It’s confusing. Many consider eggs to be the perfect food, but they also recommended that you eat them in limited amounts. One day you hear that eggs are dangerous because they increase cholesterol and that you shouldn’t eat them more than once or twice a week. The next day you hear they’re not only safe, they’re good for you and you can eat them daily with safety. Well, which is it? The answer may surprise you.
An Israeli researcher, Dr. Niva Shapira at Tel Aviv University, found that some eggs are healthful while others can contribute to heart disease. It all depends on what the chickens have eaten.
The seeds and grains that chicken feed contains are rich in oils. But the composition of the oil can vary considerably. Most of the oils in commercial feed are high in omega-6 fatty acids. This is because the seeds and grains are less expensive. The problem is that these fats contribute to oxidized cholesterol — the most dangerous kind of cholesterol that forms plaque in our arteries. But some chickens eat a diet low in omega-6 and higher in omega-3 fats. While their feed is more expensive, their eggs contain less of the harmful cholesterol.
In Dr. Shapira’s study, young hens that did not have exposure to a diet high in omega-6 fats ate a diet low in omega-6 fats and high in antioxidants. Dr. Shapira’s research team then compared their eggs to commercial eggs. Shapira found that eating two eggs a day high in omega-3 fats was similar to eating two to four commercial eggs per week! In fact, these commercial eggs — the very ones most people have for breakfast — resulted in 40% more oxidized cholesterol.
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So if you want to eat more of this perfect food, choose eggs high in protein and beneficial fats — if you can. Choose eggs marked “High in Omega 3” or Organic Eggs. In both cases, the chickens have not eaten commercial feed. You’ll have more luck finding them in health food stores than in commercial supermarkets. They’re a little more expensive than commercial eggs. But they’re much healthier.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
American Friends of Tel Aviv University (2011, August 2). Can eggs be a healthy breakfast choice? ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 16, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110802162807.htm.