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Egg nutrition: 9 health benefits of eggs – Insider

Oct 25th, 2021

Eggs are affordable and easy to prepare in a variety of meals, from breakfast dishes to pasta and even a quick snack.

They're also highly nutritious and come loaded with vitamins, minerals, protein, and healthy fats. Here's why eggs make a great addition to a healthy diet.

Whether you like them scrambled, hard-boiled, or in an omelet, eggs are one of nature's most versatile and nutritious foods, with one large egg containing:

Thanks to their impressive nutrient profile, eggs have many health benefits. Here are just a few:

Eggs may be palm-sized, but don't let their small size fool you. One egg will provide you with more than 6 grams (13% DV) of complete protein.

"Complete sources of protein contain all nine essential amino acids, which your body uses to build healthy tissues," says Chelsea Jackle, RD, who leads Nutrition at Cerebral, an online mental and behavioral health care start-up.

Eating enough protein is crucial for your health since it helps build muscles, cartilage, and skin. Protein can also help with weight management since it keeps you fuller for longer, meaning you may eat fewer calories overall.

Quick tip: While they're not suitable for vegans, eggs are a solid option for vegetarians who are looking for an easy way to up their intake of complete protein since most plant-based foods don't contain all nine essential amino acids, says Jackle.

With just 72 calories and nearly 0 carbs, eggs are a low-calorie food suitable for people following a low-carb or keto diet.

Eating eggs as part of a low-carb diet could improve insulin resistance, a condition where cells become less responsive to insulin. Therefore, they have trouble absorbing sugar, increasing the risk of diabetes.

In fact, a 2020 meta-analysis analyzed 13 studies and found following a ketogenic diet significantly improved blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes .

With just 72 calories each and plenty of protein, eggs are a great option for those looking to lose weight since it can help them achieve a calorie deficit.

"Dietary patterns that include eggs have been linked to weight loss," Jackal says. "Since protein helps you feel full longer, eating high-protein foods like eggs can help you keep your appetite more stable and prevent overeating later in the day."

In fact, a 2008 study found that people who ate eggs for breakfast as part of a calorie-deficit diet saw greater improvements in body mass index (BMI) and waist size reduction compared to people who ate a bagel for breakfast as part of a calorie-deficit.

Egg yolks are naturally high in HDL cholesterol, or the "good" kind of cholesterol that transports LDL, aka "bad," cholesterol out of the body, Jackle says.

If LDL cholesterol levels become too high, fatty deposits can develop in blood vessels, increasing the risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.

Fortunately, studies suggest eggs are able to improve cholesterol levels. A small 2013 study found people who consumed 3 whole eggs a day saw greater increases in HDL cholesterol compared to people who ate egg substitutes without the yolk.

Important: Eggs' effect on cholesterol depends on the individual, according to a 2006 report. For about 70% of people, eggs have minimal to no effect on cholesterol levels but do raise LDL cholesterol levels in the other 30%. Therefore, if you have high cholesterol , talk to your doctor about eating eggs as part of your diet.

"Eggs are one of the few foods naturally rich in vitamin D , so they are a great choice for people trying to increase their vitamin D levels," says Annamaria Louloudis, RDN, a certified nutritionist at Louloudi Nutrition.

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for maintaining healthy bones and supporting your immune system. One egg provides about 49 IU of Vitamin D, about 16% of the recommended daily amount for most adults

Importantly, the exact amount of Vitamin D in your eggs will vary based on a hen's nutrition a 2014 study found that the eggs from hens who were kept outdoors had three to four times more vitamin D3 than eggs from hens kept indoors.

Eggs are one of the few food sources rich in choline, an essential nutrient that supports your metabolism, mood, memory, and muscle control. While our livers can produce trace amounts of choline, it's still necessary to eat enough in your diet to avoid a deficiency.

In fact, most Americans do not consume enough choline, which is 550 mg per day for adult men and 425 mg per day for adult women.

Important: Most of the nutrients in eggs, such as choline, are only available in the yolk. So while egg whites may be a lower calorie option, whole eggs are more nutritious.

Eggs are particularly high in trace minerals that play a critical role in thyroid health and hormone production such as:

Eggs are particularly rich in riboflavin, also known as Vitamin B2, with 0.21 mg per serving, or 16% of your daily value. Riboflavin plays an important role in cellular growth and development and helps convert food into energy.

While bacteria in your gut produce small amounts of the vitamin, you need to eat riboflavin-rich foods, like eggs, oats, and milk, in order to meet your dietary needs.

Egg yolks are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids, aka pigments, crucial for eye health. These pigments, which are found in your retina and in foods like eggs and leafy greens, protect your eyes from cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which causes your vision to become blurry. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.

Eggs are an inexpensive and nutritious food containing an array of vitamins and minerals, like selenium, riboflavin, and choline.

Healthy adults can eat an egg per day, and older adults or people on a low saturated fat diet, like vegetarians, can eat two eggs per day, says Louloudis.

Plus, they're great for a wide range of diets, including keto, because they're both low-carb and low-cal.

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Egg nutrition: 9 health benefits of eggs - Insider

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