Over the years there have been several health scares concerning hen’s eggs. The two main concerns have been Salmonellosis, food poisoning caused by the Salmonella bacteria and those of cholesterol. Other concerns are that because of the cholesterol in eggs, eating them could increase the risks of heart disease and strokes.
The Salmonella bacteria can be found in eggs that are clean and uncracked as well as damaged ones, but cooking eggs well will kill the bacteria. If you eat raw eggs, then make sure they are organic as these have less risk of contamination, especially if they are from your own hens which have been fed on flax seeds which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Having a fried egg sunny-side up is perhaps not such a good idea, but a hard boiled, scrambled or poached eggs shouldn’t harm you.
As for higher cholesterol levels way back in 2007, the British Heart Foundation dropped its former advice to limit your egg consumption to three a week, after new evidence should that the cholesterol in an egg yolk, actually doesn’t increase blood cholesterol by any significant amount. However, the general public is slow to accept that what was once deemed harmful may not necessarily have been so.
In February 2009 Professor Bruce Griffin, of the University of Surrey research team, which had investigated the consumption of eggs said that they are “one of nature’s most nutritionally dense foods” and went on to say that they are a key part of a healthy diet as they are packed with nutrients.
What is a more of a problem for cholesterol levels are the trans fats and saturated fats in people’s diets. So, if you cook your eggs in healthy oil, then you should be fine. The only people who are not recommended to eat them are diabetics and those with existing cardio-vascular diseases. It is generally accepted in medical circles now that people on a low-fat diet can eat one or two eggs a day without adversely affecting their blood cholesterol levels.
In fact eggs are a good source of choline which is lacking in so many Westerners diets. This has positive effects on the brain and memory and on the central nervous system and heart health as it converts homocysteine, which can damage blood vessels into benign substances along with vitamin B12 which is also present in eggs. Choline is necessary for the development of a fetus’ brain so good during pregnancy.
An average large hen’s egg contains 212 milligrams of cholesterol according to the Harvard School of Public Health, and a healthy adult can eat 300 mgs a day, so if you are worried about your cholesterol intake, then limit the amount of dairy foods and red meat you have on days that you eat eggs. However, as eggs are packed with amino acids, vitamins and minerals (they are a good source of selenium) then unless you have an allergy to them, you can include them in your diet without having adverse health effects, if you are a healthy individual.
Eggs also contain lutein and zeaxanthin which help to protect the eyes from age-related macular degeneration and the beat-carotene present in them also help protect the retina. Some studies have shown that they are also good for a weight-loss diet as they supply protein and contain only good fats. They are also a good source of molybdenum and contain iodine and chromium, as well as calcium and iron, among other minerals.
The verdict is that you can eat eggs safely if you are a healthy person, and to avoid salmonella poisoning, you should thoroughly clean cooking utensils and kitchen counters that have come into contact with a raw one. Don’t pig out on them as with everything else, eat them in moderation, if only to have variety in your diet.