Eggs have been a part of our diet for millennia, yet we’re still learning just how beneficial they can be to human health. Loaded with nutrients - some of them hard to come by from other food sources - eggs are often said to be the original superfood because of their many health benefits.
Are Eggs Good for You?
Without a doubt, there are a multitude of benefits to eating eggs every day. Not only do eggs provide high quality protein, they also contain 11 vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. And this means they can make a valuable contribution to daily nutrient requirements.
Most of the protein in an egg can be found in the egg white, while the yolk contains healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Below, we’ve listed some of the proven health benefits of eating eggs.
1. Eggs are Nutrient Rich
Let’s start with the fact that eggs are high in a range of vitamins and minerals. Just one boiled egg contains:
- 40% of your daily vitamin D requirements
- 25% of your daily folate requirements
- 12% of your daily riboflavin (Vitamin B2) requirements
- 20% of your daily selenium requirements
- Eggs also contain vitamins A, E, B5, B12, as well as iron, iodine and phosphorus.
2. Eggs Are High in Quality Protein
Proteins are the building blocks of life and a single egg contains about 6.3 grams of high-quality protein. The main functions of proteins in the body are to build, strengthen and repair or replace things, such as tissue.
Eggs provide us with very high-quality protein that contains all nine essential amino acids in the right amounts needed by the body for optimum growth and maintenance. Some other foods contain proportionately more protein than eggs but it’s the quality of the protein in eggs that really stands out.
3. Eggs Raise Levels of “Good” Cholesterol
Eggs help increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol as it’s commonly known. Higher levels of HDL can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
It's low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol, that can put heart health at risk. Meals high in saturated fats and trans-fats such as deep-fried takeaway foods will increase levels of LDL cholesterol. To find out more about eggs and cholesterol click here.
4. Eggs are a good source of Omega-3s
Omega-3 is short for omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.
They're a family of "essential fats" that play an important role in the way our cell membranes work. Oily fish is one of the best known sources and eggs contain similar types of omega-3s as those found in fish.
This makes eggs particularly useful for people who avoid or can’t eat fish. Omega-3 fats are good for many things, from heart and brain health to protecting our eyes.
5. Eggs Are Filling and Help with Weight Loss
Nutrient dense and a great source of high quality protein, eggs are one of the healthiest foods you can eat for weight management.
Studies have found that eating eggs can make you feel full for longer by:
- Increasing levels of a hormone that helps you feel satisfied after eating
- Delaying the rate at which food leaves the stomach
Eating eggs can also help reduce variations in glucose and insulin levels which can have benefits for weight management.
Eggs are packed full of high-quality protein which makes them ideal as part of many different dietary patterns that can assist people to manage their weight.
The high satiety levels of eggs leads to greater feelings of satisfaction, less hunger and a lower desire to eat later in the day, meaning you’ll be less inclined to reach for that mid-afternoon snack.
6. Eggs Are Among the Best Dietary Sources of Choline
Though many people have never heard of choline, this nutrient plays an important role in our health.
Choline is essential for normal cell functioning and is particularly important during pregnancy to support healthy brain development in the baby. To find out more about eggs and pregnancy click here.
Eggs are one of the best dietary sources of choline. For consumer-friendly information about choline in eggs click here.
7. Eggs Contain Antioxidants That Are Beneficial for the Eyes
Eggs may also help counteract degenerative vision as you age.
Eggs are rich in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are believed to play a protective role in reducing the risk of certain eye diseases, including cataracts and macular degeneration. Studies show these antioxidants are better absorbed by the body from eggs than from plant sources.
Vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids in eggs may also protect eyes from retina damage.
8. Eggs Help Boost Nutrient Intake for Healthy Aging
It’s important for older Australians to pay increased attention to what they eat to ensure they obtain the right amount of nutrients in food.
Increased nutrient requirements and waning appetites can increase the risk of deficiencies in fibre, calcium, vitamins A, E, C, B6, B12, folate, iron, magnesium and zinc. Older people who primarily stay indoors are also at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency from a lack of sun exposure.
Containing 11 different vitamins and minerals, eggs are an easy way to increase nutrient intakes. They’re also one of the few foods containing vitamin D and are economical, easy to prepare and easy to eat.
Are Eggs Good for People with Diabetes?
Diabetes Australia recommends people with diabetes follow the Australian Dietary Guidelines, which suggests enjoying up to seven eggs per week as a part of a healthy, balanced diet.
There has been much debate on the topic of whether it’s healthy for people with diabetes to eat eggs. This is because people with diabetes, on average, have higher levels of 'bad' (LDL) cholesterol and higher levels of triglycerides than people without diabetes.
New research has shown that people with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes can eat up to 12 eggs a week as part of a healthy diet and this does not increase cardiovascular risk factors.
Increasingly, research indicates that the inclusion of eggs daily may be beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes, particularly if they replace less healthy foods, such as refined grains, and boost levels of quality protein in the diet. Eggs are also a low-carbohydrate food with a very low glycemic index score.
Of course, it’s important to remember that overall dietary patterns, physical activity, and genetics affect the development of type 2 diabetes more than any single food.
Learn More about Eggs and Nutrition
Not sure whether eggs may be beneficial in your situation? Learn more about how eggs may help serve your nutritional needs today.