Eating is one of the great pleasures in life. Food can be your “best medicine” or your worst enemy. It can provide you with the nutrients you need to stay healthy and fit. Or, it can contribute to weight gain and feeling sluggish.
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One food that prompts a lot of discussion is eggs. Are they good for you? What is the most you should eat in a week? What about cholesterol?
We all know that eggs contain cholesterol, and it is widely known that too much cholesterol can lead to heart disease. Interestingly, 80 percent of your body’s cholesterol is made by the liver with just 20 percent coming from your diet. And, it turns out, saturated fats and trans fats have a much greater impact on blood cholesterol levels than does dietary cholesterol.
For years, we’ve heard that we should avoid eggs because of cholesterol. More current health guidelines tell us that eggs have some great health benefits. They are a good source of protein, unsaturated fats and many vitamins (The yolks contain vitamins A, D, E, K (fat soluble vitamins), lutein (promotes eye health) and choline (heart health benefits). So go ahead and eat eggs, just do it in moderation. Here are the details. One egg contains about 213 mg of cholesterol, and the recommended daily limit is 300 mg of cholesterol per day if your total cholesterol is within normal limits, however only 200mg of cholesterol is recommended if your total cholesterol is elevated.
Doctors and nutritionists suggest that it is ok to eat up to three whole eggs a week to take advantage of the health benefits. Katherine Mone, RD, Section of Preventive Cardiology states, “As far as egg whites, they have no cholesterol or saturated fat, but also have less of the vitamins and nutrients that whole eggs contain. Egg yolks are allowed in a low fat, low cholesterol diet, but It depends on the individual person including their lipid panel and overall diet as to the amount of egg yolks one can have during the week. The best option is to stick to egg whites if you have elevated cholesterol level.”
Eggs can be a delicious breakfast or a great substitute for meat. Just remember, restaurants often put up to six eggs in one omelet. So, share that omelet with a friend, order the one-egg entree, combine one egg with more egg whites, choose egg whites, or make your eggs at home to manage your intake. You’ll be glad you did.
If you have heart concerns, some other questionable foods to consider include red meat and dairy products. In short, meats and dairy foods have health benefits just as eggs do. The key is that they should be eaten in moderation. Also, eat lean cuts of meat and low-fat dairy products. We’ve all heard the phrase eat a “balanced diet” and that really is what it’s all about.