Few foods are more vilified than the humble egg. For decades, health authorities warned us that their yolks were packed with harmful dietary cholesterol, and recommended that we only eat three or four whole eggs a week.
In recent years, however, new scientific studies have revealed that eggs don’t dramatically raise blood cholesterol levels, or increase the risk for heart disease or stroke. In fact, they actually boast multiple health benefits. Here are seven ways the fragile treats do your body good:
1. EGGS ARE PACKED WITH PROTEIN.
One whole egg contains a whopping 6 grams of protein, along with nine essential amino acids—the building blocks of protein—that the body can’t produce on its own. Because of this, eggs are known as a “complete protein.” Since experts advise that men eat at least 56 grams of protein daily and women consume least 46 grams per day, eating an egg-based meal can help you easily reach your recommended intake.
2. EGGS ARE A GREAT SOURCE OF HEALTHY FATS.
One large egg contains less than 5 total grams of fat. About 3 of these come from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are good for your heart and may help lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by regulating your insulin levels.
3. EGGS ARE FILLED WITH ESSENTIAL VITAMINS …
One large egg contains a wide assortment of your recommended daily vitamins, including Vitamin B12 (which affects your brain and nervous system functions and blood formation), Vitamin D (bone health), and Vitamin A (growth and eye health).
4. … AND MINERALS.
Eggs contain several minerals that are hard to find in other foods, including iron, which helps your body produce hemoglobin, and selenium, which is important in reproduction, thyroid gland function, DNA production, and protecting the body from free radicals and infection.
5. EGGS CONTAIN ANTIOXIDANTS.
Egg yolks contain tryptophan and tyrosine, two amino acids that have high antioxidant properties, and may help in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer. They also boast lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that help protect your eyes.
6. EGGS ARE A FILLING FOOD.
Thanks to their healthy fats and proteins, eggs sate your appetite and help you stay full longer. As a result, studies show that people who eat eggs for breakfast are likely to consume fewer calories during other meals, and therefore may lose weight.
7. EGGS ARE LOW IN CALORIES.
One large egg has around 78 calories. If you eat two of them for breakfast, that’s around 160 calories—way fewer than a plain, medium bagel, which contains around 270 calories.