As Easter approaches, our thoughts turn to eggs – for decorating, hunting and eating in a chocolate form.
Eggs are also the quintessential breakfast food. You can eat them with bacon, with toast, with sautéed veggies or as an omelette with all your favorite trimmings. But should you eat the yolk, the sunny yellow center of the egg that contains many nutrients required for our bodies?
Opinions fall on both sides of the shell. Eggs are natural foods that contain an average of six grams of protein, half of which is in the yolk, according to the American Egg Board. Yet yolks are high in cholesterol and some medical professionals advise people to reduce or eliminate yolks from their diets.
Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett recommends talking with your doctor to learn what is best for your body. Here are some pros and cons of eating egg yolks.
Mayo Clinic cardiologist Thomas Behrenbeck, M.D., says that an egg yolk has about 213 mg of cholesterol, and the daily recommended intake of cholesterol is 300 mg per day if you are healthy. Those who have cardiovascular disease, diabetes or a high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol level should limit their intake to less than 200 mg per day. That means one egg yolk and you are over your limit. Among people who don’t have those medical conditions, the amount of dietary cholesterol that can have a negative effect varies from one person to another, Behrenbeck says. Low cholesterol alternatives to eating whole eggs include using only egg whites, which contain zero cholesterol, or using an egg substitute.
On the plus side, egg yolks contain choline, a member of the B-vitamin family that helps our brains function and enhances our memories. Alternate dietary sources of choline include soybeans, peanuts, potatoes, cauliflower, lentils, oats, sesame seeds and flax seeds.
Keep an Eye On It
Egg yolks also contain lutein and zeaxanthin that contribute to improving eye health and protecting eyes from ultraviolet rays, according to the Alberta Egg Producers in Canada. Alternate sources of lutein and zeaxanthin include kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, corn and Brussels sprouts.
Egg yolks also contain many of the nutrients missing from the average adult's diet such as magnesium, calcium, iron, and vitamins A, E, B6 and D, say nutritionists.
The bottom line is, like most things, eggs – yolks and all – are fine for most of us when eaten in moderation and when part of a healthy lifestyle.
Judi Sheppard Missett, who turned her love of jazz dance into a worldwide dance exercise phenomenon, founded the Jazzercise dance fitness program in 1969. She has advanced the business opportunities of women and men in the fitness industry by growing the program into an international franchise business that today, hosts a network of 7,800 instructors teaching more than 32,000 classes weekly in 32 countries.
The workout program, which offers a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, cardio box and Latin style movements, has positively affected millions of people worldwide. Benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility, as well as an overall "feel good" factor. Additional Jazzercise programs include Junior Jazzercise, Jazzercise Lite and Personal Touch. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.