According to one study, 90 percent of Americans had some degree of choline deficiency.
LUTEIN, ZEAXANTHIN: Among other nutrients found in egg yolks are lutein and zeaxanthin, which have important protective benefits for the eyes, reducing the risk of both macular degeneration and cataracts.
Lutein also protects against the early progression of heart disease, according to the American Heart Association.
And eggs may be beneficial to heart health in other ways, as well. They tend to raise HDL (the good cholesterol) and increase the size of LDL particles, making them less likely to pose a heart risk.
The high cholesterol content of eggs is generally not considered as important as once believed. Saturated and trans fats are much more important factors in raising serum cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
THE OTHER SIDE: There are, however, individuals who need to limit their egg consumption--most notably diabetics and persons with familial, or genetically determined, high cholesterol.
In addition, some doctors believe that persons with heart disease should limit their egg consumption and that even healthy persons should eat no more than one egg a day, including the amounts found in breads and baked goods.
The Physicians' Health Study concluded that the consumption of up to six eggs a week "has no major effect on the risk of CVD (cardiovascular disease) and mortality." But subjects consuming seven or more eggs a week had a slightly greater risk of overall mortality, and this association was stronger among diabetic subjects. People with diabetes eating the most eggs had a 1.5 times higher risk than people with diabetes eating the fewest eggs.
Most eggs on the market are produced in a factory environment with thousands of hens crammed into a small space and fed a grain-based diet. In such an environment, sanitation is an issue. Alternatives may be labeled "organic," "cage free" or "pastured." Because of the diet and living conditions of the laying hens, these alternatives are believed by some to be tastier and more nutritious.
Except for the Egg Board, no one is suggesting that you start making eggs a major part of your diet. If you like them, though, and you're not a diabetic, it's probably not necessary to deny yourself a simple pleasure.
This information was submitted by Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital in St. Johnsbury and is meant to complement, not replace, the advice and care you receive from your health care provider.