Many people see eggs as the villains of the grocery cooler. One moment nutritionists are touting them for their health benefits, and the next they’re saying they’re bad for us. This controversy comes from the general belief that eggs raise cholesterol which may lead to a heart disease.
Previous research has linked regular egg consumption to heart attacks, high blood pressure, and weight gain. Conditions that cause damage to the heart, arteries, or blood circulation are also known to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the American Heart Association, healthy adults should not consume more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day. One large egg has around 186 milligrams of cholesterol and a small egg around 141 milligrams. A new study from the University of Eastern Finland now shows that a relatively high intake of dietary cholesterol is not associated with a heightened risk of coronary heart disease — the world’s number one killer.
Many people believe eggs increase the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The Finnish researchers, however, discovered that eating eggs on a daily basis may help boost brain functions.
Better brain performance
For their study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the scientists analyzed the diets of nearly 2,500 men aged between 42 and 60 over a period of 22 years. At the start of the analysis, none of the participants were diagnosed with a memory disorder such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Of the 2,500 men, 337 developed a neurological condition at some point – with the majority suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The authors of the study found that neither cholesterol nor egg intake was linked to a higher risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Despite the general belief that dietary cholesterol has a modest impact on blood cholesterol levels, Professor Jyrki Virtanen, adjunct professor in nutritional epidemiology at the University of Eastern Finland Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition in Kuopio, said cholesterol and egg intake have not been associated with higher risk of heart disease.
He also added that it is assumed that dietary cholesterol has a greater impact on blood cholesterol levels among carriers of the APOE4 gene. However, Virtanen and his colleagues reported that even carriers of the APOE4 gene don’t seem to have anything to fear when it comes to eating eggs or any other form of dietary cholesterol.
Furthermore, the data also showed that regular consumption of eggs does not increase the risk of a memory disorder, not even in individuals who are predisposed. On the contrary, the researchers found that egg intake improved performance on neuropsychological tests of the frontal lobe and executive functioning.
The study was funded by the University of Eastern Finland, and Virtanen added that there was no funding from the egg industry.
Have no fear
While eggs have gained a bad reputation over the recent years, they are making their comeback to the health food aisle. As reported by the Daily Mail Online, one large egg packs around six grams of high-quality protein and decent levels of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin as well as vitamins E, D, and A.
While lutein may help prevent clogged arteries, vitamin E has been shown to reduce the risk of future heart attacks in people with an existing cardiovascular disease. Previously, U.S. scientists reported that there is no clear link between egg consumption and coronary heart disease. Also, recently published research found consuming just one egg a day may reduce the risk of stroke by 12 percent.