Talk about a comeback. Once considered a nutritional no-no, eggs have now risen to coveted superfood status. Turns out, their bad reputation was something of a misunderstanding. There’s actually a whole lot in that little 70-calorie package that’s really stellar for health. So if you’ve been avoiding eggs, here are five reasons to bring them back:
1. They’re one of the cheapest protein sources around.
Yes, even if you buy organic eggs. A conventional egg costs less than 20 cents (organic closer to 30 or 40 cents) and delivers six grams of high-quality protein—which means it has all the amino acids you have to get from food, in the same way that meat does. Protein is also thought to be the most “satiating” (satisfying) of all nutrients. And remember that about half the protein is in the yolk, not just the whites.
2. They curb mid-morning cravings.
An egg breakfast delays hunger longer than grain-based meals like pancakes and bagels, suggest multiple studies. In one, men who ate eggs in the morning were more satisfied, had lower circulating levels of hunger hormones, and ate less for lunch (and, in fact, the whole day!) than those who had a bagel breakfast.
3. They protect your eyes from harmful light.
Eggs are rich something called lutein, a yellow pigment that’s concentrated in the retina of the eye. Lutein helps protect eyes from macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss. It also guards against damage of everyday “blue light” that’s emitted from smartphones, tablets, and computers. Though research on blue light is still slim, some worry that it may contribute to cancer risk, obesity, and eye disease. The egg’s lutein is found in the yolk– another reason to eat the whole thing, not just the white.
4. They’re not the artery-clogging villains you might think they are.
For decades, eggs were accused of crimes they didn’t commit—namely, raising your cholesterol and upping the risk for heart disease. It’s now understood that cholesterol from foods like eggs and shellfish is not the danger it was thought to be. In fact, the newest version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans removed the recommendation to limit dietary cholesterol to 300mg a day.
5. They help you hold onto muscle mass.
We start losing muscle mass around age 30, by as much as five percent a decade! Muscle loss can make you feel weak, slash your stamina, and eventually up your risk of debilitating falls when you’re older. Exercise, particularly strength training, will help you preserve some of that muscle, but getting enough protein is key too. Eggs contain high-quality protein that repairs muscles after exercise and helps rebuilds them.