Why You Should Hatch a Plan to Eat More Eggs
Versatile, quick, and loaded with health benefits, eggs make a fantastic addition to your diet.
I grew up avoiding whole eggs. My grandmother had her first heart attack before she turned 50, which put my mom at higher risk. Back then, conventional wisdom said eating cholesterol-rich foods, like egg yolks, could increase your risk — so, they appeared rarely in my mom’s repertoire. I ate more egg white omelets than I could count.
But these days, most scientists agree that eating an average of one whole egg, yolk and all, per day isn't just perfectly fine — it actually offers quite a few health benefits.
All those years of yolk-free living — wasted.
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It turns out the nutritional value of eggs is considerable. Packed inside that delicate shell, you’ll find an astonishing array of nutrients and antioxidants, including:
High-quality protein. Each large egg you eat provides an impressive 6 grams of protein — that’s around one-eighth of your daily recommended intake. It also includes all nine of the essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein your body can’t produce on its own.
Healthy fats. A large egg has around 5 grams of fat, and that does include some saturated fat, which experts advise us to limit. But more than half the amount comes from healthy fats, both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
Low carbohydrates. If you’re aiming for weight loss on a low-carb diet, eggs make a great option. Each large egg has less than a single gram of carbohydrates.
An array of vitamins. Eggs contain every vitamin your body needs, except vitamin C. If you ate two eggs each day, you’d be covering between 10% and 30% of your daily requirements. That includes high amounts of vitamin D, vitamin A, several of the B vitamins (including riboflavin and folate), and vitamins E and K. Eggs also boast plenty of carotenoids — the pigments that give egg yolks their yellow-orange hue — including lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect your eye health.
Other essential nutrients. Egg yolks are a major source of choline, which supports your brain and nervous system. Most Americans don’t get enough of it, but one egg provides around one-third of your daily recommended intake. (Hard-boiled eggs are the biggest source of choline in the American diet.) Plus, you’ll get some heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Minerals. While you wouldn’t eat eggs just for these minerals, you’ll also find some calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc in each one.
What are the health benefits of eggs?
As far as your health goes, it doesn't matter whether you choose free-range, organic, or conventional eggs. (You may have other reasons for going with more or less expensive options, of course.)
With all those nutrients, eggs can benefit your health in numerous ways:
Heart health. Let’s talk about dietary cholesterol. Yes, eggs have some, and experts used to warn us against eating too many because it might raise our risk of heart disease. But it turns out around 70% of us don’t see an increase in our blood cholesterol levels when we eat foods containing cholesterol. The cholesterol in eggs may even help improve your ratio of “good” LDL and “bad” HDL cholesterol. According to several recent studies, eating eggs doesn’t really affect your overall risk of cardiovascular disease. And in one way, egg consumption seems to offer some protection — people who eat one egg each day may be reducing their risk of stroke.
Brain health. When it comes to your cognition, all that choline could pay off. The research isn’t definitive, but several studies have discovered a link between higher choline levels and better cognitive function.
Eye health. Remember those carotenoids — lutein and zeaxanthin? Numerous studies have found these nutrients can play an important role in protecting your eyes against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. And perhaps because of the fat content in eggs, your body absorbs lutein and zeaxanthin more easily from them than from plant sources.
Delicious and healthy egg recipes
Now that you’ve seen why eggs are such a nutritious (not to mention affordable) food, let’s get cooking.
The best egg sandwiches
Ask an average New Yorker how they start their day, and odds are they’ll say, "With a bacon-egg-and-cheese." That classic sandwich is certainly delicious, but it ain’t exactly health food. Try these variations featuring veggies instead.
Step 1: Toast some whole-grain bread. Step 2: Smash some avocado and spread it on top. Step 3: Poach an egg so its runny yolk makes a perfectly oozy, lip-smacking sauce. Step 4: Eat.
It may sound fancy, but this sophisticated open-faced sandwich requires little effort. Pop some cherry tomatoes into the oven until they burst, and while that’s going on, whir together a quick pesto. Slather the garlicky spread on toast, top with a fried egg, and add some of those luscious tomatoes.
A single strip of bacon adds smoky, salty punch to this satisfying sandwich. And cooking the kale and garlic in a wee bit of the bacon fat makes it seem decadent. With a toasted whole wheat bun and a runny egg, you’ve got yourself an enviably tasty breakfast.
Whether you make this sandwich with a simple frittata or just use hard-boiled eggs, that briny, spicy, herby olive salad turns it into a memorable meal.
Recipes with hard-boiled eggs
I cook easy-peel hard-boiled eggs by the dozen and keep them on-hand for grab-and-go snacks, which means I have them ready for other uses, too.
The color alone is enough to sell me on these beauties, but they also involve two temptations I can’t resist: beets and pickling. The fact that you can throw them together in minutes, then stow the whole thing in the fridge doesn’t hurt, either.
Twenty-five minutes is all you need to make a steaming, slurpy, satisfying bowl of noodle soup. Add a halved hard-boiled egg and let the yolks enrich the broth.
The simplicity of this lunch might make you think it’s nothing special, but you’d be wrong. A mustard-scented yogurt dressing binds together chopped eggs and crunchy celery, while the minced red onion adds an extra bite. Eating this salad in a lettuce wrap is fun.
We can’t talk about eggs without including at least one deviled option. This recipe tweaks the filling by adding classic guacamole ingredients.
Not enough? Here are 26 more ways to use hard-boiled eggs.
Put an egg on it
There’s been a trend in foodie circles: Slide a fried egg onto virtually anything, and you’ve got a fantastic meal.
If you have leftover brown rice, an avocado, and some eggs, you’re minutes away from having a filling and nutritious lunch.
Instant polenta helps this dish come together quickly, and the combination of creamy cornmeal, garlicky vegetables, crunchy chickpeas, and an olive-oil fried egg is tasty and wholesome.
Fried eggs are a classic topping for hash, which is usually on the heavy side. This version upends that with chicken sausage and an abundance of fresh crisp-tender vegetables.
Mirin- and soy-scented quinoa gives these vegetable-topped grain bowls an Asian flair — as does the egg itself, fried in sesame oil for an unusual touch.
Poached eggs for breakfast, lunch, or dinner
There’s something so elegant about a poached egg. Once you see how easy it is to get them just right, you’ll want to eat them at every meal.
Cook a little extra quinoa for dinner one night — and you’re more than halfway to eating this gorgeous salad for breakfast the next day. So simple, yet so satisfying.
This really couldn’t be easier: You saute some baby spinach and garlic, add crumbled feta, and top with a poached egg. Just imagine what it’s like to release the yolk into the greens and cheese…
I know this is billed as a breakfast bowl, but I just want to eat it for dinner every night. I mean, look at that spectacular combination of colors, flavors, and textures. This dish has it all.
It takes only fresh ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and a few minutes to turn store-bought broth into this comforting soup. Simmer some bok choy in the aromatic mixture, then poach your eggs directly in the pot until they’re just barely set.
More egg-cellent ideas
You’ve read this far, so chances are we don’t have to egg you on when it comes to this important food. No need to scramble for recipes whenever you feel like eggs-panding your culinary horizons — here’s our nest egg of helpful articles.