Heart Health | Natural Health Blog

Date: 03/15/2011    Written by: Beth Levine

Egg Improvements

The egg has definitely gotten a bad rap over the past decade or two.  It somehow became the poster child for the evils of cholesterol -- never mind the fact that all food products that come from animal sources contain cholesterol.

But now, thanks to recent testing by the United States Department of Agriculture, the egg's reputation is being somewhat restored.  The USDA regularly has nutrition checks performed on common foods, and the egg has made changes for the better.  Since the last time it was tested in 2002, the amount of cholesterol in a large egg has dropped 14 percent from 215 milligrams to 185 mg.  And the vitamin D it provides has increased 64 percent, going from 25 International Units up to 41 IU.

Have chickens been working out and watching what they eat to so improve the eggs they produce?

No one is actually sure why eggs have become healthier, but the most likely reasons are probably changes in the diets of hens and the manner in which the animals are bred. But however it has happened, it's consistent.  Cartons of large eggs from 12 random locations around the country were sent to an independent laboratory at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg and analyzed to very positive results.

According to the latest USDA guidelines, it's now safe to eat an egg a day.  Their Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommends keeping cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg per day.  With eggs now coming in at 186 mg, it would be well within those boundaries to have a single egg daily, leaving room for other foods containing a little cholesterol as well.

However, if you have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or high LDL cholesterol, the USDA recommends that you limit the amount of cholesterol you consume to less than 200 mg per day.  Although an egg would still fall into that range, it might be tough to continue to eat throughout the rest of the day without consuming any additional cholesterol.

All of that said, more research most definitely needs to be done on the connection between egg consumption and heart disease.  One large study of nearly 10,000 participants that was conducted by scientists at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark could not establish a link between frequent egg intake and cardiovascular problems.  They found that only those with diabetes who ate eggs daily were slightly more likely to have developed heart disease than their counterparts who rarely consumed eggs.

In actuality, saturated and trans-fats and poorly functioning livers have a much greater impact on blood cholesterol levels. 

In contrast, the egg will barely provide a bump in cholesterol numbers for most of us. But what about egg whites? Even if whole eggs don't increase cholesterol levels, is there any reason to eat egg yolks since they're mostly fat and just pack on the calories? Aren't egg whites still a better choice? And the simple answer is no, egg whites are not a better choice. And yes, you still want to eat egg yolks. Other than the protein found in egg whites, all of the nutrition associated with eggs is in the yolk. Yolks contain large amounts of Omega-3s (especially if the chickens are fed a diet that contains seeds high in Omega-3 oils), and protein (yes, the yolk contains significant amounts of protein), not to mention an abundance of fat soluble vitamins such as A, E, D, and K. A single egg yolk can provide 100% of your RDI for each of those vitamins.

Come breakfast time, it looks like you will be much better off skipping the muffin, Danish, and certainly the bacon and serving up a good old egg. But be careful when you cook that egg. Use only moderate heat and for a short period of time. Too much heat will denature the protein in the egg and destroy most of the vitamins.

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    Submitted by Richard Harness-tempory guest on
    March 16, 2011 - 4:29pm

    I've had four heart attacks, three stints and prescribed statins, told to stay off eggs and other animal products high in cholestrol. Last summer I stopped taking my heart meds as I was fed up with them and the restrictive live style.

    I had my annual physical last month and everything is within normal limits. The one thing I started doing and continue is daily exercise. In addition to walking 45 minutes four times a week, doing breathing exercises 2x's a day three to four times a week and using my Chuck Norris machine four times a week I feel better now than when I was fifty-five.

    Submitted by Paul on
    March 23, 2011 - 4:49pm

    Way to go, man!

    Submitted by Ursula on
    March 23, 2011 - 4:36pm

    The cholesterol content in foods has absolutely NOTHING to do with cholesterol in blood vessels. In fact, cholesterol is necessary for life, and if we don't take in enough from food, our liver will make it.

    The egg has never been unhealthy, and isn't healthier now than it used to be.

    And for saturated fats? Our hearts RUN on them, and without them you're inviting a heart attack. It has been shown in many studies that people on low fat diets have a much higher risk of heart attack than people on high fat diets. Just don't ever eat hydrogenated fats, they're deadly.

    Since we're not vegetables, we don't do very well on only vegetable fats.

    Submitted by Scott James on
    May 24, 2011 - 1:11am

    Love to eat eggs and eggs ar every helpful in controlling our health level. Thanks for this information and I am pleased to heard that egg reputation ha restored.

    Submitted by Henry Jo on
    November 27, 2011 - 9:45pm

    I have cholestrol 162 in July 2010 and it is 127 in July 2011. I am 70 years old. I took 2 eggs (overeasy) every morning with some fruits and a toast and a cup of coffee for over 3 months before the physical test. My HDL is 59, LDL 58, Glycerol is 30 (I think this seems somewhat wrong) but this blood test was done during my annunal checkup at the best hospital in Korea.
    I had been running 3 ~ 5 days/week at 5 miles/hr (8 km/hr) for 30 minutes and one weekend to hiking. My speed to up hill is 2 minutes higher than down hill speed for 30 minutes walking down.
    I have ever since taking 2 overeasy eggs 5 days/week with some soup and I am running on the machine at 8.5 km/hr (5.3 miles/hr) for 30 minutes (I run average 4.3 km/30 minutes).
    I believe that egg is an excellent food and it will not affect your chololestrol level as long as you do the exercise. I am very healthy these days. Top of this, I have the most clean intestin in the world as I become the best coffee enema expert.
    For simply speaking, I do water enema two times to take all the gas out and then coffee enema and hold for 30 minutes or sometimes 1 hour. I can walk around with coffee in the intestin. I found out the best way to do coffee enema. I am going to publish a short coffee enema book.

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