Eggs can be prepared in several ways. From veggie muffins with omelets to scrambled eggs with fried rice and even simple meals, eggs are a versatile food that fits into any morning routine (and is great for other meals, too). But can you eat too many eggs in one day?
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Registered dietitian Susan Campbell, RD, shares what makes eggs healthy and when you might want to cut back.
Are eggs healthy?
One egg gives you 6 grams of protein, and it contains vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B12, vitamin B9 (folate), and lutein.
“For those on a budget, it’s a good, inexpensive source of a variety of nutrients and high-quality protein,” says Campbell.
Each of these vitamins plays an important role in several areas:
- Vitamin A supports eye health, vision, metabolism and cell development.
- Vitamin B12 plays an important role in keeping your nerve cells and blood cells healthy.
- Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from oxidative damage.
- Folic acid (or vitamin B9) helps your body make new red blood cells and helps your baby grow and develop during pregnancy.
- Lutein is a type of organic pigment known as a carotenoid. Lutein, also found in salmon, carrots and sweet potatoes, creates a darker, richer yolk and has been shown to reduce age-related macular degeneration.
Egg white and yolk have different properties. The egg white contains about 60% of the total protein in the egg, while the yolk contains more saturated fat and cholesterol.
Studies of fatty acids in egg yolks have shown that yolks have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, help improve memory and provide protection for the cardiovascular system. Other studies suggest that eggs eaten whole may have a positive effect on muscle mass, although more research is needed.
Can you eat eggs every day?
Because of the many benefits of this egg, you can eat one whole egg, including the yolk, every day if you no need you also have cardiovascular diseases do have healthy blood cholesterol levels. Or you can mix two egg whites with each egg yolk for more protein.
If you have heart disease or high cholesterol, you should limit your egg intake to three to four whole eggs per week—a rule that’s also good for those who want to eat more than one egg at a time.
The reason you don’t want to eat more than one egg yolk each day is because the yolk contains saturated fat and can raise the LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) in your blood. Although the food you eat is not the only factor in the development of high cholesterol, it is still important to keep it in mind when deciding what to put on your plate.
“Adding additional animal fats such as butter, bacon fat and lard should also be avoided when cooking eggs, as these also contain saturated fat,” advises Campbell. “Use olive oil or some vegetable oil instead, and egg whites can be boosted without adding a lot of animal fat by sautéing them with vegetables, salsa, or various herbs.”
Because of the high cholesterol content in egg yolk, you may want to cut back on it if you have any of the following conditions:
You should also consider purchasing pasture-raised or organic eggs, as the yolks of these eggs tend to be lower in cholesterol and higher in lutein. In one study, researchers found that consuming one egg a day significantly increased lutein levels without raising cholesterol levels.
Campbell notes that some people over 65 may be concerned about eating an egg every day because of the risk of high cholesterol. But research has shown that cholesterol levels in people age 65 and older are less affected by diet than those in their 30s and younger, so they can eat up to two whole eggs a day if they have normal cholesterol levels.
“For older people, it may even be a better source of protein,” Campbell says.