Consumption of Eggs: The Anti-Aging Food?

The consumption of eggs (chicken primarily) got a very bad rap for several years, principally due to the fact that there is a fair amount of cholesterol in egg yolks. However, as a source of nutrition eggs are a bountiful food. An average chicken egg, a 50 gram egg which is typical of the designation of large egg, contains approximately 155 total calories. A typical large egg is an excellent source of protein containing about 6 grams. Eggs are also good sources for many vitamins where the most abundant are listed with the numbers in parentheses indicating approximate (~) daily requirement for an adult. Vitamin A (~20%), vitamin B2:riboflavin (~40%), vitamin B5:pantothenic acid (~30%), vitamin B12 (~50), vitamin D (~15%), vitamin B1:thiamine, vitamin B6, and vitamin E. Eggs are also good sources of zinc and phosphorous but also contain small amounts of calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. More than half of the calories of an egg come from the fats contained in the yolk. However, the majority of the fats in egg yolks are the healthy beneficial omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) called EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Whereas only 25%-27% of the fat in a yolk is saturated consisting primarily of palmitic and stearic acids. A typical chicken egg yolk contains more than two-thirds of the recommended daily intake of 300 mg of cholesterol which is the reason eggs got their bad rap. However, this is only a problem when one consumes many other foods that are cholesterol-rich, and tend to be MUCH less beneficial dietarily than eggs. The overall fat content of eggs depends greatly on how the chickens are raised and what they eat. Pasture-raised free-range chickens produce eggs that are enriched in the omega-3 fatty PUFAs compared to cage-raised chickens. However, recent clinical studies over the past several years have proven that when consumed along with a balanced healthy diet, chicken eggs can be, and are in fact good for one to eat.

A newly published study in the Journal of Nutrition provides excellent data for the positive health benefits of daily egg consumption in healthy individuals. Remember that when consuming a typical Westernized diet or in persons with preexisting cardiovascular risk such as elevated total cholesterol, adding eggs may only serve to exacerbate the hypercholesterolemia.

Intake of up to 3 Eggs per Day Is Associated with Changes in HDL Function and Increased Plasma Antioxidants in Healthy, Young Adults

In this study, healthy men and women between the ages of 18 and 30 spent 2 weeks eating no eggs (referred to as the "wash-out" period) followed by an regimen of increasing daily egg consumption over the course of the next 4 weeks. Egg consumption consisted of 1, then 2, then 3 eggs per day. During the wash-out period and during the 4 week period of egg consumption numerous measures of fasting blood were analyzed.

What is the TAKE HOME from this study? This study showed that healthy young adults experienced SIGNIFICANT improvements in measure of blood health where there were progressive increases in the level of HDL (high density lipoprotein, the so-called "good cholesterol") with increasing daily egg intake. In addition there were significant increases in the level of plasma antioxidant proteins which are directly correlated to reductions in the development of atherosclerosis and other vascular pathologies. In addition, antioxidants prevent the processes of cellular aging. Since the blood carries oxygen, from the lungs to the tissues (in the hemoglobin proteins of red blood cells), the components of blood (cells, proteins, lipoproteins) are very highly susceptible to oxidation. The HDL in your blood carries with it numerous antioxidant proteins so the more HDL one has the less potential for cardiovascular disease. In addition, a higher level of antioxidant activity in the blood may very well be correlated to a reduction in cellular aging (i.e. antiaging!!)

So within the context of the diet of healthy adults eggs may very well be "just what the doctor ordered" for your continued healthy longevity!!!

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