Why we need more egg yolk in our diet

They have the power to nourish life within them. Bank on these inexpensive super foods.

 |  5-minute read |   03-06-2016
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An FAQ that floods my inbox is whether the egg yolk is good for health or not. The confusion stems from the bad reputation egg has garnered over the years due to its much-hyped high cholesterol content and its related impact on heart health.

Sadly, cholesterol is the most misunderstood nutrient even today. Its integral role in human physiology is largely fogged by the alleged threat it poses to human cardio vascular system and the hullabaloo around being the cause for most dreaded heart attacks. 

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Know cholesterol better and find the answer yourself.

Do we need cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a gooey wax like substance that forms & maintains cell membranes structurally. No human cell can exist or function in absence of cholesterol. It helps body cells to adjust to temperature variation. It is a key ingredient for synthesis of critical hormones including testosterone, estrogen, progesterone and many more.

The liver needs cholesterol to produce bile juice that in turn is responsible solely for digestion of fats.

5288310170_321eb823d_060316010512.jpg Trust the sunny wonder.

Also note that it is the cholesterol that gets converted to Vitamin D in the presence of sunlight. The cholesterol saga is incomplete without mentioning its role in brain functioning and nerve tissue.

Cholesterol is required for the formation of the myelin sheath, a fatty material that surrounds long portions of nerve fibers. Myelin insulates nerve cells and enhances the passing of electrical signals throughout your nervous system's circuitry. Weigh for yourself and decide whether cholesterol is a friend or a foe.

Undoubtedly, it is a friend.

eggs-in-clouds-5_060316124953.jpg Weigh for yourself and decide whether cholesterol is a friend or a foe.

Why the bad reputation then?

Have you ever witnessed the collection of dirt and grime in the drain - pipe of kitchen sink?

Similarly, excess cholesterol in vascular system forms plaques inside arteries medically known as "Atherosclerosis" leading to incidence of hypertension and strokes.

Go deeper before brandishing cholesterol as a foe. Most of the cholesterol body needs is manufactured in liver. At this site, it is packaged as lipoproteins (combination of lipids and proteins).

The lipoproteins acts as a binder/ medium for transporting cholesterol, triglycerides and fat-soluble vitamins to the cells which need them.

When the packaged cholesterol is low in protein and dense in lipids (fats), it is called as LDL (low density lipoproteins). High amounts of LDL in blood clogs the arteries, raises BP and makes the heart pump harder till it crashes. Therefore, LDL is referred to as bad cholesterol in general.

2743288262_2fca6f992_060316125005.jpg Egg lovers should also increase the inclusion of fibre-rich sources in their diets.

However, when cholesterol is packaged as a lipoprotein with high protein content & is less dense in lipids, it is called as HDL (high density lipoprotein). HDL works as a vacuum cleaner clearing the plaques of LDL from arteries earning the reputation of good cholesterol.

Research proves it is the LDL- HDL- total cholesterol ratio that is responsible for coronary diseases and not total cholesterol. The cholesterol ratio is calculated by dividing total cholesterol by HDL number. American Heart Association (AHA) recommends keeping this ratio below 5 wherein the ideal cholesterol ratio should be 3.5.

Coming back to egg yolk

In reality, eggs don't contain LDL or HDL, they have free cholesterol (185 mg in a medium-sized egg) and once ingested in the body only then this cholesterol is transported using these lipoproteins.

Interestingly, new studies show that eating eggs increase the amount of cholesterol in high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) - the good cholesterol.

Health freaks have another reason to celebrate eggs - their low content of saturated fats, another major determinant of plasma LDL levels.

Egg is a low calorie protein rich food (contains six essential amino acids). These proteins are easily & efficiently absorbed providing health and satiety in a small package.

fully-boiled-egg-in-_060316125017.jpg Eggs are your friends.

Remember, when you discard egg yolk from your plate, you also trash some important hard to source nutrients. Eggs yolks are an important source of choline essential for brain development and brain function.

It contains coveted phytochemicals like lutein and zeaxanthein that prevents eye diseases like cataract & age related macular degeneration. Egg yolk is an excellent source of Vitamin D and calcium for strong bones and teeth. Resort to eating eggs instead of banking on exorbitantly priced vitamin supplements.

Having said that, it is still advisable for diabetics and heart patients (People who have difficulty controlling their total and LDL cholesterol) to limit their egg intake to not more than thrice a week.

Egg lovers should also increase the inclusion of fibre-rich sources in their diets. Eating whole grains, whole legumes, low GI fruits, and end number of veggies lowers cholesterol.

Research prove that soluble fibre can reduce both "bad" LDL and total cholesterol by binding cholesterol particles in the digestive system and flushing them out of the body before they're absorbed.

pepeta-per-eeda_060316125024.jpg One should watch out for saturated fats.

Eggs are nature's multivitamin and have power to nourish life within them. Bank on these inexpensive super foods.

To cut the long story short, Hypercholesterolemia (elevated cholesterol levels in blood) definitely does not result from eating egg yolks solely. One should watch out for saturated fats, high sugars, adequate fibre and protein in diet to keep a check on cholesterol levels. Bringing me back to repeating, plan your menu well.

Include all nutrients from varied sources in daily diet. Moderate and balanced eating is far better than abstinence. Remember, diet is your therapy.

So Sunday ho ya Monday... Well, you know the jingle by heart!

Writer

Nidhi Tayal Nidhi Tayal @nidhitayal20

I am a clinical nutrionist and dietician with experience of almost 20 years in therapeutic nutrition, and alumnus of Lady Irwin College, DU.

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