Eggs are a good source of low-cost high-quality protein, providing 5.5 grams of protein (11.1% of the daily value for protein) in one egg for a caloric cost of only 68 calories. The structure of humans and animals is built on protein. We rely on animal and vegetable protein for our supply of amino acids, and then our bodies rearrange the nitrogen to create the pattern of amino acids we require.
Boost Brain Health with Eggs' Choline
Another health benefit of eggs is their contribution to the diet as a source of choline. Although our bodies can produce some choline, we cannot make enough to make up for an inadequate supply in our diets, and choline deficiency can also cause deficiency of another B vitamin critically important for health, folic acid.
Choline is definitely a nutrient needed in good supply for good health. Choline is a key component of many fat-containing structures in cell membranes, whose flexibility and integrity depend on adequate supplies of choline. Two fat-like molecules in the brain, phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin, account for an unusually high percentage of the brain's total mass, so choline is particularly important for brain function and health.
In addition, choline is a highly important molecule in a cellular process called methylation. Many important chemical events in the body are made possible by methylation, in which methyl groups are transferred from one place to another. For example, genes in the body can be switched on or turned off in this way, and cells use methylation to send messages back and forth. Choline, which contains three methyl groups, is highly active in this process.
Choline is also a key component of acetylcholine. A neurotrasmitter that carries messages from and to nerves, acetylcholine is the body's primary chemical means of sending messages between nerves and muscles.\
An Egg Breakfast Helps Promote Weight LossIn a randomized controlled trial, 160 overweight or obese men and women were divided into 2 groups, one of which ate a breakfast including 2 eggs, while the other consumed a bagel breakfast supplying the same amount of calories and weight mass (an important control factor in satiety and weight loss studies). Participants ate their assigned breakfast at least 5 days a week for 8 weeks as part of a low-fat diet with a 1,000 calorie deficit. (Dhurandhar N, Vander Wal J, et al, FASEB Journal)
Compared to those on the bagel breakfast, egg eaters:
- Lost almost twice as much weight -- egg eaters lost an average of 6.0 pounds compared to bagel eaters' 3.5 pound loss.
- Had an 83% greater decrease in waist circumference
- Reported greater improvements in energy
Eggs and Heart Health
In addition to its significant effects on brain function and the nervous system, choline also has an impact on cardiovascular health since it is one of the B vitamins that helps converthomocysteine, a molecule that can damage blood vessels, into other benign substances. Eggs are also a good source of vitamin B12, another B vitamin that is of major importance in the process of converting homocysteine into safe molecules.
Eggs are high in cholesterol, and health experts in the past counseled people to therefore avoid this food. (All of the cholesterol in the egg is in the yolk.) However, nutrition experts have now determined people on a low-fat diet can eat one or two eggs a day without measurable changes in their blood cholesterol levels. This information is supported by a statistical analysis of 224 dietary studies carried out over the past 25 years that investigated the relationship between diet and blood cholesterol levels in over 8,000 subjects. What investigators in this study found was that saturated fat in the diet, not dietary cholesterol, is what influences blood cholesterol levels the most.
Helping to Prevent Blood ClotsEating eggs may help lower risk of a heart attack or stroke by helping to prevent blood clots. A study published in Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin demonstrated that proteins in egg yolk are not only potent inhibitors of human platelet aggregation, but also prolong the time it takes for fibrinogen, a protein present in blood, to be converted into fibrin. Fibrin serves as the scaffolding upon which clumps of platelets along with red and white blood cells are deposited to form a blood clot. These anti-clotting egg yolk proteins inhibit clot formation in a dose-dependent manner—the more egg yolks eaten, the more clot preventing action.(That being said, it's still important to only eat the amount of eggs that fits within your own personal Healthiest Way of Eating.)