Margaux Neveu, MS, RD, CSG, CSR, CDE
Are eggs healthy?
Yes! Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on earth. They are affordable, easy to prepare, and are a wonderful source of protein for any balanced diet. Eggs have even been deemed a “perfect source of protein.” What makes the protein in eggs so perfect? Biological value is the measure of how easily digested protein can be used by your body. Eggs have the highest biological value of any food including beef, milk or soy, scoring a perfect 100! But you might be wondering about the cholesterol in the yolks, right? Not so fast. Extensive research has not clearly found a link between eating eggs and risk of heart disease (1). New evidence from the British Medical Journal showed that one egg yolk a day is fine for most healthy people (2). Eggs, specifically the yolk, are a good source of vitamins and minerals like A, D, B-6 and phosphorus. In addition they contain potent antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which may promote healthy eyes.
Are brown eggs better than white eggs?
Different breeds of hens lay different colored eggs. People often assume that brown eggs are more “natural” or “healthy” than white eggs, however they are no different in terms of nutrition, quality, or flavor.
Which eggs are best?
If you have ever tried to pick out eggs at the grocery store, you know it can be challenging to figure out which carton is best. Should you pick “Cage-free” “Free Range” or “Certified Organic?” Truth be told, most egg labels have little relevance to animal welfare. Certain label claims have no official standards or method of enforcing such standards. The Human Society of the United States provides helpful guidance to filter through the options to make the best choice for healthy, nutritious eggs. Below is a table to summarizing their guidance.
Considering this information and the availability of certain eggs carried by grocery stores, I recommend looking for eggs that are Certified Organic, Certified Humane and Pasture-Raised. Vital Farms eggs fit the bill and are sold at Whole Foods. If you are searching for Animal Welfare Approved eggs, it can be a challenge to locate this label in most stores, as this strict certification only covers flocks of birds less than 500. However, if you are interested, you can search for local stores or farmers that provide these eggs here.
At only 72 calories packing 6 grams of high quality protein, eggs are a wonderful addition to a well-rounded diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
Try this egg muffin recipe to start your day off right with a great protein-packed breakfast that's a breeze to make.
1. Fernandez M.L. Effects of eggs on plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations. Food Funct. 2010;1:156–160. doi: 10.1039/c0fo00088d.
2. Rong Y, Chen L, Zhu T, Song Y, Yu M, Shan Z, et al. Egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMJ 2013; 346:e8539.
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