Easy to prepare, economical and extremely nutritious, the egg is an exceptional food that deserves a prominent place in our eating habits. There is no risk on the level of cholesterol, it is still necessary to buy them organic to ensure their good content of omega-3 anti-inflammatories.
The eggs produced by a large number of bird species have always been part of the human diet. It was not, however, until the domestication of the wild rooster (Gallus gallus) almost 10,000 years ago in Southeast Asia that eggs truly became a mainstay of our diet.
This importance attached to eggs reflects the highly nutritious nature of these foods: in fact, since the biological function of eggs is to enable the development of the embryo, they consequently contain all the elements required for this process. Whether for its complete proteins, its lipids, its vitamins, its minerals or even various growth factors, the egg represents a “golden” food source, providing all the elements necessary to maintain good health.
Eggs contain good fats
Despite its undeniable nutritional qualities, eggs wrongly acquired a bad reputation in the early 1980s because of their fairly high fat content, particularly cholesterol. Because a high blood cholesterol level is often associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, some have concluded, without established evidence, that the consumption of foods containing cholesterol is likely to promote the onset of heart disease.
This reductionist vision has had dramatic consequences on our eating habits: on the one hand, it has had the direct consequence of demonizing all foods high in fat, even those containing polyunsaturated fats that are extremely beneficial to health such as eggs, fish fat (salmon) or fruit as healthy as avocados or nuts. On the other hand, it has led to a significant increase in the consumption of foods high in sugar, an increase that has actively contributed to the current obesity epidemic. It is in such a context that eggs, which have always been considered a healthy food, have suddenly become suspicious and potentially dangerous to health.
Eggs: no impact on cholesterol
For the vast majority of people, dietary cholesterol does not have a major impact on blood cholesterol levels. Indeed, most (75%) of cholesterol is produced by the liver and the proportion coming from food does not significantly influence the amount of this fat in the blood. It is much more the consumption of bad fats such as trans fats or saturated fats that negatively influences blood cholesterol levels and thus increases the risk of heart disease.
Moreover, large population studies show no increase in heart disease for regular egg consumers. A study of 120,000 people showed that people who eat one egg a day have no increased risk of heart attack or stroke compared to those who eat only one a week. In people with diabetes, on the other hand, the consumption of more than one egg per day is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and caution is therefore advised for these people.
Choose organic eggs, rich in Omega 3
Ultimately, depriving yourself of eggs means giving up on an exceptional food, rich in vitamins, minerals and good fats. The low calorie content (80 cal per egg) and the great satiety it provides, combined with its protein content, place the egg in a class of foods to be favored in the fight against obesity. Not to mention that some eggs from hens fed with flaxseed, or who were able to feed naturally in a meadow, contain 12 times more omega-3 than conventional eggs (500 mg vs 40 mg) and can cover on their own up to 30% of our needs in these anti-inflammatory fats.
For breakfast, an egg is far superior to a butter-jam sandwich or a muffin stuffed with trans fats and sugar! Once again, remember that it is industrial food and its excesses that are problematic in health. The egg is one of those naturally healthy foods, eaten with good reason for thousands of years by humans. It is easy to cook and fits remarkably well into a multitude of recipes from all over the world. The only rule to follow is to buy them organic, to be sure that they are full of Omega-3 and avoid those from battery farms, because they are full of pro-inflammatory omega-6.
HuFB et al. A prospective study of egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women. JAMA 281: 1387-1394