There is so much taboo surrounding the consumption of egg yolks and your health. Eggs have a history of being shunned for fear of salmonella poisoning. Today, egg yolks are the poster child for cholesterol.
With one egg yolk containing 448 milligrams of cholesterol (well above the average recommendation of 290 milligrams per day for women) it’s no wonder many are steering clear of eggs. But, before you cling to mainstream health claims about egg yolks and your health, or oversimplify scientific studies, look closer at the nuances of egg consumption and cholesterol and you’ll see that an egg a day could keep the doctor away.
Intuitively it makes sense: eating cholesterol found in eggs raises cholesterol levels in your bloodstream and hence lending to clogged arteries and an increased risk of cardiovascular complications. However, studies are now showing that the amount of saturated fat in your diet, not cholesterol, has a greater impact on increasing your blood cholesterol levels. Take note: eggs are low in saturated fat.
A research study conducted at Yale University explored the impact of consuming whole eggs every day by women and men with coronary heart disease. After 12 weeks, those who ate two whole eggs or a half-cup of egg substitute did not have a negative impact on total cholesterol, blood pressure, body weight, or endothelial function. Their HDL cholesterol improved. Those eating three eggs daily also experienced an improvement in HDL levels.
In a study conducted by researchers at the University of Washington, subjects with high blood cholesterol levels were told to eat two eggs per day. Their blood cholesterol levels only minimally increased, but half of this increase was of the HDL (good) cholesterol, which is positive for cardiovascular health.
Another study showed that the consumption of 2-4 egg yolks per day for a 5-week duration benefited macular health in older adults with low macular pigment optical density, increasing their HDL cholesterol and without increasing their LDL (bad) cholesterol.
These studies are no ticket to go hog wild on a carton of eggs, they simply shed light on why eating eggs shouldn’t be something to regret or beat yourself up about. There are indeed benefits to doing so, especially if you lead a healthy and active lifestyle.
In light of new research findings, the American Heart Association now allows one egg per day. Harvard research reveals that one egg per day is unlikely to have a negative impact on healthy individuals and that tossing the yolk is simply a waste of nutrients.
And while heart failure is not associated with infrequent egg consumption, in the long run it may be beneficial to keep egg consumption moderate, mostly due to other problems that pop up with age. In lieu of other ailments, such as diabetes, egg consumption should be limited to no more than one per day.