“Eggs are bad for your heart”. You’ve probably come across this line at some point – among your health-conscious friends, on your Facebook feed, or in the headline of a sensationalized diet article. As with most food myths, there’s a kernel of truth behind the idea.
Egg yolks contain a substantial amount of cholesterol – about 211 milligrams per large egg. Your body needs some of this waxy substance to make hormones and vitamin D, and to help you digest foods. Too much extra, though, can lead to the build-up of plaque inside the coronary arteries, known commonly as heart disease.
Nevertheless, writing off eggs as a health hazard oversimplifies the nutritional picture. For most people, the cholesterol absorbed through food doesn’t have a significant impact on blood cholesterol; their bodies simply compensate by producing less cholesterol naturally. Saturated and trans fats are the real culprits behind high blood cholesterol, and a large egg contains only 2 grams of saturated fat and no trans fats.
What’s more, the impressive list of vitamins and minerals contained in eggs has been linked to a plethora of health benefits, from weight loss and maintenance, to healthy eyesight and strong muscles.
The key, as usual, is moderation. According to the American Heart Association’s diet and lifestyle recommendations, most healthy people can eat an egg a day without problems. For women over 55, men over 45, and those with a history of heart problems or diabetes, the recommendation drops to 200 milligrams daily, or around two eggs a week.