Eggs and Your Heart Health

Recently, I was asked about eggs and cardiovascular health.

Many people are afraid to eat cholesterol-containing foods, such as eggs. Eggs are a great source of vitamins, nutrients and amino acids. But, egg yolks contain cholesterol. What about eating cholesterol? Does cholesterol consumption increase one’s risk for atherosclerosis (plaque build up in the artery walls) and heart attacks? Do eggs clog arteries?

The ”lipid-hypothesis” theory suggests that there is a direct relationship between eating foods that are high in cholesterol (such as eggs, lobster, steak, and liver) and developing cardiovascular disease. This theory has long been controversial. Recent research suggests that dietary cholesterol isn’t nearly as dangerous as most people believe. Recent studies have demonstrated that eating three or more eggs per day raises HDL (the “good cholesterol”) and also produces larger HDL and LDL (the “bad cholesterol”) particles. Bigger more robust HDL particles are better at ridding the bloodstream of harmful cholesterol. And bigger LDL particles are less likely to invade the arterial wall and clump into plaque.

Cholesterol is important for every cell in our body, especially brain cells. We need cholesterol to make digestive bile acids that allow us to actually utilize nutrients from our food. Cholesterol is necessary to manufacturer sex hormones (testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen) and necessary to manufacturer vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. So, with the PREVENT method, we do not recommend strict restriction of dietary cholesterol for most people. Our genes influence cholesterol levels more than diet. So, it is important to know your genetic make-up for tailored nutritional recommendations that favor your DNA.

Part of this blog is paraphrased with permission from “Beat the Heart Attack Gene” written by Amy Doneen and Brad Bale, our current leading experts in heart attack and stroke prevention.  I highly recommend everyone read and follow the recommendations in this book.

Bale, Bradley, MD, Doneen, Amy, DNP, ARNP, Collier Cool, Lisa “Beat the Heart Attack Gene:  The Revolutionary Plan to Prevent Heart Disease, Stroke, and Diabetes” 2014  Wiley

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