Can Eggs cause heart disease?
Many of us have heard people say they don’t eat the ‘yellow part’ (the yolk) of the egg because its high in cholesterol, but is there any truth to this? In order to answer this question we need to first learn a little about cholesterol; what it is and how it affects the body and more importantly how it affects our heart.
We all know cholesterol is bad for the heart, but there are two types of cholesterol; Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and High-density lipoproteins (HDL). Most people believe that all cholesterol is bad, but this Is not the case, HDL is a good form of cholesterol whereas LDL is the harmful form. Low-density lipoprotein is the cholesterol which builds up in the arteries and then causing heart disease. This is the one that your doctor warns you about when talking about high levels of cholesterol as it can lead to a number of complications. Once you have a build-up of bad LDL in your arteries this can lead to thickening of the walls of the arteries therefore reducing blood flow to the heart muscle. The heart muscle needs a good supply of blood in order to pump efficiently, a reduction in blood flow can lead to a heart attack or stroke. High-density lipoproteins on the other hand work in the opposite way to LDL in that they help to carry away the bad cholesterol to the liver for it to be broken down and processed. This leads the harmful cholesterol to be taken away from the arteries leading to a lower incidence of heart disease. However HDL does not carry away all of the ‘bad’ cholesterol so you have to include dietary changes as well as exercise as part of your cholesterol lowering programme.
So back to the original question, can eggs cause heart disease, in terms of cholesterol content the answer is no. Originally it was thought that Eggs contained a high level of bad cholesterol, therefore the recommendation was no more than 3-4 eggs a week. However new studies have shown that eggs have a small impact on the bad LDL cholesterol levels of the body. Eggs have been found to be low in saturated fats meaning that consuming eggs as much as once daily will not increase heart disease risk. You must remember that this is all in conjunction with having a healthy balanced diet.
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Diet is ultimately going to be the deciding factor in how well our cholesterol levels are controlled, whether we eat eggs or not the remainder of what we eat will have a significant role in our heart health. You need to ensure you eat a balance and varied diet with lots of fresh vegetables, limiting red meats and sticking to leaner cuts. Incorporating fish in your weekly diet will also help, studies have shown that oily fish once a week will help to reduce bad cholesterol. To see more detailed dietary advice then try this NHS weight loss guide.
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