“Cutting dietary cholesterol is almost irrelevant when it comes to promoting healthy blood cholesterol levels and heart health,” says Donald K. Layman, Ph.D., professor emeritus of food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois.
For decades, much of what experts knew about preventing heart diseasecame from the 1940s Framingham study, which linked high blood cholesterol levels to a higher risk of heart disease and heart attack.
So, in an attempt to slash blood cholesterol levels, the medical community suggested slashing dietary cholesterol, like in whole eggs.
But here’s the thing: “Less than half of people in the study who had heart disease had high cholesterol levels,” Layman says. “High cholesterol wasn’t even as good as a coin toss at predicting heart disease.”
Dietary cholesterol barely moves the blood cholesterol needle—except in people who have problems metabolizing dietary cholesterol, says Patricia Vassallo, M.D., cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
To improve your blood cholesterol levels naturally, you should stop eating trans fats, eat more omega-3 fatty acids, and chow on more fiber, according to Mayo Clinic.
Unfortunately for egg-lovers, it wasn’t until 2015 that U.S. Dietary Guidelines nixed its longstanding recommendation to cut cholesterol intake.
If you’re healthy, you don’t have to eat cholesterol. That’s because your liver is ready to make up for any cholesterol deficiencies in your diet. But there’s no real reason not to—especially when it comes to egg yolks.
After all, eggs are the No. 1 bioavailable source of protein, meaning that your body can absorb and use their protein better than it can absorb and use protein from any other food, says Patton.
A whole egg will score you about six to seven grams of protein, depending on its size. (That’s right: The yolks contain protein, too.)
Meanwhile, research from the University of Surrey in the U.K. shows that eggs have one of the lowest energy-to-nutrient density ratios of any food, period. Egg yolks in particular are rich in phosphorus, zinc, and B vitamins, choline, and antioxidants.
Combined, all of those nutrients mean better energy, less inflammation, easier weight loss, more muscle, and a smarter brain.
In fact, in a 2015 American Heart Journal study of people who already had coronary artery disease, eating even three eggs a day was okay.
Source: Men’s Health