Many people are afraid to eat eggs, believing that they’re the worst things you can eat for your cholesterol and heart health. Let’s lay those fears to rest.
Eggs do contain cholesterol — that’s true. But we now know that “the biggest influence on blood cholesterol is the mix of fats and carbohydrates in your diet — not the amount of cholesterol you eat from food” (Harvard Health). Even the American Heart Association (AHA) says that eggs can be a nutritious part of a heart-healthy diet. Here are half a dozen tips to help make them part of yours.
1. An egg a day is A-OK
For most people, eating an average of an egg a day is just fine, says the AHA: “At just 78 calories each, eggs are an efficient, rich source of protein and vitamins.” Along with 7 grams of protein each, eggs supply choline, which is essential for your brain and nerves, and several nutrients that keep your eyes healthy.
2. Some folks should watch the yolks
If you have diabetes, heart disease, or risk factors for either, you can still enjoy eggs, but you might want to watch how many yolks you eat. The yolk is where all the vitamins and minerals are, but it’s also where all the cholesterol is. Three eggs with yolks per week is generally considered safe, and more egg whites are fine. Start your scramble with one whole egg and add extra whites for more protein
3. Look at the big picture
The context of your egg consumption within your overall diet pattern is more important than the exact number of eggs you eat during the week. If you enjoy a mostly heart-smart diet, with lots of high-fiber fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, eggs can fit right in.
4. Eggs beat saturated fats
An eating pattern that’s higher in saturated fat (red meat, cheese, butter), plus processed carbs (fast food, chips, sweets), is clearly linked to high cholesterol and heart disease. With only 1.6 grams of saturated fat each, eggs are a healthier choice than higher-fat burgers, steaks and pizzas.
5. Consider your sides
What you eat alongside your eggs makes a difference. Pairing your scramble with avocados, tomatoes, asparagus and whole-grain toast will make your heart much happier than bacon, sausage and biscuits.
6. Think beyond breakfast
Eggs are a healthy way to boost the protein in any meal. Slice a hardboiled egg onto a salad for lunch. Make a mushroom frittata for dinner. Top whole-grain toast with egg salad for a quick snack. Don’t be afraid — go ahead and enjoy your eggs.