It’s not surprising that eggs are enjoying a renewed status in the eyes of many health conscious people. They are nutritional dynamos containing almost every essential vitamin and mineral necessary for humans, yet they
only have about 75 calories, and can be a significant source of omega-3 oils.
Many egg companies are now feeding their hens a special diet to increase the amount of omega-3 oils in their eggs. The specially fed hens produce eggs with an omega-3 content three to six times (approximately 100-200 mg per egg) more than that of a regular egg. This special diet is composed of a mixture of feeds including ingredients such as: flaxseed, marine algae, fish, safflower oil, and fish oil. The human body cannot manufacture omega-3’s, they must be acquired from food or supplements. Remember though that in order to reap the benefits of the omega-3 oils in eggs one must eat the yolk, because that is where the omega-3’s are found.
You might be thinking: “eggs might have a lot of health benefits, but what about all the cholesterol?” Well, although eggsdo contain cholesterol, research indicates that dietary cholesterol has little impact on blood cholesterol in healthy people. Cholesterol is divided into two types: High-density Lipoproteins (HDL, or “good” cholesterol), and Low-density Lipoproteins (LDL or “bad” cholesterol). Eating eggs enriched with omega-3 might actually help to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. Cholesterol is necessary for life it is not a toxic substance. It is necessary in the building and maintenance of cell membranes; it helps strengthen them, repair them and helps them maintain their fluidity. Cholesterol is also used to grow and maintain brain and nerve tissue. It is found throughout the body. It is essential in the formation of bile salts (which are necessary for fat digestion) and it is involved in the body’s manufacture of several hormones including adrenal and reproductive hormones. It is even the raw material from which vitamin D is made.
Omega-6, Omega-3 Ratio
Most people seem to think that omega-6 fats are bad and omega-3 fats are good, but that is not true. The fact is that the body needs both of these polyunsaturated fats. Both of these fats are necessary to good health, they complement each other in supporting vital body functions. The problem is that the typical American diet contains about 20 times as much omega-3 fats as it does omega-3 fats. The most desirable ratio is about 4:1, So the problem is that we don’t consume enough omega 3’s, and we consume far too many omega-6’s. The more omega-6’s you consume the less the body is able to utilize the omega-3’s you consume. How do we get so many omega-6 oils in our diet? Well, some of the most plentiful sources of omega-6 fats in our diet are from refined vegetable oils (soy oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, etc.) that are found in margarine. Also most fast foods, and foods like as biscuits, cake, pizza, and quick snacks like store bought dips, potato chips and pretzels contain an overabundance of omega-6 fats.
The overabundance of omega-6 fats in our diet causes inflammation in our bodies. One of the areas that this inflammation plays a significant role is in the buildup of plaque in the coronary artery. The plaque narrows or completely blocks the artery, resulting in a heart attack. Too much omega-6 in the body also makes the blood platelets more sticky, which causes blood clots. These clots can get large enough to have catastrophic effects, they can block blood flow to the brain causing a stroke, the heart causing a heart attack, or even the lungs (Pulmonary Embolism causing breathing problems. They can even cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT) which are clots usually found in the lower legs and thighs.
Benefits Of Omega-3 Fats
…keep platelets less sticky acting like an anticoagulant (blood thinner) and decreasing the risk of blood clot formation, helping to protect against heart attack, stroke and DVT
…may protect against the accumulation of a protein thought to be associated with Alzheimer’s
…Lowers the risk of an initial heart attack by 20-40 percent, and the risk of dying suddenly during and post heart attack by 20-40 percent
…help reduce the risk of cancer and my help to inhibit it’s growth
…Omega 3’s can help us reduce fat and maintain a leaner healthier body
…contribute to eye health (a significant cause of Macular Degeneration is the lack of Omega 3 oils in the diet.
…help fight depression, anxiety
…help to lessen tendencies toward impulsiveness or aggression
…help to control hormone levels
…can help control the inflammation of arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases
Even More Nutrients
Eggs also contain lutein and zeaxanthin. These are carotenoids that reduce risk of cataracts and age related macular degeneration. Although egg yolks contain much less lutein than spinach, the lutein in eggs is in a form that is much more available to the body.
They are also an excellent source of choline, which is essential for the function of all the cells in the human body, and are also a respectable source of folate, iron, riboflavin, vitamins D, E and B 12. In addition to all of this eggs are also an excellent source of protein!
There is no question that eggs are beneficial to your health. So if you haven’t done so already, it is time to revisit this little nutritional dynamo!