Eggs are awesome! I can’t say enough about what a great return on investment they supply nutritionally. In other words, the amount of nutrients and protein per dollar spent is fantastic! The health benefits of eggs are plentiful.
They’re also easily attainable and liked by most people. Here are ten confirmed benefits of eggs.
1. Just because eggs contain cholesterol, it doesn’t mean they affect your cholesterol unfavorably.
An average size egg contains approximately 200 mg of cholesterol. Yes, that’s a lot. But I explain in detail in my article Are Eggs Bad For You? Or Healthy? [The Definitive Guide] how dietary cholesterol actually affects us.
But, I’ll give you the simple rundown.
The cholesterol you eat does not raise your cholesterol levels adversely. Our liver produces cholesterol that is measurable. I recall one of my college professors using the phrase, “it’s a handshake between what we make and what we eat”
In other words, if we eat more, we make less. Make sense?
Yes, there are some people whose cholesterol elevates from eating cholesterol, but this is not necessarily a bad thing in the case of eggs. Typically, the elevation of HDL (good) cholesterol negates any elevation of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
In fact, eggs improve the type of LDL cholesterol. I explain more about this further along.
2) Eggs are nutritious and pack a punch.
Eggs are not only high in protein, but they contain a lot of great nutrients. Here’s the breakdown of a typical large-sized whole egg (~50g in weight). Please keep in mind that these numbers vary based on the size of the egg and the dietary content of the hen.
- 74 calories
- 6 grams of protein
- 1 gram of carbohydrates
- 5 grams of fat
- 1.5 grams of saturated fat
- 1.9 grams of monounsaturated fat
- 0.7 grams of polyunsaturated fat
- 24 mg of calcium
- 150-200 mg choline: ~30% of our Daily Value
- 0.72 mg of iron
- 5 mg of magnesium
- 89 mg phosphorus: 12% of our Daily Value
- 60 mg potassium
- 63 mg sodium
- 0.55 mg zinc
- 95 RE of vitamin A: 9% of our Daily Value
- 0.03 mg thiamin (vitamin B1)
- 0.25 mg riboflavin (vitamin B2): 21% of Daily Value
- 0.04 mg niacin (vitamin B3)
- 0.07 mg vitamin B6
- 0.55 micrograms of vitamin B12: 23% of our Daily Value
- 23 micrograms of folate: 6% of our Daily Value
- 0.5 mg zinc: 6% of our Daily Value
I highlighted the important numbers.
What’s daily value? It’s a labeling system designed to inform about the amount of a nutrient that is considered to be sufficient to meet the requirements of most healthy individuals.
3. They are high in protein with a great amino acid profile.
Albumin is the predominant type of protein in eggs. It has a high bioavailabilityeasily absorbed in the gut and a great amino acid profile. It contains all of the essential amino acids.
A typical large egg contains 6 grams of protein and costs very little. Here I go again… dollar for dollar, eggs are a very inexpensive source of quality protein. And too many people do not consume enough protein. Don’t worry about eating too much protein.
Older individuals need to maintain adequate protein intake to minimize muscle loss as they age. The egg is the perfect food to help achieve this.
Dollar for dollar, eggs are a cheap source of high-quality protein.
4. Eggs are high in choline
Choline may not be listed as an essential nutrient, but it is essential for human life. And many people don’t get enough choline. Choline is not abundant in most foods, but eggs contain a lot.
It has two very important functions:
Formation of acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter)
Formation of phospholipids (part of cell membranes)
I want to point out that consuming adequate amounts of choline has been shown to lower the risk of dementia.
Whole eggs are a great source of choline, containing between 150-200 mg choline (varies).
Eggs are a great source of choline which can help lower the risk of dementia in adult life.
5. Eggs improve HDL levels
Across the board, daily consumption of eggs shows an increase in HDLhigh density lipoprotein and little to no increase in LDLlow density lipoprotein.
Let me restate the importance of increased HDL. You can think of HDL as a janitorial service that cleans things up. It negates any slight elevation in LDL levels. I won’t complicate this, but just know there’s real value in high HDL levels since it reduces your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Eating eggs is a great and inexpensive way to raise your HDL levels.
Eggs improve your good cholesterol.
6. Eggs do good things to your LDL cholesterol.
There’s more to LDL cholesterol than meets the eye. Just about everyone now knows the difference between HDL and LDL, but there are subtypes of LDL that have different effects.
The small dense versions of LDL: not so good.
The large, less dense version of LDL: much better.
Eggs have been shown to improve the subtype of LDL cholesterol to a higher concentration of large, less dense LDL. This is a good thing because more of the small, dense particles have shown an increase for heart disease.
Low down box:
I know, that gets confusing. Just know that eggs improve the type of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
7. They do not raise your risk of heart disease.
I could not find any quality research stating eggs contribute to heart disease. On the contrary, there’s plenty clearly stating an egg a day has no detrimental impact.
Xu states, “Eating one egg daily is not associated with an increase in CVD or all-cause mortality.” In fact, one a day is associated with a lower risk for stroke.
Another study by Clayton states “Consuming three eggs per day for 12 weeks did not increase cardiovascular disease risk in individuals with metabolic syndrome.”
I would NOT worry about eggs if you’re concerned about cardiovascular disease.
8. They contain lesser-known nutrients that are important for eye health.
As we age, our eyesight diminishes. But the egg is one weapon in your arsenal to help slow this process.
Egg consumption has also been shown to increase lutein and zeaxanthin. These are important nutrients that are not abundant in the average diet.
Lutein and zeaxanthin may help minimize the risk of macular degeneration.
Consuming eggs can help stave off age-related eye issues.
9. If your eggs are free-range or fed an omega 3 rich diet, you’ll benefit.
There’s no shortage of information advocating for more omega-3 fatty acids in our diet. The neural, cardiovascular, and triglyceride-lowering benefits of incorporating more omega-3 fatty acids in our diet are real.
But not every egg is created equal. You’ll only benefit if the hens producing the eggs consumed a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids or were organically raised free-range chickens.
Typically, these eggs are labeled as such and cost more. But it’s a surefire way to increase your omega-3 intake.
If you can afford it, buy eggs sourced from chickens on a high omega-3 diet.
10. Eggs are super versatile.
Seriously, when’s the last time you baked or prepared a recipe without an egg. Or went out to breakfast and went down the selection tree of how you would like your eggs prepared.
You can eat eggs every day of the week and prepare them differently. So, if you get bored easily, different preparation styles for eggs is a good solution.
Bottomline on the Health Benefits of Eggs
Let’s face it, eggs are a near-perfect food! I encourage you to incorporate eggs into your diet.
You can’t go wrong with the great nutritional value, cost, and versatility of an egg!
Resources & Research
Dominik D. Alexander, Paula E. Miller, Ashley J. Vargas, Douglas L. Weed & Sarah S. Cohen (2016) Meta-analysis of Egg Consumption and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 35:8, 704-716.
Hassan Aljohia, Mindy Dopler-Nelsona, Manuel Cifuentesb & Thomas A. Wilsonac, The consumption of 12 Eggs per week for 1 year does not alter fasting serum markers of cardiovascular disease in older adults with early macular degeneration, Journal of Nutrition & Intermediary Metabolism, Volume 15, March 2019, Pages 35-41.
Appel LJ, Sacks FM, Carey VJ, Obarzanek E, Swain JF, Miller ER, Conlin PR, Erlinger TP, Rosner BA, Laranjo NM, Charleston J, McCarron P, Bishop LM, OmniHeart Collaborative Research Group FT. Effects of Protein, Monounsaturated Fat, and Carbohydrate Intake on Blood Pressure and Serum Lipids Results of the OmniHeart Randomized Trial. JAMA. 2005;294(19):2455–2464. doi:10.1001/jama.294.19.2455
Zachary S. Clayton M.S. Elizabeth Fusco M.S., R.D. Mark Kern Ph.D., R.D., C.S.S.D., Egg consumption and heart health: A review, Nutrition, Volume 37, May 2017, Pages 79-85.
Mahshid Dehghan, et al, Association of egg intake with blood lipids, cardiovascular disease, and mortality in 177,000 people in 50 countries, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 111, Issue 4, April 2020, Pages 795–803
Diana M.DiMarco, Maria Luz Fernandez, Differences in response to egg-derived dietary cholesterol result in distinct lipoprotein profiles while plasma concentrations of carotenoids and choline are not affected in a young healthy population, Journal of Agriculture and Food Research, Volume 1, December 2019, 100014
Diana M DiMarco, Gregory H Norris, Courtney L Millar, Christopher N Blesso, Maria Luz Fernandez, Intake of up to 3 Eggs per Day Is Associated with Changes in HDL Function and Increased Plasma Antioxidants in Healthy, Young Adults, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 147, Issue 3, March 2017, Pages 323–329.
Bamini Gopinatha, Gerald Liewa, Diana Tanga, George Burlutskya, Victoria M. Flood, Paul Mitchella, Consumption of eggs and the 15-year incidence of age-related macular degeneration, Clinical Nutrition, Volume 39, Issue 2, February 2020, Pages 580-584
Greene, C.M., Waters, D., Clark, R.M. et al. Plasma LDL and HDL characteristics and carotenoid content are positively influenced by egg consumption in an elderly population1. Nutr Metab (Lond) 3, 6 (2006).
Shahida Aziz Khana, Aziz Khana, Sarah A. Khan, Mohd Amin Beg, Ashraf Alia, Ghazi Damanhouri, Comparative study of fatty-acid composition of table eggs from the Jeddah food market and effect of value addition in omega-3 bio-fortified eggs, Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, Volume 24, Issue 4, May 2017, Pages 929-935.
Eunice Mah, Oliver Chen, DeAnn Liska, Effect of Egg Consumption on Cardiometabolic Health Outcomes: An Overview of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (P08-043-19), Current Developments in Nutrition, Volume 3, Issue Supplement_1, June 2019, nzz044. P08–043–19
Kevin Maki, Orsolya Palacios, Mary Buggia, Mary Dicklin, Marjorie Bell, Cathleen Maki, The Effect of Replacing Carbohydrate-based Breakfast Foods with Eggs on Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Adults at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes (P08-045-19), Current Developments in Nutrition, Volume 3, Issue Supplement_1, June 2019, P08–045–19.
McAuley, K.A., Hopkins, C.M., Smith, K.J. et al. Diabetologia (2005) 48: 8.
Melissa M Melough, Sang-Jin Chung, Maria Luz Fernandez and Ock K Chun, Association of eggs with dietary nutrient adequacy and cardiovascular risk factors in US adults, Public Health Nutrition, Volume 22, Issue 11, August 2019 , pp. 2033-2042
Onyenweaku, E., Ene-Obong, H., Oko, G., & Williams, I. (2019). Contribution of Eggs and Other Cholesterol-containing Foods to Total Dietary Cholesterol Intake, and Their Influence on Serum Lipid Profile of Adults in Calabar, Nigeria. European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety, 9(4), 329-340
Xu, L., Lam, T.H., Jiang, C.Q. et al. Egg consumption and the risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality: Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study and meta-analyses. Eur J Nutr 58, 785–796 (2019)
Maija P T Ylilauri, Sari Voutilainen, Eija Lönnroos, Heli E K Virtanen, Tomi-Pekka Tuomainen, Jukka T Salonen, Jyrki K Virtanen, Associations of dietary choline intake with risk of incident dementia and with cognitive performance: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 110, Issue 6, December 2019, Pages 1416–1423.
Steven H Zeisel, Kevin C Klatt, Marie A Caudill, Choline, Advances in Nutrition, Volume 9, Issue 1, January 2018, Pages 58–60