Eggs are one of nature’s perfect foods. Packed full of nutrients, affordable, and easy to cook. So why then are there reports that eggs are bad for us?

The main culprit behind the egg debate? It’s all because of an egg’s cholesterol content. Eggs are high in cholesterol, with one egg containing more than half of your daily requirement (according to US guidelines). We need cholesterol in our bodies, as it’s an essential building block of cell membranes. But too much of it can lead to clogged arteries which slows blood flow.  So naturally, doctors used to recommend that those with heart disease should limit their egg intake.

Then, over the years, studies showed that the intake of dietary cholesterol does not have the effect on our own cholesterol as much as we thought. It appears that as we consume cholesterol from foods, our bodies compensate for this and simply produce less cholesterol. Researchers can agree, however, that it’s the intake of saturated fat (in foods such as red meat) that cause our own liver to produce more cholesterol than needed, leading to heart disease. This is why the egg is an enigma. It’s one of the few foods with a high amount of cholesterol, but very little saturated fat.

Cholesterol debate put aside, there are many other reasons why we should be eating eggs. For one, eggs are one of the very few foods that contain vitamin D, a vitamin that most people are deficient in. It also contains choline, a nutrient said to have a protective effect on an array of diseases: liver disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and many more! Egg yolks are a great source of lutein, a pigment that helps to protect our eye sight.

There are many factors that play a role in nutrition, and scientists are still not sure what the exact effect of eggs are on our health. As of yet, no one can conclusively say that egg consumption will lead to cardiovascular disease. But most recent studies agree that the benefits of adding eggs to your diet outweigh the potential downsides. As with most things related to nutrition, balance is key!