Filed under: Nutrition
I know that I have often written about the greatness of eggs, and many of my more enlightened readers actually take this information to heart and consume the whole thing on a regular basis.
Unfortunately I know that there are still many people who are resistant to make that leap of faith, still believing that the cholesterol in the eggs is going to give them heart disease, and failing to realize that not only does our body have a negative feedback system where when you consume cholesterol you simply produce less, but whole eggs actually contain substances that substantially decrease your risk of heart disease.
I actually showed just a snippet of data that disproved the idea that dietary cholesterol contributes to blood cholesterol right here.
Eggs are a good source of tons of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They contain the cancer-fighting selenium, thyroid-regulating iodine, perfect protein, energy-boosting B vitamins, antioxidants lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin A for eye health, iron, as well as being one of the few food sources of the incredible vitamin D. The well-produced kind also contain significant amounts of heart-healthy omega-3′s.
Even with that impressive list, one of the best components of eggs is a compound called choline. It is similar to the B vitamins, and has some absolutely amazing benefits.
Our bodies can make some choline, but not nearly enough to make up for an insufficient dietary intake, and choline deficiency can also cause a deficiency in the vital B vitamin folic acid. Since more than 90% of Americans are deficient in choline, this is a problem.
Choline is a key component to cell membranes, as their flexibility and integrity depend on it. In fact there are two molecules that make up a large percentage of the brain called phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin. These two molecules are down-stream by-products of choline, and without a sufficient supply of choline they are markedly less abundant, and our brain health and function is diminished.
Phosphatidylcholine also increases the solubility of cholesterol, lowers cholesterol levels by removing it and excess fat from tissue deposits, especially from the liver, and it also inhibits platelet aggregation.
Another down-stream by-product of choline is acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is the body’s primary chemical messenger to send messages between nerves and muscles.
That sounds like some good stuff right? Well there is a lot more. The choline in eggs has been specifically shown to reduce inflammation, and as we know inflammation plays an enormous role in the development of heart disease and many other diseases such as osteoporosis, cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s, as well as type-2 diabetes.
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people whose diet had the highest intake of choline (>310mg/day) had inflammatory marker levels at least 20% lower than people whose diets had the lowest intakes (<250mg/day).
- 22% lower concentrations of C-reactive protein
- 26% lower concentrations of interleukin-6
- 6% lower concentrations of tumor necrosis factor alpha
Now do we see why eggs do not cause heart disease? To add even more, choline has also been shown to convert the inflammatory and blood vessel-damaging homocysteine into more benign substances.
Another worrisome issue is the fact that pregnant women do not get nearly enough choline, and pre-natal vitamins are too low in this critical component (though that is changing). Choline is essential for proper brain and memory development in the fetus.
Each egg yolk contains an average of 125mg of choline, and 315mg of phosphatidylcholine. Now I have shown before how pastured eggs are much more nutrient dense than their conventionally raised counterparts, so in my mind it stands to reason that pastured eggs will also contain significantly more choline as well.
Before we wrap this up, and just in case you weren’t yet convinced, there was another article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition where researchers had 54 children aged 8-12 years consume 2 whole eggs daily for a month. Not only did their ratio of total LDL to HDL not change (so the cholesterol in the eggs had no effect on the amount of their blood cholesterol), but the size of their LDL particles did change.
15% of these children shifted from the atherogenic pattern B to the benign pattern A, meaning the LDL particles shifted from the small and dense type, to the large and fluffy type after just one month of eating eggs, and all of the subjects actually saw an increase in large, fluffy LDL and a decrease in small, dense LDL. This is a big deal, as egg consumption significantly decreased their heart disease risk from a cholesterol standpoint, not too mention most likely decreased their inflammatory markers, as noted above.
I hope I have made clear how incredibly nutritious whole eggs are for you, so go ahead and enjoy a few every morning, as your eyes, brain, heart, liver and more will thank you. This also means you can stop the non-sense of those egg white omelets, which are ridiculous.
More reading on the greatness of whole eggs
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