Are you still avoiding eggs for fear of getting a heart attack? It’s time to bring this food back into your diet, because recent studies confirm that fresh, organic eggs can prevent heart disease and are among the healthiest foods you can eat.
A 2009 research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry says that proteins in cooked eggs are transformed by gastrointestinal enzymes, creating peptides that act as ACE inhibitors, which are common prescription medications that lower blood pressure (link).
Dr. Joseph Mercola says that it’s true that animal products like eggs contain fats and are high in cholesterol—but they do nothing to raise your cholesterol. A study published in the International Journal of Cardiology observed healthy adults who ate eggs every day and found out that it did not produce a negative effect on endothelial function, a measure of cardiac risk. It also did not increase cholesterol levels.
Eggs Contain Health-Promoting Antioxidants
Eggs yolks may also contain amino acids that have antioxidant properties. Researchers observed the nutritional content of egg yolks from hens that are primarily fed wheat or corn, and found out that they contain the amino acids tryptophan and tyrosine, which are also helpful for cancer and cardiovascular disease prevention. The antioxidant properties were equivalent to a 25-gram serving of cranberries or two times more than the antioxidants in apples.
The researchers also discovered that cooking eggs destroys their health benefits. After frying and boiling, the antioxidant properties were reduced by half. After microwaving, a greater reduction was seen.
Dr. Mercola adds that egg yolks are a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that come from the class of carotenoids called xanthophylls. Lutein and zeaxanthin help prevent age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness.
Free-Range, Organic Eggs are Your Best Choice
Dr. Mercola says that free-range or “pastured” organic eggs (acquired from hens that are fed organic food) are the best type. Their nutritional content is superior to eggs from commercially-raised hens, which have been fed with GM corn that contains high levels of pesticides.
Fresh, pastured eggs do not require refrigeration because their cuticles are intact. Just leave them in a cool cupboard. However, you should consume them within seven to 10 days (if you choose to refrigerate the eggs, though, they will stay fresh for 30 to 45 days). This is a well-known practice in many countries, especially Europe.
In the U.S., refrigerating eggs is the cultural norm because mass production causes eggs to travel long distances and sit in storage for weeks or months before arriving at your local supermarket. Factory farms also lack cleanliness, increasing the chances of pathogen contamination. Thus, refrigeration is needed for disinfection.
The Best Way to Enjoy Your Eggs
Dr. Mercola recommends eating eggs (especially the yolk) raw to get all of its nutrients. Never microwave or scramble your eggs—microwaving changes the chemical structure of the food, while scrambling oxidizes the cholesterol in the egg, making them harmful to your health.
Cooking also changes the chemical state of the egg’s protein, which is the main cause of egg allergies among many people. When consumed raw, egg allergies usually disappear. If you don’t want to eat your eggs raw, soft-boiling or poaching them is your next best option.
You won’t have to worry about salmonella poisoning if you’re eating fresh, organic eggs. The risks of salmonella usually arise when the hens are raised in unsanitary conditions. As long as your organic eggs are acquired from hens raised in small organic farms, in clean, spacious coops, and with access to sunlight and natural food, there’s very little chance that you’ll get salmonella poisoning.
You can buy fresh, organic eggs from organic farms or farmers markets. If you can only buy from a commercial grocery store, look for ones that are labeled “free-range organic.” These may still come from a mass-production facility, though, so be careful about eating them raw. Dr. Mercola warns against “omega-3 eggs,” which come from chickens that are fed poor-quality sources of omega-3 fats that are already oxidized. Omega-3 eggs also spoil faster than non-omega-3 eggs.