Eggs, Eggs, Eggs
This post is an installment in our 52 Health Hinges series. Remember, “Small hinges swing big doors.”
Eggs are one of my favorite foods. I’ve even heard them referred to as “the perfect food.”
Quality, pastured eggs are a one-stop-shop of protein and beneficial fats, vitamins, and antioxidants.
That said, remember that eggs are also one of the top triggers for those with food sensitivities.
Let’s dig into both sides of the story. (And you can find Part 2 of this miniseries here, where I talk about cracking the code on egg eco-labeling.)
Sunny Side Up: The Benefits of Eggs
Eggs are an amazing, nutrient-dense food, providing 13 essential nutrients.
Here’s a long list of reasons to love pasture-raised eggs:
- They’re a great source of protein, beneficial fats, and antioxidants that contribute to a healthy immune system.
- The choline supports brain health, increasing concentration and memory.
- Eggs can also decrease your risk for heart attacks and stroke thanks to the anti-clotting agent found in yolks. (Yes, I know this is contrary to everything we’ve been taught about eggs and cholesterol/heart disease.)
- The lutein and zeaxanthin found in eggs can help prevent macular degeneration and eye cataracts.
- Eggs are rich in iodine, a critical thyroid-supportive nutrient.
- The phosphorus is essential for healthy bones and teeth.
- Eggs are an ancient fertility food – all sex hormones are made from cholesterol. You read that right – all of our reproductive hormones.
- Benefits continue throughout pregnancy, with eggs supplying cholesterol, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals to support fetus development. (While pregnant, you cannot eat too many egg yolks!)
- Egg yolk is a great first food for baby (introduced around 6 months), to supply both choline and cholesterol to the developing brain and nervous system of the baby. (Don’t include the egg white; it contains avidin, a protein that’s difficult to digest and may cause allergic reactions. Stick to the yolk.)
On the Flip Side
Given all of these benefits, for some people, eggs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
As I’ve mentioned before, eggs are one of the top food sensitivities. So eggs can be a healthful, healing food to one person (like me), and an inflammatory, damaging food to another (like Jill G.).
For instance, a 1968 study revealed that a sensitivity to eggs is a leading cause of gallstones. The study, led by Dr. James Breneman, found that 100% of a group of 69 gallbladder patients were free of gallbladder pain when they removed their individual food sensitivities. The primary foods producing the painful attacks were eggs (92.8%), pork (63.8%), onions (52.2%), chicken and turkey (34.8%), milk (24.6%), coffee (21.7%), and oranges (18.8%). (Some patients reacted to more than one food, thus the reason the percentages surpass 100%.)
The patients who identified and eliminated their food sensitivities avoided gallbladder removal surgery.
This is a great example of how:
1) One person’s medicine is another’s poison, and
2) What you put in your body matters!
Friend or Foe?
So how do you know which side of the fence you’re on? Are eggs beneficial or harmful to you?
The best method is to do an elimination/provocation diet, where you eliminate potential food allergens for 3 weeks.
(As completely life-changing as this experiment is, I’ll admit that it can be challenging. If you’d like support getting through it and finally getting to the root of what’s going on inside your body, this detective work is something I most enjoy working with clients on. You can schedule an Introductory Session with me here.)
P.S. Next week, I’ll share some tips on how to “crack the code” on choosing the best eggs. (Oct. 21 update: Part 2, Cracking the Code >)
P.P.S. Are you making egg white scrambles because of the decades-old egg-demonizing in regard to cholesterol? In short, you needn’t fear the yolk. I’ll dig into this elephant in the chicken yard in more detail in a future article.