BLOG: Whether you like to dye them, hunt for them, or simply eat them, I can’t help but talk about eggs in the weeks leading up to my favorite spring holiday! In fact, the tradition behind the “Easter Egg” dates back centuries, when people first began to realize the value of an egg. Even today, eggs remain one of the highest-quality foods on the market.
Unfortunately, claims suggesting that dietary cholesterol, found in egg yolks, may increase risk of heart disease have significantly changed the way many view eggs. While it is true that high levels of cholesterol in the blood can damage your heart, the cholesterol we eat is very different. In fact, the cholesterol found in our bloodstream is more likely influenced by the saturated fat we consume than by the amount of cholesterol in our diet.
What does that mean?
Eggs may not be to blame for the increased rates of heart disease in the United States. It is believed that saturated fat, found only minimally in eggs, is the real culprit behind elevated blood cholesterol. Furthermore, eggs actually contain many healthy nutrients that are essential for reducing the risk of heart disease!
To begin, eggs are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, or “good fats.” These, and other nutrients found in eggs, work together to help keep your heart rhythm regular, lower blood pressure and actually remove cholesterol from your arteries! Eggs also contain vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that can prevent damage to the heart caused by high cholesterol in the blood.
That being said, not all eggs are created equal. As with most foods, eggs lose more than just flavor when they are stored for a long period of time. Long shipping and storage time may result in thinner eggshells, therefore making the heart healthy nutrients inside more vulnerable and less effective.
In fact, selecting local eggs is one of the keys to ensuring the nutritional value of your purchase. For those in Upstate New York, selecting eggs is as easy as opening the cooler at your neighborhood Stewart’s Shop. Every carton of Stewart’s eggs comes from Thomas’ Poultry Farm, in Schuylerville, making them the freshest you can buy!
Stop into your neighborhood store this season to pick up a carton of fresh eggs. And if you plan to hunt of eggs, make sure to find them quickly…remember they can lose nutrients over time!
-Christine Sloat, RD, RDN
Christine Sloat is a Registered Dietitian and life-long resident of upstate New York.
She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Dietetics from the University of Delaware, with clinical training at Albany Medical Center. She has a nutrition consulting business, Nutritious Notions LLC.