“But eggs contain cholesterol!” I hear you cry, “And doesn’t high cholesterol cause heart disease?” Well, although eggs do contain cholesterol, the amount of saturated fat we eat has more effect on the amount of cholesterol in our blood than the cholesterol we get from eating eggs.
Eggs are one of nature’s most nutrient-dense foods and contain an ideal mixture of nutrients. Along with high quality protein, eggs are also naturally rich in vitamin D, B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B12, iodine, selenium and other essential dietary vitamins and minerals.
SO WHAT HAS CHANGED?
Previous limits on egg consumption have been lifted as it is now known that the cholesterol they contain does not have a significant effect on blood cholesterol.
A high level of blood cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease. It was originally thought that eating cholesterol-rich foods was an important cause of high blood cholesterol levels and therefore increased heart disease risk. In the past it was thought that people should limit the number of eggs they eat because they contain cholesterol. However, only around a third of the cholesterol in the body comes from the diet – our bodies make the rest. It is now accepted that the amount of saturated fat that we eat has a much greater effect on our blood cholesterol levels than cholesterol in the diet.
Recommendations on limiting egg consumption have now been relaxed by all major UK heart and health advisory groups, including the British Heart Foundation and the Department of Health.
This means that most people can eat eggs without adversely affecting their blood cholesterol levels, provided that they are eaten as part of a healthy diet that is relatively low in saturated fat.
The healthiest ways to cook eggs
Boil or poach eggs (preferably without adding salt) rather than frying and avoid adding butter to scrambled eggs. Frying eggs can increase their fat content by as much as 50%.
Find out how easy it is to cook the perfect poached eggs with Jamie Oliver:
Eggs and fitness
Whenever we do any form of exercise we gain muscle – how much depends on the intensity and frequency of exercise. The more muscle mass your body has, the more calories you burn, even when resting. To build muscle mass efficiently the correct nutrients must be consumed – this is where the introduction of nutrient-dense foods such as eggs to your diet can have huge benefits.
One of the main substances our muscles need to repair and grow is protein. High in protein, eggs are an ideal choice for post-workout nutrition. Plus, in addition to their high protein levels, eggs contain all eight essential amino acids that are required for prime muscle recovery.
You can find out more information about the many benefits of eggs from the British Egg Information Service (see below).