Should I eat egg yolks?
One of the biggest points of confusion is whether egg yolks are good or bad for you. For years, yolks had a negative reputation because of their dietary cholesterol, which experts warned was damaging for health. One large egg contains 186 mg cholesterol; the recommended daily value for cholesterol is less than 300 mg.
“It was once thought that eggs were associated with an increased risk of heart disease because of their high cholesterol content,” says Maciel. “However, current research shows that for most people, dietary cholesterol may not significantly affect the cholesterol levels in your blood.”
In addition to cholesterol, the yolk also contains many of the egg’s nutrients. Egg yolk benefits also include high amounts of iron, folate, vitamins, lutein and zeaxanthin. “While the yolk contains less protein than egg whites, it does provide several healthy nutrients, such as fat-soluble vitamins, essential fatty acids and antioxidants,” says Maciel.
Should I eat egg whites?
The egg-white craze — anchored by foods like egg-white-only omelets, cookies and waffles — was once considered healthy. But the nutrition of egg whites begins and ends with protein and some B vitamins, says Maciel, which is why many experts encourage eating the whole egg.
“For one, your omelets will be more delicious when you include the yolk,” says Zeitlin. “But you’re losing almost half the amount of protein in the egg when you ditch the yolk. You’re also missing out on those essential vitamins and minerals like vitamins D, E, A, choline and antioxidants.”
Will eggs raise my cholesterol?
In fact, recent research found that people who ate about one egg a day had lower rates of heart disease and stroke, possibly because of eggs’ high levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, which can help fight fat buildup in blood vessels. Another study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, also found that eating one egg a day wasn’t a problem for people who were at greater risk for heart and cholesterol problems.
Should I buy organic eggs?
There are legitimate reasons to consider organic eggs. Research shows that organic farming practices can be better for the environment, and cage-free, free-range and organic eggs are typically better for animal welfare compared to conventional eggs, Maciel says. Buying organic reduces the risk of consuming antibiotics, chemicals and heavy metals, too, he says.
But if you’re trying to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses — since earlier this year, 200 million eggs were recalled after a Salmonella outbreak — buying organic won’t guarantee that the eggs will be safe. “The risk of an egg being contaminated with Salmonella is very low and has nothing to do with whether or not it is organic,” Zeitlin says. “The best way to avoid food poisoning is to cook eggs to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter and following other basic food safety practices.”
What’s the healthiest way to prepare eggs?
Cooking your eggs is good for you, and not just because doing so reduces the risk of food poisoning. “Cooking eggs make the protein more digestible and increases the bioavailability of biotin,” says Maciel.
When it comes to getting the most nutrition from your eggs, you have plenty of equally good choices. “You can really eat your eggs however you prefer: scrambled, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, omelet or poached,” Zeitlin says. “As long as you are eating the whole egg, you’ll be getting all the nutrition the egg has to offer.”
There are, of course, ways to make eggs even more nutritious, like pairing them with vegetables. “Omelets are a great way to include more veggies in your diet while getting in a rich source of protein,” says Maciel. Zeitlin also likes to combine eggs with a good source of fiber, like veggies, fruit or whole grains. “The combination of protein and fiber will keep hunger pangs at bay for a longer period of time,” she says. “If I’m having a hard-boiled egg for a snack, I like to include a clementine or some grapes for a little fiber.”