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Eggs Are Good for You

Tuesday, 21 Jun 2011 09:53 AM

Eggs have been undervalued as a healthy food because their yolks contain cholesterol. But in fact, that cholesterol is not as bad as we’ve been led to believe.

A review of research from around the world, published in Current Atherosclerosis Reports, shows that the amount of cholesterol in our food doesn’t relate to our risk of getting heart disease. Despite this, our dietary guidelines recommend limiting the amount of cholesterol in our food to 300 mg per day — an amount found in slightly more than one-and-one-half eggs. Health agencies in Canada, Europe, and Asia don’t place limits on dietary cholesterol.

Misguided 'Healthy' Breakfasts

The trend to limit cholesterol has put egg-white omelets in a “healthy” category, but many people (myself included) aren’t fans of these. As a tastier option, cereal-based breakfasts have become more popular, but these are all too often high in sugar — which does, in fact, increase risk for heart disease.

Sugar (the type added to food, not the sugar found naturally in fruit) lowers levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and raises triglycerides, another type of unhealthy blood fat.

Egg Benefits

Eggs can become unhealthy if they’re fried in a lot of butter or accompanied by a pile of bacon, fried potatoes, or full-fat cheese. But lightly fried, poached, or boiled, they’re an excellent source of protein and other nutrients.

Egg yolks contain choline, which we need to maintain healthy brain cells, and lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that help to prevent macular degeneration, the most common cause of vision loss in older people. These two eye nutrients are also found in other foods but are especially well absorbed from egg yolks.

Eggs also make a satisfying breakfast that helps to control appetite during the rest of the day. A study at the University of Connecticut compared the effect of eggs for breakfast with a bagel and cream cheese, among a group of men. After the egg breakfast, the men spontaneously ate 400 fewer calories during the next 24 hours, and blood tests showed they had lower levels of a hunger-stimulating hormone than after the bagel breakfast.

Convenience in a Shell

Hard-boiled eggs, left in their shells, will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. For an almost-instant breakfast, you could pop some whole grain bread in the toaster and while you’re waiting, peel and slice a couple of hard-boiled eggs, and slice a tomato. Spread out the egg and tomato slices on the toast, season with a dash of salt and pepper, and your nutritious breakfast is ready.

If you’re not certain how to boil eggs to perfection, don’t be embarrassed. Here’s an easy way:

• Put a single layer of eggs on the bottom of a pot.

• Add cold water — enough so that the tops of the eggs are about an inch below the surface.

• Turn the heat on high and bring to a boil.

• Take the pot off the heat and cover it with a lid.

• Let the eggs sit in the hot water: 12 minutes for medium eggs, 15 minutes for large ones, and 18 minutes for extra large.

• Take them out of the water and cool immediately in cold running water or ice water.

• Once they’re cool, if you’re not eating them right away, put them in the refrigerator.

Aside from breakfast, eggs make great snacks, salads, and other dishes. For recipes, visit the Incredible Egg.



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Tuesday, 21 Jun 2011 09:53 AM
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