Published: 12 September 2018
Recent studies reveal that eggs are not the evil food as generally perceived.
FOR decades, eggs have been much maligned by health experts. They have warned that eggs are high in dietary cholesterol which will increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke.
Some even suggested that we only consume the egg white and not the yolk. The argument is that one large egg has roughly 186 milligrams of cholesterol — all of which is found in the egg’s yolk.
However in recent years, there have been various studies that reveal eggs are not the evil food as once thought.
Researchers have found that regular, moderate egg consumption will not increase the risk of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol level. LDL contributes to fatty build ups in arteries that increase the risk for heart attack and stroke.
Recently, a group of Chinese scientists, looked at data from over half a million Chinese aged 30 to 79 from 10 diverse survey sites in China from 2004 to 2008.
They found that eating an egg a day lowers the risk of CVD by 11 per cent, ischemic heart disease by 12 per cent, major coronary events by 14 per cent, haemorrhagic stroke by 26 per cent and ischemic stroke by 10 per cent.
UiTM Private Specialist Centre cardiologist Dr Johan Rizwal Ismail says before new evidence came in, it is known that high blood cholesterol level is associated with heart disease. Eggs have been named as one of the foods with high total cholesterol content and are linked to heart disease and stroke.
However, the type of cholesterol and type of food that can cause heart disease are not well known and studied. With the new studies, scientists learn that some types of food cholesterol are needed for hormones balancing, energy and even reducing bad cholesterol.
An egg is a good source of various nutrients such as protein, cholesterol, iron, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B12, folate, selenium, choline, lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids.
On the link between dietary cholesterol and stroke, he says the types of fat consumed are important compared to total fat intake.
Although studies regarding fats and stroke have found conflicting results, it is known that trans fat should be avoided.
“Both saturated and monounsaturated fats contribute to lower risk of stroke. It is known that consumption of polyunsaturated fats is not associated with stroke.”
Risk of stroke can be divided into modifiable and non-modifiable cause. Non-modifiable cause includes increasing age, ethnicity, male gender, and previous family history. Modifiable or treatable will be diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dyslipidaemia or high cholesterol, smoking, atrial fibrillation and carotid artery stenosis.
“To prevent stroke, a healthy lifestyle is very important. Physical activity for 30 minutes three times a week along with a balanced diet are very essential to prevent stroke.”
Eggs also help lower triglycerides level and contain anti-inflammatory properties that balance the high-density lipoprotein (or good cholesterol) with LDL. They also help to improve eye health, liver function, brain health, skin and as well as aid in weight loss.
“But moderation is still the key to a healthy body. There is a recommended limit of dietary cholesterol for people with normal and as well as those with high cholesterol levels.
“One egg a day has been shown to be protective for cardiovascular disease but it has to be taken in combination with other healthy lifestyle activities.
“If you eat four eggs in a day without doing physical activity, then it is not going to be any good. You need to burn excess calories with exercise. The best is to discuss with your doctor to determine your maximum intake allowed.”
By Kasmiah Mustapha – firstname.lastname@example.org