I'd always viewed eggs as one of the few foods carefully safeguarded from the volatility of the food industry; unlike fat, coconut oil, and sugar, they would always be considered a healthy option. That is until Netflix's documentary What the Health likened them to processed meats and even cigarettes (and caused me to rethink what I put into my body).
It turns out I'm not the only one confused about the nutritional content of this breakfast staple. MindBodyGreen recently tapped a few of the country's top functional medicine doctors to set the record straight once and for all, admitting that "eggs have long been in the crossfire of controversy" when it comes to health.
Much of this controversy is centered around their cholesterol content—one egg yolk contains 186mg of cholesterol (you're only supposed to have 300mg a day). With that said, "eggs have gotten an undeserved reputation as one of the leading causes of high cholesterol," said Tiffany Lester, MD, the medical director of Parsley Health. "The suggestion that the higher saturated fat content in eggs accelerates atherosclerosis as much as smoking does is false." She cites new research from the Harvard School of Public Health that has debunked this idea.
In fact, most of the doctors interviewed answered yes when asked if eggs were healthy. "Eggs can be a highly beneficial food for women because of how they support hormonal health," adds Jolene Brighten, a naturopathic doctor and women's health expert. "Eggs are an excellent source of vitamin A, which allows your cells to use the thyroid hormone, which affects your weight, mood, energy, and digestive health. They are full of biotin and choline, which is crucial in fertility and pregnancy." Lester even called them "a cornerstone of a healthy diet," as they contain "vital nutrients like choline, selenium, and vitamin B12."
With that said, the type of eggs you eat matters a lot. "The sourcing for your eggs is of utmost importance, and it's definitely worth spending the extra money or time to find pastured eggs, ideally purchased directly from a farmer," writes the publication. "The anemic eggs from conventional factory farms are damaging to your body, to the animals, and to the planet," added Ellen Vora, MD. The bottom line? If you like eggs, go for it, but make sure you're buying eggs that are good for both your body and the planet.