Eggs might just be the easiest, cheapest and most versatile way to up your protein intake. Beyond easily upping your daily protein count—each 85-calorie egg packs a solid 7 grams of the muscle-builder—eggs also improve your health. They’re loaded with amino acids, antioxidants, and healthy fats. Don’t just reach for the whites, though; the yolks boast a fat-fighting nutrient called choline, so opting for whole eggs can actually help you trim down.
When you’re shopping for eggs, pay attention to the labels. You should opt for organic, when possible. These are certified by the USDA and are free from antibiotics, vaccines and hormones. As for color, that’s your call. The difference in color just varies based on the type of chicken—they both have the same nutritional value, says Molly Morgan, RD, a board certified sports specialist dietician based in upstate New York. Below, we’ve rounded up the 12 incredible effects adding the mighty egg to your diet can have on the human body.
Boost Your Immune System
If you don’t want to play chicken with infections, viruses, and diseases, add an egg or two to your diet daily. Just one large egg contains almost a quarter (22%) of your RDA of selenium, a nutrient that helps support your immune system and regulate thyroid hormones. Kids should eat eggs, especially. If children and adolescents don’t get enough selenium, they could develop Keshan disease and Kashin-Beck disease, two conditions that can affect the heart, bones, and joints.
You’ll Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease
Not only have eggs been found to not increase risk of coronary heart disease, but they might actually decrease your risk. LDL cholesterol became known as “bad” cholesterol because LDL particles transport their fat molecules into artery walls, and drive atherosclerosis: basically, the gumming up of the arteries. (HDL particles, by contrast, can remove fat molecules from artery walls.) But not all LDL particles are made equal, and there are various subtypes that differ in size. Bigger is definitely better — many studies have shown that people who have predominantly small, dense LDL particles have a higher risk of heart disease than people who have mostly large LDL particles. Here’s the best part: Even if eggs tend to raise LDL cholesterol in some people, studies show that the LDL particles change from small and dense to large, slashing the risk of cardiovascular problems.
You’ll Protect Your Brain
Eggs are brain food. That’s largely because of an essential nutrient called choline. It’s a component of cell membranes and is required to synthesize acetylcholine: a neurotransmitter. Studies show that a lack of choline has been linked to neurological disorders and decreased cognitive function. Shockingly, more than 90% of Americans eat less than the daily recommended amount of choline, according to a U.S. dietary survey.
You’ll Improve Your Bones and Teeth
Eggs are one of the few natural sources of Vitamin D, which is important for the health and strength of bones and teeth. It does this primarily by aiding the absorption of calcium. (Calcium, incidentally, is important for a healthy heart, colon and metabolism.)
You’ll Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Another side effect of choline deficiency and the subsequent accumulation of hepatic lipid is an increase in your risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
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