During this time of year, eggs are everywhere. Chocolate eggs, cream-filled eggs, and hard-boiled eggs dyed bright pink, purple, yellow and blue. On holiday brunch tables, quiche, strata, egg bakes, and deviled eggs prevail. Americans eat eggs year-round, and some may even eat them for every meal of the day. Could it be that we like eggs a little too much? Are we endangering our health by eating so many eggs? Let’s take a closer look at egg nutrition to learn more.
The Egg-Cholesterol Connection
Eggs have a mixed reputation with medical professionals, especially those concerned with heart health. Anyone who’s been advised to lower their cholesterol by changing their diet may have been told to avoid eggs. Here’s why: Adults should aim for no more than 300 mg of dietary cholesterol each day. One large egg has more than 50% of the daily recommendation. Think about what people usually eat with their eggs at breakfast – bacon or sausage, toast or pancakes with butter. You can see how easy it is to go over the recommended daily amount of dietary cholesterol in the first meal of the day!
How Many Eggs is Too Many?
For healthy adults who don’t have high cholesterol, the Mayo Clinic has stated that it’s probably safe to eat up to 7 eggs per week without increasing the chance of developing heart disease. In addition, while there is currently no definitive data that proves a connection between eggs and diabetes, there is ongoing research that suggests there may be. It’s good to be aware when you’re deciding what to have for breakfast or any other meal.
Strike a Balance Between Eggs and Foods That Lower Cholesterol
Unless you’ve been told to avoid eggs altogether, they still have a place in a healthy diet. Eggs are a great source of protein and they’re low in calories. On average there are just 78 calories in a large hard-boiled egg. The key is to practice moderation with the number of eggs you eat each week.
Instead of enjoying eggs every day, switch up your breakfast menu with foods that naturally lower your blood cholesterol like oatmeal, whole grains, ground flax seed, and fruits like apples and oranges. Choose 2% yogurt rather than whole milk yogurt. Or, use an egg replacement product for your scrambled eggs or omelets. Most of the cholesterol in eggs is found in the yolk. Look for ways to combine leftover cooked vegetables and a little bit of low-fat cheese with egg replacements to make a healthy breakfast scramble.
Your Doctor May Prescribe Medication to Lower Your Cholesterol
Of course, blood cholesterol levels are also impacted by factors like family history. If that is the case, you may need a little help from a prescription medication no matter how hard you try to stay away from dietary cholesterol.
One of the families of drugs that control blood cholesterol levels are known as statins. These are the most commonly prescribed drugs to help keep high cholesterol in check. Work with your doctor to find the right amount and drug for your needs. There are a number of potential side effects from statins, so be sure to understand how the drug you’ve been prescribed may affect you.
Being mindful about the number of eggs you eat each week, understanding cholesterol levels in all foods. Knowing your numbers, and taking any medications recommended by your doctor will all help you to stay heart healthy and feeling great.
To learn more about cholesterol, and for links to money-saving coupons on some of the statin drugs your doctor may recommend, read this blog post – What You Need to Know About Cholesterol – on the Optum Perks blog.