It is not uncommon for people to wonder whether eating eggs is healthy. If it is healthy then how many eggs one should eat in a week.
This confusion is quite understandable. Eggs have developed a reputation of being high on cholesterol. But we do not know to what extent dietary cholesterol raises blood cholesterol level. Many scientists believe that saturated fats and trans fats have a greater role than does dietary cholesterol in raising blood cholesterol level.
The American Heart Association has said that as long as you limit dietary cholesterol from other sources, it may be possible to include a daily egg in a healthy diet.
Here is what the Mayo Clinic website says: One large egg has about 213 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol — all of which is found in the yolk. If you are healthy, it’s recommended that you limit your dietary cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg a day. If you have cardiovascular disease, diabetes or high LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol, you should limit your dietary cholesterol intake to less than 200 mg a day. Therefore, if you eat an egg on a given day, it’s important to limit or avoid other sources of cholesterol for the rest of that day.
If you like eggs but don’t want the extra cholesterol, use egg whites. Egg whites contain no cholesterol. You may also use cholesterol-free egg substitutes, which are made with egg whites. If you want to reduce cholesterol in a recipe that calls for eggs, use two egg whites or 1/4 cup cholesterol-free egg substitute in place of one whole egg.
I have been eating eggs all my life. These days I prefer to eat egg white. Occasionally, I do eat a whole egg and sometimes I eat eggs fortified with omega-3 fatty acids.
Does it matter how we cook our egg?
My enquiries and research tells me that different methods of cooking eggs do not make a difference in nutrient content. But we should remember that composition of a prepared food is the combination of all the ingredients used and the method used to prepare the food.
For example, fried egg will have higher fat content due to presence of oil. A typical scrambled egg may have some dairy product which will contribute its own nutrients and calories to the preparation. Same principle applies when preparing an omelet.
A cooked egg also loses water so the nutrients are more concentrated. Protein in the cooked egg is more digestible than an uncooked egg because cooking slightly denatures the protein.
There are no known benefits of eating raw eggs. In fact eating raw eggs is considered unsafe because of the risk of salmonella infection. Though the odds are pretty low – in US it is estimated to be 0.045 per cent and only one egg in 20,000 eggs is estimated to contain salmonella. Salmonella does not grow well at cold temperatures; therefore, refrigeration is very important. Properly cooked eggs destroys salmonella.
For safety reasons eggs should be cooked until the white and yolk are solid. We should be careful with recipes that require raw shell eggs or partly cooked eggs but do not require any heating to reach a temperature which will harden the egg white and the egg yolk.
Egg is considered to be a complete food. It is low in calories (79 calories) and is loaded with protein, important vitamins and minerals. Egg is low in fat but the yolk is high in cholesterol. Yolk is also high in calories (egg white 16 calories vs. yolk 63 calories per egg).
An egg a day is now considered safe for those people who have no cardiac or cholesterol problems. But egg white is healthier and safer to eat as it is low in calories with no fat or cholesterol. Egg white cartons can be easily purchased from Canadian supermarkets.
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