Are Eggs Healthy?: Benefits and Nutrition

A lot of misconceptions exist about eating eggs daily.

When it comes to foods with confusing health messages, eggs may take the cake. Despite being a breakfast and baking staple, in 1968, the American Heart Association (AHA) advised limiting egg consumption to less than three eggs per week.

At that time, the AHA cited the concern that eggs could raise cholesterol and contribute to heart disease. However, by 2015, most health promotion agencies had dropped egg restrictions.

So is it really okay—healthy, even—to eat eggs daily? For the bottom line on this misunderstood topic, Health spoke with Peter Schulman, MD, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Connecticut.


Eggs are a staple breakfast item that might provide some health benefits. For example, eggs help increase "good" cholesterol levels and may protect against heart disease.

Increase 'Good' Cholesterol Levels

Eggs have more cholesterol than other foods, with about 186 milligrams in one large egg. Cholesterol is a substance in your blood, made in the liver and found in food. Cholesterol isn't bad. However, having too much of it can build up in your body and raise your risk of heart disease. 

"Now, we know that what really raises your cholesterol is saturated fat in the diet and not so much the cholesterol in foods," explained Dr. Schulman. Saturated fat is found in butter, milk, ice cream, cheese, and meat.

"When we eat cholesterol, it's broken down in the gut. It's not absorbed as a whole cholesterol molecule," said Dr. Schulman.

Meanwhile, the body breaks down saturated fats into short chains of fatty acids. Fatty acids make up the fat in our foods and bodies. The gallbladder breaks down fat into fatty acids that the body absorbs. Fatty acids chains can link, which significantly increases cholesterol levels.

Another thing to consider is the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol ratio to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels. LDL is "bad" cholesterol. In contrast, HDL is "good" cholesterol.

"Eggs raise the HDL to a greater extent than it does the LDL, which leads to a more favorable risk profile when it comes to cardiovascular risk," noted Dr. Schulman.

Might Protect Against Heart Disease and Stroke

On top of cholesterol's effects on the body, a study published in 2018 in Heart found that people who eat eggs aren't worse off than those who don't. In fact, the researchers did not find a connection between one-a-day egg consumption and heart disease, even in people whose genetics put them at high risk.

The researchers noted that eggs may even have a protective effect. People who ate up to one egg per day had an 11% lower risk of heart disease—and an 18% lower risk of dying from it—than those who did not. 

People who ate eggs daily also had a 26% lower risk of hemorrhagic stroke than others. A hemorrhagic stroke happens when blood vessels rupture and cause bleeding in the brain.


One large raw egg contains the following nutrients:

Are Eggs Healthy?
Calories  71.5 
Fat 4.76g 
Sodium  71mg 
Carbohydrates  0.36g
Fiber 0g 
Added sugars  0g 
Protein  6.3g 
Source: Department of Agriculture

Eggs are a good source of protein, which helps make and repair your body's cells. Also, high-protein foods give you energy and keep you full.

"If you eat a breakfast that's only high in carbohydrates and no protein, you're going to be hungry again very quickly," said Dr. Schulman. Instead, choose high-fiber carbs, like oatmeal, and add an egg or two for staying power, advised Dr. Schulman.

Also, eggs contain choline, vitamins E and D, and folate, which each play key roles in the body. Choline is an essential nutrient that helps with memory, mood, and muscle control. Vitamin E protects your cells from damage. Vitamin D helps build bones and fight infections. Lastly, folate helps make red blood cells.


Egg allergies are one of the most common food allergies among children. People with an egg allergy should avoid consuming eggs. Still, some evidence suggests that cooked egg yolks have less protein and are less likely to cause an allergic reaction than egg whites.

Also, consuming raw or undercooked eggs increases the risk of foodborne illness. Foodborne illness may cause diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Older adults, children, people with weak immune systems, and pregnant people are at risk of having complications from foodborne illnesses.

For example, in pregnant people, Salmonella infection may increase preterm delivery and impact fetal growth. Rarely, Salmonella infection causes bacteria to enter the bloodstream, also known as bacteremia. Bacteremia raises the risk of miscarriage. The infection can also transmit to the fetus and cause sepsis, which is a blood infection.

Vegan eggs are a sustainable option for people with egg allergies, those at risk of foodborne illness, and vegans. Some evidence suggests that vegan eggs can provide the same nutritional value as hen's eggs.

Tips for Consuming Eggs

Instead of storing fresh eggs in a tray or on the fridge door shelf, keep them in their carton. Storing fresh eggs in their carton in the refrigerator will keep them fresh for about three to five weeks.

There are several ways to prepare and eat eggs, including hard-boiled, scrambled, fried, and more. Try some of the following recipes to add eggs to your diet:

  • Scramble eggs with a side of fruit and a healthy carb, like whole-grain toast.
  • Cook a protein-packed vegetarian hash for breakfast.
  • For lunch or dinner, top a salad with scrambled or hard-boiled eggs.

A Quick Review

While eggs contain cholesterol, they are unlikely to cause heart disease. On the contrary, eggs can be beneficial to your diet. However, consuming eggs may not be for everyone, especially people with egg allergies, those at risk of foodborne illness, and vegans.

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