A couple of weeks ago, our Farmers’ Market Chef briefly mentioned some of the health properties and concerns about eggs. Since many folks are looking at a mound of leftover eggs today, thanks to the Easter Bunny, we thought we’d explore the topic a little further.
Let’s start with the bad news: eggs do have cholesterol, and egg allergies can be quite dangerous. According to the Mayo Clinic, one large egg has about 186 mg of cholesterol. As we all know cholesterol is a major contributing factor to heart disease. Additionally, egg allergy is quite common and can be quite dangerous. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) indicates that the egg is “one of the most common food allergens, affecting approximately 0.2% of Americans. This equates to more than 600,000 Americans.” Allergic reactions to egg often involve the skin. Egg allergy is the most common food allergy in babies and young children with eczema. Reactions to egg allergy can range from minor conditions such as hives to severe reactions such as anaphylaxis.
Now for the good news, the cholesterol levels in eggs don’t necessarily mean you need to cut them out of your diet completely. As with all things, moderation is the key. In fact, it is the yolks alone that contain all of the cholesterol. So if that is your fear, you can still enjoy the egg whites. Also, ScienceNews reported that, though ingesting several eggs a day does tend to increase blood concentrations of cholesterol, particularly the amount circulating in LDLs—the so-called “bad” cholesterol; a new study showed, eating eggs can also increase the amount of cholesterol in HDLs—the good cholesterol. In fact, data indicate that most people’s bodies handle the cholesterol from eggs in a way that is least likely to harm the heart.
Plus, we can’t forget the protein; one egg provides 6 grams of protein, 12% of the Recommended Daily Value. This is especially good news for vegetarians looking for versatile foods rich in proteins. And on the allergy front, the ACAAI indicates that about 70 percent of individuals outgrow egg allergy symptoms by age 16. But for those who still have egg allergy, it is better to play it safe with eggless recipes, such as those found in Allergy-Free and Easy Cooking: 30-Minute Meals without Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish, Shellfish, and Sesame.
If you’re not allergic and really psyched about adding more eggs to your diet, why not take it once step further with Keeping Chickens with Ashley English: All You Need to Know for a Happy, Healthy Flock. Sadly, we still have no good news about health with regard to chocolate Easter eggs.