Eggs are usually the most obvious answer to the “What’s for breakfast?” question and I tend to get very creative (not as creative as the Homer Simpson eggs in the picture above, but you know what I mean) with my eggs and eat them at least three times a week . I mean who doesn’t love a nice omelet, right?
I’m sure you have heard time and time again that you should be careful how many eggs you eat because they contain loads of cholesterol. I have even read at some point that you should limit consumption of eggs to once a week. If that’s the case, then my cholesterol levels are probably through the roof. Fortunately, in light of recent research, eggs have been proven to be not so bad or even good for you.
When it comes to eggs, we have been told for many years that they contain bad cholesterol and when it comes to the amount of cholesterol consumed we really need to be careful because it can put you at risk for cardiovascular diseases. Turns out that our bodies are even more complex than we can comprehend and the liver plays a role in regulating cholesterol levels in the body. Apparently when we consume less dietary cholesterol the liver produces cholesterol to compensate. If we consume more cholesterol our liver says “hey what’s going on here? you are eating too many eggs” and so it produces less cholesterol.
Now don’t get me wrong, this does not mean that you should go all out on foods high in cholesterol but it does mean that it’s not as bad for you as it was previously believed to be; well, that is until new research comes out saying that it is.
I’m sure you are wondering “if cholesterol is so bad, then why does the body produce more of it?” Again, in light of recent research, cholesterol has been shown to act as an antioxidant that works against dangerous free radical in your blood. It also produces certain hormones that prevent cardiovascular diseases. Recent research also shows that cholesterol helps combat undesirable substances in the blood which is a direct result of consuming processed foods and large quantities of sugars. So when we consume more of this processed garbage the liver produces more cholesterol to help fight off these dangerous substances. These dangerous substances known as free radicals result in small holes in your arteries and guess who comes to the rescue? you got it LDL-Cholesterol comes to the scene to path up these holes. When the holes get out of hand because of the many toxins we consume the number of patched up holes accumulate and result in buildups of scar tissue that can block our arteries and hence result in cardiovascular disease. This is a very simplistic explanation of how this happens and I urge you to read this essay titled “The war on dietary cholesterol” that has a beautiful simplistic explanation of the science behind it all. You will come to know that blaming cholesterol for cardiovascular disease is like blaming a fire on the firemen that came to put it out.
By now I know you must be thinking “What’s the bottom line here and how much can I safely consume?” Well to be on the safe side, I would recommend doing your own research and staying within the limits which is about 300 mg. of cholesterol per day for healthy people (about two in terms of eggs). If you have diabetes or any form of cardiovascular disease, then limit your intake to less than 200 mg. per day (one in terms of eggs) and if you want more then consider eating the whites only because it doesn’t contain cholesterol.
So, it seems like the answer to improving your health is not avoiding omelets and not necessarily decreasing dietary cholesterol intake, but rather improving your overall diet by eating the recommended daily allowances, avoiding processed foods and trans fats. Combine this with exercise and you are good to go.
If you want more information, you can check out this article or the associated research which talks about the same subject.
Do you eat lots of eggs too? leave me a comment and let me know what your thoughts are