Eat Your Eggs

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The New Way to Think About Eggs

In the past, people were warned not to eat eggs every day due to concerns about cholesterol and heart health — but that has changed.

Recent finding:

 For healthy people, eating one egg daily does not increase heart disease risk, perhaps because eggs raise blood levels of HDL “good” cholesterol as much as LDL “bad” cholesterol.

Exception: If you already have high cholesterol or diabetes, limit eggs to two or three weekly.

For about 70 calories, one large egg provides 6 g of protein (for tissue repair), 239 mcg of vitamin B-2 (for energy production) and 24 mcg of iodine (for thyroid function). Except for protein, most nutrients are in the yolk — as are the egg’s 1.5 g of saturated fat and 212 mg of cholesterol. Options…

Grade AA or A. This refers to the amount of air inside the shell, which reflects egg age and quality. Use the fresher grade AA for frying — it holds its shape. Use grade A for hard-boiling (for easier peeling) and whipping egg whites (for volume).

Pasteurized. This process destroys salmonella. Opt for pasteurized when a recipe calls for raw eggs or if you like your eggs runny.

Cage-free, free-range or organic. Cage-free hens live in henhouses but not cages. Free-range hens and those laying certified organic eggs have outdoor access. Safety and quality can be harder to manage in cage-free rather than caged settings — so whichever type you prefer, buy eggs with a USDA grade shield or “USDA certified organic” label, indicating adherence to safety standards. If you buy from a farmer’s market, be sure it is monitored by local health inspectors.

Omega-3–enriched. Laid by hens given enriched feed, these contain more heart-healthy DHA omega-3 than the 18 mg in a regular egg. To get your money’s worth, look for brands with at least 100 mg of DHA per egg.

White or brown. Shell color is determined by the hen’s breed. It does not affect taste or nutrients.

Source: Rosemary Walzem, PhD, RD, associate professor of nutritional biochemistry, poultry science department, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.

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