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An Egg a Day Keeps Stroke Risk at Bay, Study Suggests

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Enjoy that omelet a little more this morning: People who eat one egg per day could significantly reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the latest research from China. Talk about egg-cellent news!

The May 2018 study published in the scientific journal Heart analyzed 416,213 adults and asked them how frequently they ate eggs. The researchers followed up with those same participants after a median of 8.9 years had passed. They learned that 83,977 cases of cardiovascular disease had been documented, and that 9,985 of the participants had died from cardiovascular disease. The results showed that daily egg consumption was linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease overall, compared with people not consuming eggs. Most notably, daily egg consumers had a 26 percent lower risk of hemorrhagic stroke, which involves either a brain aneurysm burst or a weakened blood vessel leak, and is responsible for about 40 percent of all stroke deaths.

It's worthwhile to note that this was an observational study, which means it doesn't prove that eating eggs prevents cardiovascular disease; rather, the researchers found a connection between eating eggs regularly and a lower overall risk of experiencing that serious health issue later on. That said, these findings are still important because they contribute to the ever-growing body of research that supports eating eggs as part of a healthy diet. After all, this is far from the first time eggs have been found to be heart-healthy.

The Many Health Benefits of Eggs

Research over the past few years has shown eggs to be good for the heart and the waistline. According to a May 2018 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that adults with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes who consumed up to one dozen eggs per week for an entire year did not increase their risk factors for cardiovascular disease or diabetes. And if that good news wasn’t enough, eggs were also shown to aid in weight loss.

Study authors first instructed the volunteers to follow either a high-egg diet (12 eggs per week) or low-egg diet (less than two eggs per week) for three months in order to see if eggs kept their weight steady and had any adverse effects on their heart health. In part two of the trial, the participants were then given either a high-egg or low-egg diet that was designed for weight loss for another nine months.

Regardless of the trial stage and the amount of eggs that were consumed over the course of the year, both groups did not display any cardiovascular risk markers, such as high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure. Plus, adults in both groups lost the same amount of weight. The research team believes these results are beneficial not only to those living with pre-diabetes and diabetes, but for the general population as well.

"Eggs are a source of protein and micronutrients that could support a range of health and dietary factors including helping to regulate the intake of fat and carbohydrate, eye and heart health, healthy blood vessels and healthy pregnancies,” said lead study author Nick Fuller, MD, of the Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders in the Charles Perkins Center at the University of Sydney, in a press release.

Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area, is not surprised by these latest results.

“Eggs are a high-quality source of protein that our bodies can easily utilize — you get 6 grams of protein per large egg for just 70 calories,” Gorin says. “Protein helps keep you fuller for longer, which can help with weight loss by helping to keep your hunger levels under control. And while eggs do contain cholesterol, we no longer think the connection between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol levels is as much we thought in the past.”

In fact, according to a March 2016 study published in the American Journal of Clinincal Nutrition, eating one egg each day does not elevate the risk of incident coronary heart disease, even in adults who are predisposed to being diagnosed with high cholesterol.

“The 2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines reassured us that the connection between dietary cholesterol from eggs and blood cholesterol levels is inconclusive, meaning more research is needed,” Gorin says. “Thus, the current guidelines removed the recommendation to continue limiting the dietary cholesterol to 300 milligrams daily.”

As a vegetarian and registered dietitian nutritionist, Gorin is an egg-eater herself, and she consistently recommends this any-time-of-day food to her clients. “Does this mean you should eat a half-dozen eggs in one day? No, but an egg or two a day is completely fine for most people,” Gorin says. (Her favorite egg meals include omelets, hard-boiled eggs, and deviled eggs with an avocado filling.)

Yet keep in mind that it’s still important to tally the amount of saturated fat content from eggs into your overall daily diet, where a healthy eating plan would include 10 percent of total daily calories from saturated fat, Gorin says. “One egg contains 1.6 grams of saturated fat, which amounts to about 1 percent of calories in a 1,500-calorie daily diet,” she concludes.

This article was written by Amy Capetta.

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