The Sunny Side of Eggs

eggsDespite decades of advice that the cholesterol in eggs is bad for you, researchers now report evidence that eggs might actually reduce high blood pressure.

The scientists found egg proteins that, in laboratory simulations of the human digestive process, seem to be as good as common prescription medications for lowering blood pressure.

However, it should be noted that funding for the research came from livestock and poultry industry groups. And the researchers emphasized that further study is needed to determine if the proteins actually work in humans.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Eggs are one of the healthiest foods you can eat, and it’s a shame they’ve been vilified for so long in the United States. As a result, egg consumption has been going down for the last 40 years, all because of concerns about cholesterol.

But the idea that eggs are unhealthy is a complete myth, one that’s easily debunked if you look at the evidence.

In this latest study, researchers identified several different peptides in eggs that act as potent ACE inhibitors, which are drugs used to lower high blood pressure. This means they may actually lower your risk of heart disease, not raise it as health officials like to say they do.

One particularly skewed belief is that eggs are bad for your heart; however, eating eggs on a daily basis may prove to hold numerous health benefits, especially a decreased risk of heart disease.

Why Eggs Won’t Harm Your Heart

There is a major misconception that you must avoid foods like eggs and saturated fat to protect your heart. While it’s true that fats from animal sources contain cholesterol, this is not necessarily something that will harm you.

Cholesterol is in every cell in your body, where it helps to produce cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and bile acids that help you to digest fat. Cholesterol also helps in the formation of memories and is vital for your neurological function.

As Ron Rosedale, MD, who is widely considered to be the leading anti-aging doctor in the United States, says:

“First and foremost cholesterol is a vital component of every cell membrane on Earth. In other words, there is no life on Earth that can live without cholesterol. That will automatically tell you that, in of itself, it cannot be evil. In fact it is one of our best friends.

We would not be here without it. No wonder lowering cholesterol too much increases one's risk of dying. Cholesterol also is a precursor to all of the steroid hormones. You cannot make estrogen, testosterone, cortisone, and a host of other vital hormones without cholesterol.”

In other words, cholesterol is your friend, not your enemy.

And anyway, numerous studies have supported the finding that eggs have virtually nothing to do with raising your cholesterol. For instance, research published in the International Journal of Cardiology showed that, in healthy adults, eating eggs every day did not produce:

• A negative effect on endothelial function, an aggregate measure of cardiac risk
• An increase in cholesterol levels

So how did the notion that eating eggs will raise your cholesterol, and in turn raise your risk of heart disease, come about in the first place?

The Misguided Lipid Hypothesis … and its Role in Demonizing the Egg

This misguided principle is based on the "lipid hypothesis" -- developed in the 1950s by nutrition pioneer Ancel Keys -- that linked dietary fat to coronary heart disease.

The nutrition community of that time completely accepted the hypothesis, and encouraged the public to cut out butter, red meat, animal fats, eggs, dairy and other "artery clogging" fats from their diets -- a radical change at that time.

What you may not know is that when Keys published his analysis that claimed to prove the link between dietary fats and coronary heart disease, he selectively analyzed information from only six countries to prove his correlation, rather than comparing all the data available at the time -- from 22 countries.

As a result of this "cherry-picked" data, government health organizations began bombarding the public with advice that has contributed to many of the disease epidemics going on today: eat a low-fat diet.

Not surprisingly, numerous studies have actually shown that Keys’ theory was wrong and foods like eggs are healthy, including this study from Sally Fallon and Mary Enig’s classic article The Skinny on Fats.

• A survey of South Carolina adults found no correlation of blood cholesterol levels with "bad" dietary habits, such as use of red meat, animal fats, fried foods, butter, eggs, whole milk, bacon, sausage and cheese.

Sadly, as Americans cut out nutritious animal foods like eggs from their diets, they were left hungry. So they began eating more processed grains, more vegetable oils, and more high-fructose corn syrup, all of which are nutritional disasters.

It is this latter type of diet that will actually lead to increased inflammation, and therefore cholesterol, in your body. So don’t let anyone scare you away from eggs (and other animal foods) anymore.

But Wait … The Type of Egg DOES Matter

Eggs are an incredible source of high-quality nutrients that many of us are deficient in -- especially high-quality protein and fat. And it is my strong belief that they are a nearly ideal fuel source for most of us.

One caveat: Please choose the higher quality free-range organic varieties. An egg is considered organic if the chicken was only fed organic food, which means it will not have accumulated high levels of pesticides from the grains (mostly GM corn) fed to typical chickens.

Organic eggs are also far less likely to be contaminated with salmonella.

Are Omega-3 Eggs Any Better?

As for eggs advertised as having omega-3 fat added, this may not be as good as the manufacturers are leading you to believe. If they are using flaxseed to increase the omega-3 fats in the eggs, it won't be as beneficial as if they fed the chickens seaweed or kelp, which have the far more beneficial DHA and EPA, as opposed to ALA in flax.

Also, typically the chickens are fed poor-quality sources of omega-3 fats that are already oxidized. Additionally, omega-3 eggs are far more perishable than non-omega-3 eggs so they don’t stay fresh nearly as long.

If possible, I recommend purchasing your eggs from the farmer directly, as this way you can be certain of the quality. If you cannot find a farmer to sell you eggs directly, then organic eggs from the store would be your next best option.

To find free-range pasture farms you can try asking at your local health food store or visit:

When you get your eggs home, store them on the counter instead of in the refrigerator, as this will help protect the nutrients. Although this is regarded as a “strange” practice in the United States, eggs are always stored at room temperature in Europe or South America.

The Absolute BEST Way to Eat Your Eggs Is …

Raw, hands down.  I know that many of you, especially women, will find this particularly difficult to accept. This is primarily because of the slimy texture but if you whip them up in a shake you won’t even know they are there.

Raw eggs are better because cooking them will damage the valuable nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin, bioflavanoids present in egg yolk that are incredibly important for your vision.

Heating the egg protein also changes its chemical shape, and the distortion can easily lead to allergies.

Further, when an egg is overcooked, such as when it is scrambled, the cholesterol in it becomes oxidized, or rancid, and oxidized cholesterol can increase your levels of inflammation and lead to numerous health problems.

So if you want to get the maximum health benefits that eggs have to offer, choose organic varieties and eat them raw. The next best would be soft-boiled and then sunny-side up, with the yolk still very runny.

If you are worried about getting salmonella from eating raw eggs, as many people initially are, please read my past article on the topic -- Raw Eggs for Your Health -- to address your concerns. The risk is actually very, very small.