Go ahead and scramble those eggs, yolk and all–there’s new evidence that it may lower your risk of heart disease.
Two new studies from the University of Connecticut recently presented at the Experimental Biology conference found that eating eggs actually improved cholesterol levels and reduced disease-producing inflammation in the body.
In one study, researchers asked participants following a carbohydrate-restricted diet to eat three whole eggs per day while another group ate an equivalent amount of egg substitute. After 12 weeks, the whole egg group experienced increases in levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, from 50 mg/dL to 59 mg/dL. (Doctors say men should aim for HDL levels over 40 mg/dL.) Their LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels didn’t change at all. (For more delicious, belly-filling foods, click here!)
How? Lecithin, a substance found in the egg yolk, might increase HDL cholesterol. “Lecithin helps remove cholesterol from tissue and transport it to the liver, so it doesn’t build up in blood vessels,” says study coauthor Maria Luz Fernandez, Ph.D., a nutrition professor at the University of Connecticut.
In a second similar study, people on a carbohydrate-restricted diet with metabolic disease who ate three eggs for 12 weeks showed a decrease in inflammatory markers in the body, suggesting that their risk for heart disease dropped. Lutein, an antioxidant caroteinoid found in the yolk, likely helped reduce this inflammation, says Fernandez. (Sick of plain ol’ scrambled eggs? Whip up this easy recipe for Deviled Eggs with a Dash of Curry.)
Though both studies were done on people on restricted-carbohydrate diets, Fernandez says that you could expect similar benefits by making eggs part of a regular healthy diet.
“People are concerned that eating eggs causes heart disease but they really do the opposite,” says Fernandez. Whip up one of these Healthy Egg Recipes for breakfast tomorrow!