Health Benefits of Eggs

What’s cheap, delicious, and easy to incorporate into almost any dish? That’s right: eggs! 

In the United States, the majority of eggs we eat come from chickens. All over the world, eggs from different birds are popular, from delicate quail eggs to massive ostrich eggs. Eggs are much more than a staple breakfast food: they’re packed with nutrients and offer many health benefits worth knowing about. 

Health Benefits

Whether you enjoy them as a snack or as a way to start your day, there are many reasons to love eggs, including the health benefits they provide. 

Improve Eye Health

If you’re not a huge fan of carrots, don’t worry. Eggs are excellent for improving your eye health. They’re packed with lutein and zeaxanthin, which studies show help prevent age-related vision loss. By eating eggs regularly, you could reduce your risks of developing cataracts or macular degeneration

Improve Pregnancy Health

Eggs are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids and folate, both of which can help boost fetal development.

Folate, or folic acid is associated with neural tube development. Eating foods that contain enough folates before and during pregnancy may help prevent major birth defects, including anencephaly and spina bifida.

Omega-3s have also been shown to have a positive effect on pregnancy. It may help prevent preterm labor and delivery, lower risk of preeclampsia and depression in the mother, and lead to a higher birth weight for the baby.

Nutrition

One reason eggs are such a popular snack is that they pack such a high protein content into such a small package, helping you feel full longer. In fact, eggs are a complete protein source, meaning they have all 11 amino acids humans can’t produce on their own and need to take in from other protein sources.

With relatively few calories and almost no carbohydrates, eggs can make for an easy morning pick-me-up or an afternoon snack that keeps you satisfied until dinnertime. 

In addition to these benefits, eggs are also a great source of: 

  • Vitamin A
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Folates
  • Vitamin B
  • Phosphorus
  • Selenium

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Nutrients per Serving

One large chicken egg contains the following nutrients: 

  • Calories: 72
  • Fat: 5 grams
  • Cholesterol: 186 milligrams
  • Sodium: 71 milligrams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams

Portion Sizes

While eggs are a great, low-carbohydrate protein source, they are relatively high in both cholesterol and sodium. As a result, eating too many eggs has been linked with increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease

Studies show that most healthy people can eat seven eggs in a week without increasing their risk of heart disease. Still, it’s important to be mindful of portion sizes, as eating too many eggs can be harmful. Balancing your diet with low-cholesterol, low-sodium foods can help you enjoy eggs as part of a healthy lifestyle.

How to Prepare Eggs

One of the easiest ways to prepare eggs is scrambling them. To do this, crack an egg into a bowl, add a little bit of milk, and combine the yolk, egg white, and milk using a fork or whisk. Cook the egg mixture in a frying pan until the egg forms solid lumps.

Once you get used to cooking eggs, you can experiment with different ways of preparing them, including: 

  • Poached
  • Hard-boiled
  • Soft-boiled
  • Sunny-side-up
  • Over easy

If you don’t like the taste of eggs by themselves, you can try spicing them up by making:

  • Omelets
  • Quiches
  • Deviled eggs

Eggs can also be found in many baked goods.

Keep in mind that baking and cooking with eggs can change their nutritional value. Different cooking processes—such as frying versus poaching or boiling—can affect the amount of glycotoxins in your eggs. Different preparations can also affect how your body digests the proteins and other nutrients found in eggs. Cooking at low heat using healthy, plant-derived oils is the best way to preserve the nutrients in your eggs when cooking them.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 08, 2020

Sources

SOURCES: 

CDC: “Folic Acid.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon.

Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science: “Identification of lutein and zeaxanthin oxidation products in human and monkey retinas.”

Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “Advanced Glycation End Products in Foods and a Practical Guide to Their Reduction in the Diet.”

Mayo Clinic: “Eggs: Are They Good or Bad for My Cholesterol?”

Mayo Clinic: “Nutrition Rules That Will Fuel Your Workout.”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Egg Consumption Linked to Higher Risk of Heart Disease and Death.”

Piedmont Healthcare: “What is a Complete Protein?”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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