Is eating eggs good or bad for heart health? A very recent scientific research states that a moderate intake of eggs is not only not harmful but can even be protective for the cardiovascular system. The study was published in the journal Nutrients by an American team (Mott et al, Nutrients, 2023).
Eggs and health, a debate that has never been resolved
For a long time eggs have been demonized, pointed out as one of the causes of cardiovascular disease due to their cholesterol content. However, the years have passed and science has made great strides managing to understand many aspects of the fascinating link between health and nutrition. Gradually, the role of dietary cholesterol has been reduced, since, in the first place, most of the cholesterol found in our body has an endogenous origin, namely it is produced internally, in particular by the liver, secondly because, in addition to cholesterol, other factors also create cardiovascular risk, such as blood sugar and blood pressure. Eggs have thus begun to be re-evaluated, also because they are a precious source of protein. However, the debate has never completely died down and some perplexity about the fact that eggs, taken in moderate quantities, are not harmful, has always remained. The research we are talking about today tries to shed light on this topic.
Eggs may reduce cardiovascular risk, the study
Scientists were based on data from more than 5,000 volunteers, all adults between 30 and 64 years old, participating in a large study that began in 1971 and called the Framingham Offspring Study. Every four years the volunteers were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their lifestyle and food choices and to undergo medical examinations. Well, it emerged that those who consumed 5 or more eggs per week did not have a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease than those who consumed less eggs. Indeed, what the scientists have observed is that a moderate intake of eggs, within a healthy and varied diet, was even protective for the heart and blood vessels. In fact, those who consumed 5 eggs a week had lower fasting blood sugar values and a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes over the next ten years than those who consumed fewer eggs or did not consume them at all. Not only that, those who consumed 5 or more eggs a week also had lower systolic blood pressure and a 30% lower risk of developing hypertension than those who consumed fewer eggs.
The study is still in its infancy and much needs to be done to understand the real impact of eggs on health. For example, the study did not analyze the values of triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol or the best cooking methods in order to maximize the properties of the eggs. In fact, egg yolk contains lecithin, with a cholesterol-lowering action. However, lecithin degrades quickly when subjected to heat, which is why it is often recommended to consume poached or soft-boiled eggs. In any case, the study has the merit of showing that a moderate consumption of eggs, without excesses, and within a healthy and varied diet is not only not harmful for blood sugar and blood pressure but even protective, reducing the risk of diabetes and hypertension, which are two important indicators of cardiovascular risk.