Eggs have finally won the debate raging in nutrition circles for decades. They ARE good for your overall health as a recent exhaustive study by Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health concluded, notwithstanding their high cholesterol level which has been associated with risk for heart attacks, coronary heart disease and stroke. The study found that, for the vast majority, the only association between a higher intake of eggs and cardiovascular risk was for people with type 2 diabetes. The results are consistent with the American Heart Association 2019 cholesterol advisory, and previous guidance from a 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.
Eggs Contain a Variety of Brain Healthy Nutrients
- Eggs are packed with choline, a nutrient that is getting more and more attention as a powerhouse in boosting brain health. Your brain converts chlorine into acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps brain cells communicate with each other, and studies have linked it to better memory and mental function. Many people don’t get enough choline in their diet. Eating eggs is an easy way to get choline, because egg yolks are among the most concentrated sources of this nutrient. Other food sources for chlorine include wheat germ and meats, especially organ meats such as liver.
- Eggs are a rich source of vitamins B6 and B12 which are important for brain health and development, and may help reduce your risk of dementia, heart disease, and cancer. B vitamins have been linked to slowing the progression of mental decline in patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment.
- Folic acid, found in eggs, is important for the nervous system affecting mood and cognitive function especially in older people. Researchers have found that folate deficiency in the elderly increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
- The antioxidant lutein, which gives egg yolks their bright yellow color, is well known for boosting eye health providing protection against diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. More recently, researchers have found a connection between lutein and better cognition across different domains like memory, language, and learning.
- The bad rap against eggs for years has been cholesterol. Despite its longstanding and misunderstood reputation, cholesterol plays a vital role in brain health. Your brain needs it to function properly. “Good” cholesterol can be found in fish and seafood, which are considered the healthiest, with eggs following in third place. Cholesterol is found in the yellow yolk – be sure to eat the whole egg!
How many eggs a day should you eat?
So how many eggs can you eat every day now knowing that they are jam-packed with vitamins and antioxidants that can boost your brain health? Scientists and nutritionists agree – everything in moderation. It’s been proven that up to one egg a day is fine. Average it out over the week – you can certainly eat two eggs per breakfast, but just two or three times per week.
Here are some of my favorite egg recipes!
Interested in learning more about other brain healthy foods?
My series on Brain Boosting Superfoods covers all the top contenders, such as leafy green vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, olive oil, and seafood.
In 2009 my company, Senior Living Residences, launched our Brain Healthy Cooking Program in an effort to boost the brain and overall body health of seniors living in our Assisted Living communities. Our recipes are full of the foods, flavors and aromas of the Mediterranean. To enhance our knowledge of the Mediterranean Diet we forged a years-long affiliation with Oldways, a nonprofit organization well known for creating the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid.