Eggs have spent years busily redeeming their reputation after being labeled cholesterol time bombs way back when. It's not that they don't have cholesterol -- "There's more in one tiny yolk than in an 8-ounce sirloin steak," says Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of Age-Proof Your Body. But it turns out that the really, really bad guy for your heart is saturated fat. And an egg contains only 1.5 grams of saturated fat compared with, say, 7 grams in a tablespoon of butter -- and 16 grams in that steak.
True, an egg supplies 215 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol -- practically your heart-healthy limit of 300 mg a day -- but a recent Harvard study found that people could eat up to six eggs a week with no harm to their hearts. Plus, it's not hard to minimize or even skip the cholesterol. Just eat fewer yolks. Or ditch them entirely. (The rule of thumb: Whether youíre making omelets or egg salad, for every yolk, use two egg whites.)
There are plenty of good reasons to make eggs part of your healthy diet. Here are five:
1. Get Great
Eggs contain about 6 grams of protein, evenly divided between the yolk and the white, and that protein is super-high quality. Itís so easily digested and absorbed that eggs rate a nearly perfect 100 on the protein scale.
2. Feed Your
Give brain-saving credit to the yolk for delivering 162 mg of choline, a building block for the specialized fats that make a memory-regulating chemical called acetylcholine. Each yolk supplies about 162 mg of choline, which is roughly a third of your recommended intake.
3. Protect Your
Several egg brands are now fortified with the heart-healthy fats known as omega-3s, and specifically with an omega-3 known as DHA. "The DHA form comprises 75 percent of the omega-3s in the brain, and early research shows DHAs might help reduce depression, dementia, and possibly even Alzheimer's disease," says Somer.
4. Stay Slim
A large egg is what's known as a nutrient-dense food. That means that for a mere 80 calories per egg, a woman can meet all of her daily vitamin B12 needs, 23 percent of her selenium, 13 percent of her vitamin B2, and 12 percent of her vitamin A. Plus, the high protein content helps stave off hunger. Men get less but still make a dent in their daily goals.
5. Stay Young
Now that you know you can have a scrambled egg almost every day -- especially if you do a little yolk trimming -- the next time you're thinking a doughnut and coffee is all you need in the morning, remember this: Eating a healthy breakfast can make your RealAge as much as 1.1 years younger.