Eggs have a bad reputation for their high cholesterol, but experts say they are healthier than you might think, especially as you get older.
So go ahead and have another one. Just make sure they’re fresh.
Cooked, fried, poached: All tasty ways to cook yourself an egg for breakfast. And yet, eggs don’t have the best of reputation when it comes to health.
They’re often considered something of a cholesterol bomb, to be eaten in moderation. But experts say that’s only partially true.
One egg does contain a fair amount of cholesterol – some 400 milligrams on average.
However, not all of that stays in the body, according to Prof Berthold Koletzko, who heads the nutritional health division of a children’s hospital at the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich in Germany.
Two-thirds of cholesterol in the blood stream is actually produced by the body.
“It’s clear that chicken eggs play a far lesser role in cholesterol metabolism than most people think,” he says.
Still, nutritionists recommend keeping an eye on how many eggs you eat.
“Our suggested intake is up to three eggs per week,” says the German Nutrition Society spokeswoman Antje Gahl.
That includes eggs found in other foods such as bread, cake, pasta, sauces or mayonnaise.
“However, counting eggs is extremely difficult here,” Gahl admits, adding that there’s wiggle room to go above the recommended dosage on occasion.
But that’s only if you’re healthy.
“Anyone who has high cholesterol levels or cardiovascular disorders should stick to eating a maximum of three eggs a week,” says Dagmar von Cramm, a nutrition expert.
In some cases, it might even be a good idea to give up eggs altogether.
“Healthy and fit individuals can get away with eating one to two eggs per day assuming that you do plenty of exercise and balance it with lots of fruit and vegetables,” says Prof Koletzko.
Eggs aren’t just filled with cholesterol. They have other important vitamins like vitamin A, which is good for the eyes, the immune system and skin. Added to that is the protein-heavy egg white depended on by many athletes.
Eggs also contain lecithin, which is good for the nervous system.
That’s what makes them a good bet for the elderly, says Prof Koletzko.
Not to mention that egg-based dishes can be easier to chew than other protein-rich foods.
Whether young or old, the question of whether eggs are healthy for you also depends on how they are prepared. A fried egg cooked in fat and served with bacon will, of course, drive up cholesterol levels in your blood.
One more piece of advice: Make sure eggs are cooked through. That allows you to kill off salmonella or other possible diseases. If you want to use eggs raw, make sure they’re fresh.
A good test for freshness: Place your egg in a glass of water. If it stays on the bottom, it’s fresh. If it rises slowly to the top, make sure to cook through before eating.
And if it rises straight to the top? Probably best to throw it in the bin. – dpa