Some food “rules” are very intuitive. For example, you know you should eat your vegetables every day and avoid eating deep-fried anything at the same frequency. However, there are some questions that are less obvious — like whether it’s OK to eat eggs on a regular basis.
On one hand, eggs are an inexpensive, versatile, and nutrient-dense food that’s equally delicious and satisfying. On the other hand, there has been some concern about whether eating eggs could negatively impact heart health. So, can eggs be part of a healthy diet? Let’s break it down.
Are Eggs Good For You?
If you google this question, you’ll find some folks who claim that eggs are one of the best foods you can eat and others who feel the opposite. But when you dig into the specifics of the nutrients found in eggs, the health benefits are pretty hard to dispute. Eggs are a good or excellent source of eight essential nutrients, including high-quality protein.
One of these nutrients is choline, which is found in the egg yolk. Choline offers many health benefits and is particularly beneficial to the brain. In fact, when taken in adequate amounts during pregnancy, choline is linked to faster information processing speed and improved attention span in children. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans lists eggs as a notable source of choline that can help support brain health and development during pregnancy.
Eggs are also one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D, which can help support a healthy immune system. And they’re rich in iodine, lutein, biotin, vitamin B12, and selenium, among other nutrients. It’s unsurprising, then, that eating eggs has been linked with a number of important health outcomes, from increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol to raising blood levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients that play a key role in eye health.
Can Eating Eggs Regularly Be Harmful to Heart Health?
Eggs have gotten a bad rap in the past because they naturally contain cholesterol. But as research has evolved, experts have come to believe that there’s no need to deprive yourself of your beloved Sunday brunch. A Harvard study that evaluated more than 20 years of data found that eating eggs is not associated with cardiovascular disease.
“The American Heart Association released a paper in 2019 that looked at the relationship between dietary cholesterol and cardiovascular risk and found that an egg a day can certainly be included in heart-healthy dietary patterns for healthy individuals,” Liz Shaw, MS, CPT, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author of Air Fryer Cookbook For Dummies, told POPSUGAR. If you’re concerned about your heart health, Shaw recommends speaking with a registered dietitian or your doctor, who can help you establish a dietary plan that’s tailored to your needs.
Generally speaking, though, as long as you’re eating eggs as part of a healthy diet — meaning, on top of a salad or scrambled with a handful of vegetables, instead of a side of bacon or sausage — having up to one whole egg a day (or more if you’re a vegetarian) shouldn’t be a problem.