Egg Study Finds They’re Excellent for our Health

Eggs are indeed all they are cracked up to be. This is what researchers reaffirmed after reviewing more than 25 studies on this original packaged food. I spoke with Donald K. Layman, PhD, professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of Illinois, who told me that their review of prior egg studies supported what we’ve been saying in Daily Health News for several years — that eggs are an excellent source of protein in addition to being inexpensive, easily digestible and nutrient-packed.

Though eggs haven’t always been considered healthy, their bad rap actually stemmed from a misunderstanding about cholesterol. There are two types — blood cholesterol, which is a marker of cardiovascular disease… and dietary cholesterol, the kind in eggs. The two cholesterol forms got scrambled together in health reports, but dietary cholesterol does not have a significant impact on blood cholesterol, Dr. Layman told me. When it comes to raising blood cholesterol, the true culprits in a large country breakfast are saturated fat and carbohydrates in the hash browns, pancakes or croissants you might want to eat alongside the eggs, not to mention what you consume throughout the rest of the day.


The research review, published in the January/February 2009 issue of the journal Nutrition Today, led Dr. Layman and his team to conclude that eggs make a significant contribution to muscle strength, energy and power. That they are so easily digestible makes them an ideal choice for older people and those with digestive disorders. Other benefits of super-nutritious eggs include…

  • Each egg contains six to seven grams of protein (more than 10% of the daily value) and all eight essential amino acids — tools the body needs to build and maintain muscle.
  • Eggs at breakfast provide an excellent source of energy to keep you going throughout the morning.
  • Eggs have a “satiety effect.” They leave you feeling more satisfied — fuller and less likely to soon be hungry again than refined carbs from a bagel, doughnut or croissant.
  • Eggs are low in fat and carbohydrates. One egg contains just five grams of fat, including 1.5 grams of saturated fat, and has zero carbohydrates.

Other research notes that eggs are rich in lutein, which is good for the eyes and may help prevent macular degeneration, and choline, a nutrient that supports the brain and nervous system… sulfur, which promotes healthy hair and nails… and vitamins B-12 and B-6, vital to energy production.


The healthiest ways to cook eggs are in water (poached, boiled) instead of frying.

The American Heart Association has removed specific warnings about eggs from its dietary recommendations, but continues to advise healthy people to keep their dietary cholesterol under 300 mg per day. One egg yolk (the part of the egg that contains all the cholesterol) contains 213 mg. If you already have high LDL cholesterol or are taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, the AHA advises that you take in less than 200 mg daily. If you are concerned about dietary cholesterol, enjoy a small or medium egg but then substitute vegetables for other meats during the day. Here’s one of my favorite egg recipes — a healthied-up version of Eggs Benedict, Italian-style, from EatingWell magazine…

Eggs Italiano

Active time: 40 minutes | Total: 40 minutes
Makes 4 servings

This sophisticated take on Eggs Benedict swaps a full-flavored, chunky vegetable medley for Canadian bacon and hollandaise sauce. Add whole-wheat English muffins and poached eggs and this combo makes a lovely brunch or an elegant light supper when served with a salad.

¼ cup distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound zucchini (about 2 medium), diced
12 ounces plum tomatoes (3-4), diced
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil, divided
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
8 large eggs
4 whole-wheat English muffins, split and toasted
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Fill a large, straight-sided skillet or Dutch oven with 2 inches of water; bring to a boil. Add white vinegar.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in zucchini and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in 1 tablespoon basil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

3. Meanwhile, reduce the boiling water to a gentle simmer; the water should be steaming and small bubbles should come up from the bottom of the pan. Crack each egg into a small bowl and slip them one at a time into the simmering water, taking care not to break the yolks. Cook for 4 minutes for soft set, 5 minutes for medium set and 8 minutes for hard set. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to a clean kitchen towel to drain.

4. To serve, top each muffin half with some of the vegetable mixture, an egg, a sprinkling of cheese and the remaining basil.

Nutrition Information:

Per serving:329 calories; 14 g fat (4 g sat, 6 g mono); 425 mg cholesterol; 31 g carbohydrate; 22 g protein; 5 g fiber; 675 mg sodium; 570 mg potassium.

More Healthy Egg Recipes & Cooking Tips

© 2009 Eating Well Inc.