Amid conflicting research on whether eggs are good for heart or bad for cardiovascular health, a new Greek study has claimed that eating one to three eggs a week can cut the risk of cardiovascular disease by more than half.
The study described the 10-year cardiovascular effects of self-reported egg consumption and found an even lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, 75%, for those who ate four to seven eggs a week. However, they only found a protective role in the consumption of one to three eggs per week after considering sociodemographic, lifestyle and clinical factors. These factors are important in judging the efficacy of egg consumption in the Indian context. Dr. Nishith Chandra, Senior Director of Interventional Cardiology at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute in New Delhi, and Deepti Khatuja, Head of Clinical Nutrition at FMRI Gurugram, unravel the truth about eating eggs to promote a healthy heart.
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Are eggs good for heart health?
“Studies on the correlation between egg consumption and heart health have had mixed results, and the debate over whether eggs are good for heart or bad for heart health continues. Some studies suggest that moderate egg consumption may not have a significant impact on heart disease risk in healthy individuals, while others suggest that high egg consumption may increase heart disease risk, particularly in people with diabetes or a history of heart disease,” says Dr. Chandra.
“First of all, there are several studies on the subject, but we need more research in different geographical areas and more data to say something definitive. But a recent meta-analysis has found that consumption of up to one egg per day is associated with a slightly decreased risk of cardiovascular disease among Asians,” says Khatuja.
“From a nutritional perspective, eggs may be beneficial because they promote carotenoid absorption, improve high-density lipoprotein cholesterol function, and increase bioactive compounds such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which in turn protect against atherosclerosis.” , Add.
Eggs are also known to provide high-quality nutrients such as protein, minerals, fat-soluble vitamins, and iron. Eggs are a rich source of vitamin B2, B12 and selenium, which are cardioprotective. Vitamin B2 and B12 normalize homocysteine levels, which, at high levels, can lead to arterial plaques. The selenium in eggs helps fight oxidative stress, which is one of the main components of heart disease. Some intervention studies have shown that eggs do not increase total cholesterol and may in fact improve the efflux capacity of HDL. [cholesterol] particles. “Eating eggs can promote muscle growth, help control weight, and support brain function, among other benefits,” says Dr. Chandra.
But the high cholesterol and choline content of eggs makes it necessary to evaluate individual risk factors before advising the patient on the amount to consume. “Eggs are a rich source of dietary cholesterol, and elevated levels of dietary cholesterol have been associated with increased risk of heart disease. However, recent studies have shown that the cholesterol in eggs may not be as harmful as previously thought, and that the overall effect of eggs on heart health may be influenced by other factors, such as a person’s general dietary pattern.” says Dr. Chandra.
Is egg yolk good for health?
“Recently we have been talking about consuming three egg yolks in a week, which is safe from the perspective of comorbidities like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The WHO in 2018 recommended that we can safely go ahead and consume three egg yolks alternately in a week,” says Khatuja.
What are the general benefits of consuming egg yolk?
The benefits of egg yolk are many, but to be specific, it is a good source of vitamin D and other nutrients like iron, which are lost when we only eat egg whites.
How many eggs should be consumed per day?
“Eating two to four egg whites a day is perfectly safe, but you have to take total protein intake into account, as eggs have very good bioavailability. The PDCAAS value (Protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score) of the egg is the most suitable, which means that the absorption and digestibility of the egg protein are better,” says Khatuja.
There is no single answer to how many eggs should be consumed per day. Dr. Chandra believes moderation is the key, and the American Heart Association suggests a limit of one whole egg or two egg whites per day for people with risk factors for heart disease.
What are the equivalent options for vegetarians?
Vegetarians can take fortified milk and milk products. According to Khatuja, low-fat milk is advised. Dr. Chandra recommends plant options that can provide similar nutritional benefits, such as legumes, nuts, seeds, and tofu.