“The perfect food,” my mother would say as she scrambled our eggs for breakfast.
“All the elements for life,” she continued as she dished out the servings.
Then she would finish with, “Eat your eggs; they’re good for you.”
And they were—in those days. But something happened on the way to having my own children. Eggs became the “bad food.” Artery clogging cholesterol. Bad for your heart. One egg a week is plenty. I felt so guilty buying eggs when my children were young that I was often tempted to explain to the cashier at the grocery store that they really were for my neighbor!
By the time my children had children, eggs became healthy again. Scientists at Harvard discovered that 117,000 nurses in a study lasting up to fourteen years found that there was no difference in heart disease risk between those who ate one egg a week and those who ate more than one egg a day. The reason is that the majority of the fat in eggs is the healthy unsaturated type. Yes, eggs contain cholesterol, but studies show overall dietary cholesterol has little effect on blood cholesterol. When cholesterol is eaten from a variety of foods, the body produces less to maintain balance. If too much saturated fat is eaten, the body begins to have trouble balancing the correct amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Healthy fats can help remove cholesterol from the bloodstream. There is an important difference between healthy fats and unhealthy fats. Healthy fats are found in olive oil, walnuts and other nuts, seeds, fish, avocados, and, yes, eggs.
Eggs have not only become healthy but they’ve become trendy and upscale. The egg today is not my mother’s egg. They’re brown, white, beige, gray, or lavender. They’re organic, cage-free, range-free, free-roaming, or the old packed hen warehouse.
Whatever color or type you buy, eggs really are the perfect food. Eggs are high in protein, low in calories, low in fat, and contain iron, B vitamins, and minerals—folate and choline.
Choline is an important nutrient needed for good health. More than 90 percent of Americans are choline-deficient, according to a study by Iowa State University. Older adults are especially at risk for choline deficiency. Our bodies can produce some choline but not enough. Choline is particularly important for brain function and a reducer of inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation has been linked to heart disease, osteoporosis, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s, and type-2 diabetes.
So, go ahead. Enjoy breakfast again. Have that egg.