Egg yolks… Wait aren’t they full of cholesterol?
But did you just ditch the tastiest, most nutritious part of the egg?
It gets cracked, scrambled, and whipped – while the golden center, which is truly a buried treasure of nutrition, is unfairly maligned as the villain of the breakfast world. That's because there's a misguided belief that the cholesterol content in an egg yolk raises the cholesterol levels in your body and puts you heart at risk.
Our society’s bias against saturated fat and cholesterol has become so strong that we often forget that in nature those are the exact foods where nutrients are found the most. Egg yolks are no different. They contain 100% of fat-soluble vitamins as well as carotenoids: lutein and zeaxanthin found in the egg. They also contain more than 90% of the overall calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. The yolk contains between 50% and 80% of the copper, manganese, and selenium. Not to mention, it is one of the richest dietary sources of the B-complex vitamin choline, which is associated with better neurological function and reduced inflammation.
The reason why we find a high amount of cholesterol in the egg yolk is not an evil trick played by nature to damage our health but because cholesterol is an extremely important nutrient that is much needed by us too! It’s the precursor to all sex hormones and is used by every cell of the body. One important set of nutrients that should not be overlooked is the long-chain of essential fatty acids. Egg yolks contain the long-chain omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which is necessary for the brain and proper retinal function in the eye, and the long-chain omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid, which is essential for healthy skin, hair, libido, reproduction, growth and response to injury. These fatty acids are primarily needed by young children, pregnant and lactating women, elders, and people with degenerative diseases involving oxidative stress, especially those of the nervous system such as Alzheimer's.
Don’t forget that most vitamins require dietary fats to be properly absorbed and metabolized in the body. Most people today are very deficient in most of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and would benefit greatly from the healthy dose that an egg yolk can bring.
The yolk's health benefits however, should not overshadow egg whites, which are a healthy, low-calorie, low-fat source of perfect protein.
It's true that the egg-white omelette has long been the favourite skinny option for weight watchers. Egg whites are a great alternative to whole eggs for regular consumption if you’re watching your fat or cholesterol intake.
One large egg contains about 33 g of egg whites, which consists of only 16 calories, 0.1 g of fat, 0 g of saturated fat, 0 g of cholesterol, 55 mg of sodium, 0.2 g of carbohydrates and 3.6 g of protein. In addition to that, egg whites are also rich in vitamins like riboflavin and selenium. They contain all of the essential amino acids that your body needs each day to perform daily functions and maintain your muscle mass, making them an excellent low calorie source of valuable, high-quality protein.
There is a line dividing people’s opinions about whether or not egg yolks are safe to eat, mainly due to the issues with cholesterol. The fact remains that the bulk of the nutrition in an egg comes from the yolk. Logic would dictate that if you are a person who has an issue with high cholesterol, you should avoid eating whole eggs on a daily basis, but once a week you can surely eat the whole thing depending on your levels.
Bodybuilders seeking to bulk up muscle are in particular need for fat in foods at a time when they have high-energy requirements for growth but limited appetites. For such a class of people, whole eggs can be a great snack as they are easily digested and absorbed and are extremely useful in ensuring a balanced diet for bodybuilders.
For people desiring weight loss, having whole eggs up to twice a week will not create excess fat that is unmanageable. It is important to remember that a proper balance is necessary when physical health is your goal. Too much of anything isn't good for you and the same goes for egg yolks. Eggs are a healthy part of a regular diet, and require moderation just like the other things we consume.
Proper health maintenance comes from educating ourselves about what our body needs and how it reacts to different foods. Not everyone reacts the same way to the same foods. The egg yolk isn't exactly our enemy. It is an innocent bystander in a war to decide what is good for us. So take heart in this the next time you enjoy the incredible, edible egg yolk.
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