Eggs are delicious and diverse foods. You can scramble, fry, bake, or poach then, depending on your mood. Not only do they taste great, but they are also an excellent source of dietary protein, cholesterol, and a variety of essential nutrients.
There have been numerous papers looking at the impact of eggs on heart health. One large study found that people who regularly consumed eggs (around one per day) had a significantly lower risk of heart disease compared to those who ate them less frequently.
A study from Peking University in Beijing wanted to build on the understanding of this relationship. “Few studies have looked at the role that plasma cholesterol metabolism plays in the association between egg consumption and the risk of cardiovascular diseases, so we wanted to help address this gap,” explains first author Lang Pan.
The team recruited 4,778 participants for the study: 3,401 of them had cardiovascular disease, and 1,377 did not. Using a technique called targeted nuclear magnetic resonance, the researchers measured 225 metabolites from blood plasma samples from the participants. 24 of these metabolites were linked to the number of eggs the participants reportedly consumed.
The people who reportedly ate a moderate number of eggs have higher levels of the protein apolipoprotein A1 in their blood. This molecule is a core component of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) – also known as “good lipoprotein” – which helps clear cholesterol from blood vessel walls. This beneficial metabolite consequentially protects from heart disease and strokes by lowering the chance of vessel blockage from cholesterol.
14 other metabolites linked to heart disease were also found to be influenced by egg consumption. The scientists found that people who consumed more eggs have higher levels of beneficial metabolites and lower levels of harmful ones compared to others who ate fewer eggs.
“Together, our results provide a potential explanation for how eating a moderate amount of eggs can help protect against heart disease,” says author Canqing Yu, “More studies are needed to verify the causal roles that lipid metabolites play in the association between egg consumption and the risk of cardiovascular disease.”
Currently, national Chinese dietary guidelines suggest eating one egg a day, however, data clearly shows consumption is much lower than this. This study highlights the importance of this suggestion and could help encourage people to increase their consumption, helping decrease rates of cardiovascular disease in the population.