I love eggs. Whether they're hard-boiled, poached, scrambled, or sunny-side up, I would willingly eat eggs every day. (I don't eat eggs every day, of course. But I would if I could!) Needless to say, Easter is one of my favorite holidays. It's time for spring, chocolate Easter bunnies and hard-boiled eggs.
Eggs are traditionally used as a symbol of rebirth and new life. Early Christians used dyed and painted eggs to symbolize the rebirth and resurrection of Jesus at Easter. Today, we fill Easter baskets with dyed eggs, plastic eggs, and even chocolate-filled candy eggs to symbolize spring and the meaning of Easter.
Of course, eggs have also gotten a bad reputation for containing high amounts of cholesterol. The average person should consume less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol in their food each day and one egg contains about 213 milligrams.
This is unfortunate, because eggs are an excellent, inexpensive form of protein. Let's examine the facts and myths behind eggs as a part of a healthy, frugal diet.
Eggs do contain nearly a full day's worth of dietary cholesterol. But food scientists have found that the cholesterol in eggs doesn't have much of an impact on blood cholesterol levels in healthy adults. Eggs are also high in fat but this fat is mostly the healthy monounsaturated fats, which can actually lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Eggs also contain 13 important vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and protein, which helps to keep you feeling full longer after meals. Studies have shown that children and adults who eat protein for breakfast tend to be less hungry throughout the day and eat fewer calories during lunch and dinner.
Tempted to toss the yolk and eat just egg whites? Think again. Nearly all of the beneficial parts of the egg, including protein and nutrients, are packed into the yolk. Of course, the yolk also contains the most cholesterol and fat.
If you're looking for a fast, inexpensive form of protein to serve for breakfast, eggs may be the solution. Eggs cost about 12 cents each just imagine how much beef or chicken you could purchase for 12 cents. It's not much! Researchers studying weight and obesity note that having eggs for breakfast can help dieters lose more than 60 percent more weight without raising cholesterol levels. A study published in 2007 in the Medical Science Monitor also suggests that regular egg consumption (about one egg per day) does not increase the risk of heart disease or stroke in healthy adults.
An inexpensive form of protein, filled with heart-healthy fats, that can help me lose weight? Sounds like my kind of food.
If you have high cholesterol or have been told by your doctor to reduce cholesterol consumption, ask your physician about eggs. Cholesterol found in foods can affect people differently and nearly all of the studies done on eggs and cholesterol levels have been done on "healthy" adults with normal cholesterol levels.
The American Heart Association continues to recommend eggs in moderation after all, it's best to eat a diet with a variety of healthy foods. Its main argument isn't with eggs themselves, but with the typical American breakfast. Most people don't eat just one egg; instead, they'll eat two to three eggs with a side of bacon or sausage and fried potatoes, also high-cholesterol and high-fat foods. There's nothing healthy about that meal, with or without the eggs!
My favorite breakfast is one scrambled egg with whole-wheat toast. If I'm feeling extra-hungry, I'll add a second egg or egg white, depending on how many eggs (or other high-cholesterol foods) I've eaten that week. As Easter rolls around, I'll probably hard-boil a half-dozen eggs to enjoy with toast or an English muffin and for egg sandwiches.
Feel free to enjoy a few Easter eggs this weekend, guilt-free. Just be sure to limit the number of chocolate bunnies you eat in one day!