12 reasons why eggs are one of the healthiest foods to add to your diet
Eggs have many health benefits. They are rich in amino acids, antioxidants and iron. Don’t stop at just the egg whites, as egg yolks contain choline, which helps burn fat. Therefore, eating whole eggs can even help you lose weight.
Boost your immune system – in order to avoid infectious and viral diseases and illness, add an egg or two to your daily diet. A single large egg contains almost a quarter (22%) of your daily recommended amount of selenium. Selenium strengthens your immune system and regulates thyroid hormone levels. Eggs are especially beneficial to children. Selenium deficiency in children and adolescents can lead to Keshan disease or Kashin-Beck disease, which affect the heart, bones and joints.
Improve your cholesterol profile – nearly everyone knows three facts about cholesterol: 1) high cholesterol is bad; 2) there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol; 3) eggs have a high cholesterol content. Doctors are principally concerned about the ratio of ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL) and ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL). One large egg contains 212 mg of cholesterol; however, this does not mean that eating eggs increases the level of ‘bad’ blood cholesterol. Your body is constantly producing cholesterol and there is a significant amount of evidence indicating that eggs can actually improve your cholesterol profile. How? Eggs increase the level of HDL cholesterol and the particle size of LDL cholesterol.
Reduce the risk of heart disease – LDL cholesterol is known as ‘bad’ cholesterol, because LDL cholesterol particles transport fat molecules onto artery walls and increase the risk of atherosclerosis, i.e. clogged arteries. (HDL cholesterol particles, on the other hand, may remove fat molecules from artery walls.) However, not all LDL cholesterol particles are the same and there are several subtypes with various dimensions. In this case, bigger is definitely better – many studies have shown that the risk of heart disease is higher in individuals with a higher amount of small and dense LDL cholesterol particles in the body than in those with mostly large LDL cholesterol particles. The good news is that, although eggs can increase the level of LDL cholesterol in some individuals, studies show that LDL cholesterol particles then grow larger, reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems.
More energy – a single egg contains around 15% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin B2. This is one of eight types of vitamin B, which helps the body convert food into fuel for producing energy.
Improve your hair and skin condition – B complex vitamins are also necessary for keeping the skin, hair, eyes and liver healthy. (In addition to B2, eggs are also rich in vitamins B5 and B12.) Moreover, eggs also help ensure the normal functioning of the nervous system.
Protect your brain – thanks to choline, an important nutrient, eggs also help fuel the brain. Choline is a component of cell membranes which is necessary for synthesizing the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Studies have shown that choline deficiency is linked to neurological diseases and weakened cognitive functions.
Save your own life – one of the lesser-known wonders of the body is that it is capable of producing 11 of the essential amino acids that are critical for keeping us alive. However, the body actually needs a total of 20 essential amino acids. Guess where you can get the remaining nine? That’s right – from eggs! Deficient levels of these nine amino acids can lead to reduced muscle mass, weakened immune response, weakness, exhaustion and changes in the texture of your skin and hair.
Reduce stress and anxiety – low levels of the nine amino acids found in eggs can also affect mental health.
Protect your eyes – two antioxidants found in eggs, lutein and zeaxanthin, have a strong protective effect against damage to the eyes. As they are only contained in egg yolk, you will not find them in egg substitutes. Antioxidants significantly reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, which are the leading causes of loss of vision in the elderly.
Strengthen your bones and teeth – eggs are one of the few natural sources of vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for the health of your bones and teeth. Its benefits mostly consist in facilitating the absorption of calcium in the body. (Calcium is also important for the health of your heart and colon as well as your metabolism.)
Feel fuller and eat less – eggs are such an excellent source of high-quality protein that they are used as a benchmark for other protein sources. (Eggs are given a perfect score: 100.) Many studies have noted the effect of high-protein foods on appetite. Simply put, they keep hunger in check. Therefore, it probably comes as no surprise that eggs also score highly on the satiety index scale, which measures the ability of various foods to make you feel full.
Burn fat – thanks to their excellent ability to produce fullness, eggs are also linked to burning fat. A study on the subject produced remarkable results: for eight weeks, participants ate two eggs or one bagel containing an equal amount of calories for breakfast. The egg diet group showed a 65% greater weight loss, a 16% greater reduction in body fat, a 61% greater reduction in BMI and a 34% greater reduction in waist circumference than the bagel diet group!