons to help the nervous system transmit signals . In addition, Cholesterol is also converted into bile by the liver to aid in the digestion of fats and the absorption of fat soluble vitamins including vitamins A , D, K, and E. Furthermore, the body needs cholesterol to synthesize vitamin D (the body makes most of its own vitamin D) as well as adrenal and sex hormones.
There is that some research has shown that dietary cholesterol is implicated in the condition known as atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, a precursor to heart attack and stroke – Cholesterol is indeed a component of the “plaque” that coats the insides of arteries in atherosclerosis. However, two-thirds of the cholesterol in our blood is produced by our bodies to maintain the functions described above. For most people, the remaining third that comes from food appears not to cause spikes in blood cholesterol levels that contribute to atherosclerosis.
Instead, researchers have since discovered a genetic component to how each individual ‘s body reacts to dietary cholesterol. After consuming three eggs daily for 30 days, 70 percent of subjects in one study showed no change in blood cholesterol levels. The remaining 30 percent had increases of both HDL – ‘·good” cholesterol that helps keep the arteries clear -and LDL cholesterol – the form which contributes to the clogging of arteries.
In fact, dangerous levels of blood cholesterol are more closely related to obesity, smoking, or lack of physical activity. A diet high in trans fats – found in hydrogenated oils in margarine and many processed foods is also a major risk factor.
A small percentage of people with specific health conditions may need to strictly limit dietary cholesterol to protect themselves against heart a tack and stroke, but for most of us the advice to avoid eggs is simply outdated.
Eggs contain proteins and amino acids
Cholesterol isn’t the only compound you’ll find in abundance in eggs. They’re also packed with n nutrients our bodies require – An egg contains six to seven grams of protein as well as all eight of the essential amino acids, (these are called “essential” because our bodies cannot produce them and therefore must acquire them from food.)
Amino acids themselves are the building blocks of the proteins required for cell processes and tissue regeneration. For this reason, eggs are an especially valuable food source for people who do not eat meat. Additionally. growing children need plenty of protein building amino acids – 10 to 20 per cent more than adults.
Because of their moderate protein and fat content, enjoying eggs at breakfast causes satiety and can cut down on overeating throughout the day. This helps to maintain a healthy weight and therefore might actually help you avoid obesity-related cholesterol and cardiovascular problems.
Since proteins are essential for healthy muscle development and maintenance, getting enough is an important element in caring for your spine and the muscles which support it. In some circumstances, for example when recovering from an injury – some additional protein intake might be helpful (ask your doctor on your next visit!) if so, adding an egg at breakfast might be just the trick.
Eggs are rich in Carotenoids
Eggs are a rich source of the health promoting Carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin. These two pigments give egg yolks their vivid colour. Both compounds are also present in leafy green vegetables – although they appear in a form which is much less easy for the body to utilise when compared with eggs.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are best known for their protective effect on the eyes. These red-orange pigments are thought to absorb high-energy blue light, shielding the retina to prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. Similarly, these Carotenoids found in egg yolks boost the skin ‘s resistance to sun damage.
Research further suggests that Lutein and Zeaxanthin may also play a role against cancers of the breast and colon as well as heart disease and stroke.
Know Your Eggs’ Source
When you buy eggs, keep in mind that not all eggs are created equal. Chickens are naturally omnivores and thrive best in “free-range” outdoors settings, eating a varied diet. Besides the ethical issues associated with cage eggs, chickens that live on commercial feed produce eggs with substantially lower levels of vitamins A and E and cardio protective omega-3 fatty acids. Outdoor chickens also benefit from natural sunshine to boost egg nutrition.
Another benefit to eggs from free range chickens is better sanitation. Chicken raised in less crowded conditions are less likely to carry salmonella. A study of flocks here in the UK, found that caged chickens are four times more likely to carry salmonella than their free-range cousins.
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