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It’s sad…eggs are so misunderstood, especially to those that are focused on lowering cholesterol naturally. Many people think that because eggs contain cholesterol, they must cause high cholesterol levels in those people who consume them. Not true!
As it turns out, while the average egg does contain around 213 milligrams of cholesterol, eggs are one of the most nourishing and easy-to-digest foods on the planet.
In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, participants’ blood levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides were not affected by eating an egg a day. The study examined the effects of eating one egg a day on blood levels of lutein, zeaxanthin, cholesterol and triglycerides in 33 men and women over age 60. After a 5-week period in which the participants ate an egg daily, their blood levels of lutein and zeaxanthin – important protective carotenoid nutrients – significantly increased by 26% and 38%, respectively.
But more importantly, even though eggs are well-known for containing cholesterol, participants’ blood levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides were not affected by eating an egg a day.
The Benefits of Organic Eggs for Lowering Cholesterol Naturally
When possible, you should eat organic eggs to avoid the consumption of toxic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics and growth hormones that are dispensed to non-organic raised hens. When hens consume non-organic raised grains that have been sprayed with pesticides and fertilizers, their bodies absorb all the chemicals in the grains. Non-organic hens are also injected with antibiotics and hormones to enhance their growth.
All of these toxic chemicals are stored in the hens’ body fat. When a hen starts producing an egg, the chemicals are then excreted into the yolks. So, when you eat a non-organic egg yolk, you are consuming trace amounts of toxic chemicals that the chicken either consumed or was provided via injection. On the contrary, organic chickens are fed, and have more access to plant materials, which results in a more nutritious egg yolk.
If Eggs Don’t Raise Cholesterol Levels, What Does?
It is a myth that the amount of cholesterol contained in a food is what influences your body’s cholesterol level. In fact, the majority of cholesterol in your bloodstream comes from what your liver is manufacturing and distributing. This is because 95% of the cholesterol in your body is made by the liver. So, you should be looking to avoid foods that cause your liver to pump out more cholesterol.
The truth is that diets high in carbohydrates, especially sugar, lead to increases in blood cholesterol levels. Carbohydrates are processed and changed to blood glucose (sugar) in the body. The blood glucose is absorbed into the blood stream and then used for energy. If there is extra blood glucose that is not used for energy, the body converts the glucose into triglycerides.
The triglycerides (also known as fat) are then stored in the fatty tissues. This, in turn, causes weight gain and increased cholesterol levels. That’s why people with high triglycerides often have a high levels of LDL (“bad”) and lower levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol, too. As a result, those looking to lower cholesterol naturally should remove or greatly reduce the following foods from their diet: Breads, rolls, muffins, sweets, sugar, candy, doughnuts, cakes, cookies, and cereals.
How Do You Like Your Eggs?
But don’t worry about the poor misunderstood egg. You can eat as much of this nourishing food as you like while lowering cholesterol naturally at the same time. In fact, nutrition expert Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, MMedSci (neurology), MMedSci (nutrition) and author of the GAPS diet recommends two to six uncooked or lightly cooked egg yolks per day for a GAPS child (autistic) and four to eight egg yolks per day for an adult. Many nutrition-oriented doctors including Dr. Campbell-McBride say eating eggs raw is generally safe from Salmonella exposure as long as you are eating the free-range organic type eggs.
So what about you? How do you like your eggs? Are you getting enough in your diet? Give us your feedback in the Comments section below.
This post originally appeared in 2012 and has been updated.