Are Egg Yolks Healthy?

Ordering “egg whites only” may not be best for your health.

Are eggs healthy?Egg photo via Shutterstock

 

We are always being told about the foods that we shouldn’t eat. For a change of pace, here is one food that you thought you couldn’t eat but should: egg yolks.

Eggs, particularly the yolk, are packed with nutrients. One egg has 13 essential vitamins and minerals, lots of protein, unsaturated fats and antioxidants. And all that nutrition is only around 70 calories. The nutrients found in eggs can help manage weight, build lean body mass, improve eye health and brain function and contribute to a healthy pregnancy. So why do eggs get such a bad rep?

Eggs are vilified because of the large amount of cholesterol contained in the yolk. It is widely believed that dietary cholesterol negatively impacts serum cholesterol (the total level of cholesterol in the blood stream). A study by Harvard that looked at more than 100,000 individuals from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-1994) and the Nurses’ Health Study (1980-1994), found that one egg a day is unlikely to have a substantial impact on cardiovascular disease in healthy men and women. The key word here is “healthy” so if you are at risk for cardiovascular disease, or have diabetes, then there is good reason to toss the yolks and switch to egg whites. Otherwise, you are just wasting good-for-you nutrients. It is also important to note that the recommendation is just one egg a day, or seven per week. Eating more than this can increase the risk for heart disease.

While the cholesterol in eggs does not have a significant impact on heart disease for healthy individuals, the same can not be said for the saturated fat found in the butter you use to fry the eggs. Healthy foods can become unhealthy meals fast when paired with the wrong choices. For example, an omelet with spinach, onion, tomato and mushrooms cooked with a bit of canola oil and a side of fruit is a much different breakfast than eggs fried in butter with bacon and home fries.

So, enjoy the whole egg, but be mindful of how they prepared. Here is a vegetable frittata recipe that can be made in advance and frozen. For single-size servings, try making this recipe in muffin tins. You can freeze your mini-frittatas and reheat over the course of several weeks.

Veggie Frittata Recipe

Ingredients:

-1 cup of fresh or frozen broccoli (thawed)

-1 cup of fresh or frozen spinach (thawed)

-1 cup diced tomato

-1/2 onion chopped

-2 organic chicken sausage sliced (optional)

-12 eggs

Directions:

Spray an oven safe dish with nonstick spray. Place vegetables in dish. Sauté the chopped onions in one tablespoon of olive or canola oil. Sautéing the onions first will soften them and bring out their natural sweetness. Mix the onions and sliced chicken sausage in with the vegetables. Mix the eggs in a separate bowl until thoroughly mixed and pour over the vegetables (the vegetables will cook down significantly so the egg does not need to cover them completely). Finally, bake the entire dish at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes (or until the eggs are firm).

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  • Claire Santos

    Mahalo, Ayla…
    The egg has gone in & out of ‘fashion’ so often that its place in our diet has gotten confused. Thanks for bringing clarity to the situation.
    Can’t wait to try the recipe, and to freeze some. I’m big on making big recipes & freezing some for when I’m too tired to cook. Please keep them coming!
    I shared your article on my page.
    Claire