Proven Health Benefits of Eating Eggs

Eggs are one of the few foods that should be classified as “superfoods.” They are loaded with nutrients, some of which are rare in the modern diet. Here are 9 health benefits of eggs that have been confirmed in human studies.

Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet.

A whole egg contains all the nutrients required to turn a single cell into a baby chicken.

A single large boiled egg contains (1, 2):

  • Vitamin A: 8% of the DV (daily value)
  • Folate: 6% of the DV
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5): 14% of the DV
  • Vitamin B12: 23% of the DV
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 20% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 7% of the DV
  • Selenium: 28% of the DV
  • Eggs also contain decent amounts of vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B6, calcium and zinc

This comes with 78 calories, 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat.

Eggs also contain various trace nutrients that are important for health.

In fact, eggs are pretty much the perfect food. They contain a little bit of almost every nutrient you need.

If you can get your hands on pastured or omega-3 enriched eggs, these are even more nutrient dense. They contain higher amounts of omega-3 fat and are much higher in vitamin A and E (2, 3).

Summary

Whole eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet, containing a little bit of almost every nutrient you need. Omega-3 enriched and/or pastured eggs contain more of certain nutrients.

It is true that eggs are high in cholesterol. In fact, a single egg contains 186 mg (1).

However, it’s important to keep in mind that cholesterol in the diet may not necessarily have an impact on blood cholesterol levels or risk of heart disease (5, 6, 7).

The liver actually produces large amounts of cholesterol every single day. In fact, when you eat more cholesterol, your liver has the ability to regulate cholesterol levels by producing less to even it out (5, 7).

Nevertheless, the response to eating eggs varies between individuals (8):

  • In 70% of people, eating cholesterol may not raise blood cholesterol or only mildly raise it (termed “hypo responders”)
  • In the other 30% of the population (termed “hyper responders”), eggs or other sources of dietary cholesterol may lead to a large rise in blood cholesterol

However, people with genetic disorders like familial hypercholesterolemia or carriers of a gene variant called APOE4 may want to consider eating eggs in moderation.

Summary

Eggs are high in cholesterol, but eating eggs does not adversely affect cholesterol in the blood for the majority of people.

HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. It is often known as the “good” cholesterol (9).

People who have higher levels of HDL usually have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and other health problems (10, 11, 12).

Eating eggs is a great way to increase HDL. In one study, eating 1-3 eggs daily for four weeks increased HDL levels by 6-13% in young, healthy adults (13, 14, 15).

Summary

Eating eggs consistently leads to elevated levels of HDL (the “good”) cholesterol, which which has historically been linked to a lower risk of many diseases.

Choline is a nutrient that most people don’t even know exists, yet it is an incredibly important substance and is often grouped with the B vitamins.

Choline is used to build cell membranes and has a role in producing signaling molecules in the brain, along with various other functions (16).

The symptoms of choline deficiency are serious, so fortunately it’s rare in most healthy, non-pregnant people, mainly because the body makes choline.

Whole eggs are an excellent source of choline. A single egg contains more than 100 mg of this very important nutrient.

Summary

Eggs are among the best dietary sources of choline, a nutrient that is incredibly important but most people aren’t getting enough of.

LDL cholesterol is generally known as the “bad” cholesterol.

It is well known that having high levels of LDL is linked to an increased risk of heart disease (17, 18).

But many people don’t realize that LDL is divided into subtypes based on the size of the particles.

There are small, dense LDL particles and large LDL particles.

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 (19, 20).

Even if eggs tend to mildly raise LDL cholesterol in some people, it is thought that eating eggs tend to mainly increase large (or “more buoyant”) LDL levels instead of the small, dense LDL particles, which may explain the association with reduced risk of heart disease (21, 22).

However, some recent studies have found egg consumption to be linked with increased risk of death from heart disease, so the research is mixed and more randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm benefits of egg consumption to heart health (23, 24, 25).

Summary

Egg consumption appears to change the pattern of LDL particles from small, dense LDL (bad) to large LDL, which is linked to a reduced heart disease risk. But more research is needed.

One of the consequences of aging is that eyesight tends to get worse.

There are several nutrients that help counteract some of the degenerative processes that can affect our eyes.

Two of these are called lutein and zeaxanthin. They are powerful antioxidants that accumulate in the retina of the eye (25, 26).

Studies show that consuming adequate amounts of these nutrients can significantly reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, two very common eye disorders (28, 29).

Egg yolks contain large amounts of both lutein and zeaxanthin.

In one older study, eating 1 egg daily for 5 weeks increased blood levels of lutein by 26% and zeaxanthin by 38% in older adults (30).

Eggs are also high in vitamin A, which deserves another mention here. Vitamin A deficiency is the most common cause of blindness in the world (31).

Summary

The antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are very important for eye health and can help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. Eggs are good sources of both antioxidants.

Not all eggs are created equal. Their nutrient composition varies depending on how the hens were fed and raised.

Eggs from hens that were raised on pasture and/or fed omega-3 enriched feeds tend to be much higher in omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce blood levels of triglycerides, a well known risk factor for heart disease (32, 33).

Studies show that consuming omega-3 enriched eggs is a very effective way to lower blood triglycerides. In one older study, eating just five omega-3 enriched eggs per week for three weeks reduced triglycerides by 16–18% (34).

More recently, a small 2020 study of 20 participants found eating 2 omega-3 enriched eggs daily for five weeks reduced triglycerides by 10% (35).

Summary

Omega-3 enriched and pastured eggs may contain significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Eating these types of eggs is an effective way to reduce blood triglycerides.

Proteins are the main building blocks of the human body.

They’re used to make all sorts of tissues and molecules that serve both structural and functional purposes.

Getting enough protein in the diet is very important and studies show that currently recommended amounts may be too low (36, 37).

Eggs are an excellent source of protein, with a single large egg containing six grams of it.

Eggs also contain all the essential amino acids in the right ratios, so your body is well-equipped to make full use of the protein in them.

Eating enough protein can help with weight loss, increase muscle mass, lower blood pressure and optimize bone health, to name a few (38, 39, 40, 41).

Summary

Eggs are fairly high in quality animal protein and contain all the essential amino acids that humans need.

Eggs are incredibly filling. They are a high-protein food, and protein is, by far, the most satiating macronutrient (42, 43, 44).

Eggs score high on a scale called the satiety index, which measures the ability of foods to cause feelings of fullness and reduce later calorie intake (45).

In one study of 50 overweight and obese adults, eating eggs and toast instead of cereal and milk with orange juice decreased feelings of hunger following the meal, prolonged the period of not being hungry and made them eat ~180 calories less at lunch 4 hours later (46).

In another study, eating eggs was associated with a 38% lower risk of excessive body fat and a 34% lower risk of central obesity, or visceral fat around your abdomen area, which is a known risk factor for metabolic syndrome (47).

Summary

Eggs are highly satiating and may reduce calorie intake later in the day. Regularly eating eggs may promote weight loss.

Studies clearly show that eating up to three whole eggs per day is perfectly safe.

There is no evidence that going beyond that is harmful — it is just “uncharted territory,” as it hasn’t been studied.

Eggs are pretty much nature’s perfect food.

On top of everything else, they are also cheap, easy to prepare, go with almost any food and taste awesome.

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