The egg is a food of great nutritional wealth for its content of fats, proteins, minerals, and vitamins. It also contains high-quality proteins; in other words, it has a correct proportion of essential amino acids (EAA), in comparison with other proteins such as chicken, beef, fish, and proteins of vegetable origin. However, since the 70s, the egg began to lose popularity due to the high cholesterol content and it's reported relationship with cardiovascular diseases. This write up intends to guide you regarding the myths and truths of the egg.
One large egg has approximately 78 calories, 6 grams of total fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat and 186 mg of cholesterol. It is a low-carb food, which provides less than 1 g of carbohydrates.
The American Dietetic Association (ADA) recommends that healthy people can consume 300 mg of cholesterol a day. For people with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and/or high LDL cholesterol, their consumption should not exceed 200 mg/day.
According to Jo Ann Carson, professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. "Eating an egg a day as a part of a healthy diet for healthy individuals is a reasonable thing to do."
A group of researchers studied nearly half a million Chinese adults, over nine years and discovered that eating one egg per day helped to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. However, it is important to note that, participants in that study were not consuming a Western diet.
Another study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which showed that eating nothing less than 12 eggs a week for a period of 3 months did not increase cardiovascular risk factors for those with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF EGG CONSUMPTION?
- It contains proteins of high nutritional quality, necessary for the formation, growth, and repair of tissues, bone, and muscle.
- The egg, being a source of iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 (cobalamin) helps to prevent anemia.
- Helps keep the nervous system in good condition, due to the contribution of vitamin B12.
- It is a very nutritious food for pregnant women, as it is a source of folic acid, which prevents problems in the development of the child during pregnancy. It also provides Omega 3 and Omega 6, which are vital for the brain and neurological development of the fetus and neonate.
- It helps to have a good vision and increases the body's defenses, due to the vitamin A content.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin in the egg, two carotenoids present in the egg yolk, have antioxidant power and help prevent the onset of osteoporosis since they decrease the loss of bone density.
- Choline, a nutrient in the egg yolk, helps prevent memory loss and is critical in the development of the child's brain during pregnancy.
THE IMPORTANCE OF HIGH-QUALITY PROTEIN IN THE DIET
In a Symposium held in 2007, several scientists concluded that the diseases linked to aging are related to the low intake of high-quality proteins. This is because older adults require more essential amino acids daily and are not consuming them. A low protein intake affects the healing capacity of wounds and the fight against infections, muscle strength, the elasticity of the skin, while also affecting the body's ability to maintain the integrity of tissues.
A CARDIOPROTECTIVE FOOD
Several studies have established that only 20% of the population experience an increase in plasma cholesterol by dietary intake. This is because other factors such as obesity, slow or rapid intestinal transit, and diet components such as fiber and phytosterols can modify cholesterolemia.
The consumption of one egg per day does not seem to have a negative impact on cardiovascular diseases, otherwise, it has been observed that people who consume egg 3 times per week tend to improve the lipid profile, since it has been seen that the egg increases the good HDL cholesterol and decreases total cholesterol. This effect is due to egg lecithin, which acts as an emulsifier or detergent for fats. Thus, it is very likely that the 186 mg of cholesterol that the egg possesses, is not fully assimilated by the human body.
Several epidemiological and clinical studies have found that saturated fats and trans fats have a greater impact on health than cholesterol. To combat cardiovascular diseases, it is recommended to follow a balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, exercise, moderate salt intake and maintain the usual weight, to avoid complications.
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