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5 Smart Reasons to Enjoy Eggs Morning, Noon, or Night

By Dayle Hayes, MS, RD

According to USDA 2009 data, Montana led the nation in average number of eggs produced per layer at 305, 14 percent above the national average of 268 eggs per layer. “With all the interest in local foods, it’s good to know that our chickens are so productive,” says Lynn Paul, PhD, RD (registered dietitian), Food and Nutrition Specialist with MSU Extension in Bozeman. “Enjoying a few more eggs from a local producer may be a good thing for the health of Montana families. Sadly, a few long-held nutrition myths have kept many folks from enjoying the benefits of versatile, nutrient-rich eggs.”

For forty years, eggs have been burdened with a bad reputation based on cholesterol. While one yolk does contain 210 milligrams of dietary cholesterol, eggs do not raise the blood cholesterol levels of most people. Current guidelines suggest that healthy people can eat one to two eggs daily, if they keep their fat and saturated fat intake at moderate levels. If cholesterol must be limited, two egg whites can be substituted for one whole egg in most recipes.

Here’s the sunny side to eggs - an inexpensive, nutrient-rich way to start or finish your day!

1. Healthy hearts
Many large studies from around the world have confirmed that eating eggs does not raise the risk of heart disease in most people. Some of the nutrients in eggs, such as B-vitamins, are actually beneficial for heart health. The bigger concern is all the foods that typically surround eggs, like large portions of bacon, sausage, biscuits, and gravy.

2. Healthy weights
An egg contains only 70 calories and has 6 grams of high quality protein that can help you feel fuller and satisfied longer. People who eat eggs in the morning tend to feel fuller and to eat less at lunch those who breakfast on muffins or bagels. Hard-boiled eggs make a satisfying and nutritious snack - mid-morning or mid-afternoon.

3. Healthy muscles
Egg protein can also help active adults build muscle strength and prevent muscle loss in older adults. There’s no need for those expensive protein powders or drinks. Simple scrambled or poached eggs make a quick, easy, and very tasty meal for older folks or busy families. Low in cost and easy to chew, eggs are popular with people of all ages.

4. Healthy eyes
Here’s another reason to think eggs as we age. Egg yolks are a source of lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that help keep eyes healthy and vision sharp. Both nutrients have been linked to a lower risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Lutein and zeaxanthin seem to be more easily absorbed from eggs than other foods or pills.

5. Healthy pregnancies
Egg nutrients may also be helpful very early in life. Egg yolks are also an excellent source of choline, an essential nutrient that contributes to fetal brain development and helps prevent birth defects. Two eggs provide about 250 milligrams of choline, or about half of the recommended daily choline intake for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Dayle HayesDayle Hayes, MS, RD
Author, Speaker, and Nutrition Therapist

Dayle Hayes is a registered dietitian committed to innovative, delicious nutrition solutions for busy families. As a consultant to Billings Clinic, she specializes in positive nutrition tips, eating disorders, and sports nutrition. Dayle graduated from U. Mass-Boston and received a Masters of Science in Community Health Education from U. Mass-Amherst.
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