Raw Eggs: Are There Health Benefits?

Eating raw eggs can be a quick way to get a lot of protein. If you are consuming raw eggs, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends using pasteurized eggs. These eggs have been heated up enough to kill the Salmonella bacteria that was potentially inside.

Nutrition Information

Raw eggs are rich in protein and other micronutrients. The fatty acids they have can help your metabolism. They contain most of the essential amino acids, and one egg provides 27% of the daily choline requirements. 

They're also an excellent source of:

  • Calcium
  • Phosphorous
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin A 
  • Vitamin D

One raw egg contains:

  •  72 calories
  •  6 grams of protein
  •  5 grams of fat
  •  186 milligrams of cholesterol

Potential Health Benefits of Raw Eggs

There are many vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants found in raw eggs. Lutein and zeaxanthin are two important antioxidants that protect your eyes and make eye-related diseases less likely.

In addition, raw eggs can also:

Help your heart. Eggs are filled with HDL or "good" cholesterol. High HDL cholesterol protects your heart from LDL, the bad cholesterol. Eggs are full of both types of cholesterol, so it’s important to limit the good so you can also limit the bad. Eggs are also full of fatty acids, like Omega-3s, which bring down the bad cholesterol levels. 

Help your brain work better. The high amounts of choline found in eggs are important factors of brain function. Eggs are nutrient dense and just one egg is an excellent source of choline. 

Strengthen your immune system. High levels of vitamin A and vitamin B-12 are found in eggs along with other nutrients and antioxidants that make up a well-defended immune system.  

Give you more energy. Eggs are packed with nutrients that make you feel full and energized. They are rich sources of protein and considered a complete source of essential amino acids.  

Potential Risks of Raw Eggs

Eating raw eggs can be potentially dangerous if they contain Salmonella. About one in 20,000 eggs does. Salmonella is a bacteria commonly found in food that causes diarrhea, fever, cramps, and vomiting.

Continued

In serious cases, you can develop chronic, severe, or life-threatening health problems from eating food-borne bacteria. Salmonella causes about 30 deaths in the United States each year. You’ll usually experience illness 1 to 3 days after eating food contaminated with bacteria. However, you can get sick anywhere between 20 minutes and 6 weeks after you have it.

Usually, cooking eggs thoroughly will kill the bacteria. If you use a recipe that requires raw or undercooked eggs, make sure you only use eggs that have been treated to destroy Salmonella through pasteurization or pasteurized egg products. 

Healthy Alternatives

If you're choosing raw eggs because of the protein punch, it might surprise you that cooked eggs can actually give your body more protein.

Cooking eggs breaks down the protein, making it easier for you to digest, which means your body will have more protein to use.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on December 17, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: The relation of dietary choline to cognitive performance and white-matter hyperintensity in the Framingham Offspring Cohort.”

European journal of clinical nutrition: “Nutrition, the brain and cognitive decline: insights from epigenetics.”

FDA: “Assuring the safety of eggs and menu and deli items made from raw, shell eggs.”

FDA: “What you need to know about egg safety.”

Food Technology Magazine: “Pasteurization of Shell Eggs.”

Food Chemistry: Fatty acid composition of certified organic, conventional and omega-3 eggs.” 

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: “Reducing Risk of Salmonellosis through Egg Decontamination Processes.” 

Nutrients: “Dietary sources of lutein and zeaxanthin carotenoids and their role in eye health.”

Poultry Science: “Mineral, amino acid, and hormonal composition of chicken eggshell powder and the evaluation of its use in human nutrition.”

World’s Poultry Science Journal: “Selenium in poultry nutrition 2. Reproduction, egg and meat quality and practical applications.”

Marshfield Clinic: "Smashing egg myths: Raw eggs build more muscle."

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