February is American Heart Month, which means it's time to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in America. When it comes to diet, mixed messages about dietary cholesterol can be confusing for many Americans, especially when it comes to eating eggs. But egg lovers still have a reason to celebrate during American Heart Month – and all year long – because more than 30 years of research shows healthy adults can enjoy eggs without significantly impacting their risk of heart disease.(i)
The myth about the link between eating eggs and their effect on blood cholesterol has been a hard shell to crack and a topic registered dietitian Keith Ayoob, Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the director of the Nutrition Clinic at the Rose F. Kennedy Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center, often addresses with his clients. When it comes to assessing the risk of heart disease, the ratio of "bad" LDL-cholesterol to "good" HDL-cholesterol is one of the best known and proven indicators.
"It's important that we clear up all the confusion that surrounds what people should or shouldn't eat to reduce their risk of heart disease," says Ayoob. "Egg consumption does not significantly impact the LDL:HDL ratio, so enjoying an egg or two a day can fall within current cholesterol guidelines, particularly if you eat lower-cholesterol, nutrient-rich foods throughout the rest of the day, like fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy."
More Reasons to Love Eggs
Along with being affordable – only 15 cents apiece (ii) – Ayoob offers the following benefits of adding eggs to your diet:
- Eggs are the most affordable source of high-quality protein, which provides steady and sustained energy throughout the day. One egg has 13 essential vitamins and minerals for 70 calories.(iii)
- Start your day feeling full! Research shows that eating eggs for breakfast as part of a reduced-calorie diet helped people feel more satisfied, helping them to snack less and consume fewer calories throughout the day.(iv)
- Eggs are all-natural and sources of nutrients that play key roles in weight management, muscle strength, healthy pregnancy, brain function, eye health and more.
Jump-start your breakfast routine during American Heart Month and save time in the morning and all year long with these quick and easy suggestions from Ayoob:
- Hard-Cooked Eggs – Make a dozen hard-cooked eggs on Sunday for a simple grab-and-go solution for breakfast, lunch or a snack all week.
- Omelets – Add vegetables, like spinach, to eggs to pack an extra healthy breakfast punch.
- Scrambled Eggs – Simply beat an egg in a small bowl or coffee mug, place on high heat in the microwave for 60 seconds and add it to a toasted whole grain English muffin.