Monday, March 2, 2015

The Egg (Yolk) is BACK! - Cholesterol is Out of Diet Jail! (March is National Nutrition Month.)

March is National Nutrition Month according the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and we are celebrating with the incredible egg!  You see, the egg is back in a big way, though for many of us, it never left our list of staple, affordable sources of a complete protein, called for by many recipes.  You would think eggs would have withstood the test of time and tradition by now, but there was rather large group of scientist-panels and government agencies, that believed for a long time that the cholesterol contained in eggs is bad for us and pushed their guidelines upon our society.  But recently these very same scientists and agencies reversed their stance on the egg, and more specifically on dietary cholesterol nutrient and the role it plays in blood LDL cholesterol levels.  According to The Washington Post in February,
‘In one short paragraph, the new report from the nation’s top nutrition panel reverses decades of warnings about dietary cholesterol. Long one of the arch-villains of the American diet, cholesterol need no longer be considered a menace to the public health, the group said.  As the panel's report puts it: “Cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern.”’.

“Cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern” – wow, that is a huge reversal!  The article goes on to say however, that foods high in saturated fats are still of concern and need to be eaten in moderation.  It seems factors such as your own heredity and a diet high in saturated fat content, are the real culprits causing high levels of (artery clogging), blood LDL-cholesterol.  (LDL stands for Low Density Lipid is considered the ‘bad’ marker of cholesterol in the blood, as opposed to HDL, which is considered good.)  So in conclusion you can have an egg or two for breakfast every day, but perhaps not bacon if high cholesterol or heart disease runs in your family.
But why, you may ask, is the egg so special anyway?  It’s because Rocky Balboa used to drink half a dozen raw eggs before his pre-morning cardio of course!  It worked for him, right?  In all seriousness, the egg truly is a super food.  I’ve had it on my super foods list for the past 15 years.  An egg contains 6 grams of complete protein at only 15 cents per serving.  Talk about value!  The egg is of course a natural, whole-food, that is gluten-free.  (Sorry I just had to say the latter so you would know eggs are hip too.)  Eggs are also sugar-free.
Rocky Balboa made drinking raw-eggs pre or post-workout legend and training tradition!

  Eggs are as about as nutrient-dense as a whole-food gets, so says IncredibleEgg.Org:

‘One egg has lots of vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein and antioxidants, all for 70 calories. The nutrients in eggs can play a role in weight management, muscle strength, healthy pregnancy, brain function, eye health and more. At less than 15 cents apiece, eggs are an affordable and delicious breakfast option.  The protein in eggs is the highest-quality protein found in any food. The high-quality protein in eggs provides the mental and physical energy families need for important days.
Nutrient-rich, all-natural eggs are a welcome addition to any diet.  The nutrient package of eggs aids in the following:
 *   Weight management: The high-quality protein in eggs helps you to feel fuller longer and stay energized, which contributes to maintaining a healthy weight.
 *   Muscle strength and muscle-loss prevention: Research indicates that high-quality protein may help active adults build muscle strength and help prevent muscle loss in middle-aged and aging adults.
 *   Healthy pregnancy: Egg yolks are an excellent source of choline, an essential nutrient that contributes to fetal brain development and helps prevent birth defects. Two eggs provide about 250 milligrams of choline, or roughly half of the recommended daily intake for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
 *   Brain function: Choline also aids the brain function of adults by maintaining the structure of brain cell membranes, and is a key component of the neuro-transmitter that helps relay messages from the brain through nerves to the muscles.
 *   Eye health: Lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants found in egg yolks, help prevent macular degeneration, a leading cause of age-related blindness. Though eggs contain a small amount of these two nutrients, research shows that the lutein from eggs may be more bioavailable than lutein from other food sources.’

This all sounds like more than Egg Org propaganda to me.  I happen to agree with everything.  And many Organic farms are able to fortify their chickens’ feed with Essential Fatty Acids, allowing their eggs to be a good source of Omega-3 fat for us.  So here’s to eating the whole egg daily and indulging in the yolk!  You just may have to leave the bacon behind, but instead can opt for avocado slices!

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