Beyond easily upping your daily protein count—each 85-calorie egg packs a solid 7 grams of the muscle-builder—eggs also improve your health. They’re loaded with amino acids, antioxidants, and healthy fats.
Don’t just reach for the whites, though; the yolks boast a fat-fighting nutrient called choline, so opting for whole eggs can actually help you trim down.
When you’re shopping for eggs, pay attention to the labels. You should opt for organic, when possible. These are certified by the USDA and are free from antibiotics, vaccines and hormones. As for color, that’s your call.
The difference in color just varies based on the type of chicken—they both have the same nutritional value, says Molly Morgan, RD, CDN, CSSD a board-certified sports specialist dietitian based in upstate New York.
You’ll boost your immune system
If you don’t want to play chicken with infections, viruses, and diseases, add an egg or two to your diet daily. Just one large egg contains almost a quarter (22%) of your RDA of selenium, a nutrient that helps support your immune system and regulate thyroid hormones.
Kids should eat eggs, especially. If children and adolescents don’t get enough selenium, they could develop Keshan disease and Kashin-Beck disease, two conditions that can affect the heart, bones, and joints.
You can improve your cholesterol profile
There are three ideas about cholesterol that most people know:
1) High cholesterol is a bad thing;
2) There are good and bad kinds of cholesterol;
3) Eggs contain plenty of it.
Doctors are generally most concerned with the ratio of “good” cholesterol (HDL) to bad cholesterol (LDL). One large egg contains 212 mg of cholesterol, but this doesn’t mean that eggs will raise the “bad” kind in the blood.
The body constantly produces cholesterol on its own, and a large body of evidence indicates that eggs can actually improve your cholesterol profile. How? Eggs seem to raise HDL (good) cholesterol while increasing the size of LDL particles (which are thought to be less dangerous than small particles).
You’ll reduce your risk of heart disease
Not only have eggs been found to not increase the risk of coronary heart disease, but they might actually decrease your risk. LDL cholesterol became known as “bad” cholesterol because LDL particles transport their fat molecules into artery walls, and drive atherosclerosis: basically, the gumming up of the arteries.
(HDL particles, by contrast, can remove fat molecules from artery walls.) But not all LDL particles are made equal, and there are various subtypes that differ in size. Bigger is definitely better — many studies have shown that people who have predominantly small, dense LDL particles have a higher risk of heart disease than people who have mostly large LDL particles.
Here’s the best part: Even if eggs tend to raise LDL cholesterol in some people, studies show that the LDL particles change from small and dense to large, slashing the risk of cardiovascular problems, including heart disease.
You’ll experience a boost in energy levels
Just one large fried egg contains nearly 18% of your DV of vitamin B2, also called riboflavin. It’s just one of eight B vitamins, which all help the body to convert food into fuel, which in turn is used to produce energy, making it the perfect food for all-day energy.
You’ll protect your brain
Eggs are brain food. That’s largely because of an essential nutrient called choline. It’s a component of cell membranes and is required to synthesize acetylcholine: a neurotransmitter. Studies show that a lack of choline has been linked to neurological disorders and decreased cognitive function. Shockingly, more than 90% of Americans eat less than the daily recommended amount of choline, according to a U.S. dietary survey.
An added brain health benefit of eating eggs is attributed to their omega-3 fatty acid content. There are approximately 225 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids in each egg. Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most important healthy fats to have in your diet because they help prevent heart disease, arthritis, and osteoporosis.
Research has also shown that omega-3s are beneficial for protecting against Alzheimer’s disease and improving cognitive function.