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Fear Not those Humble Eggs



by Susan Fekety, RN, MSN, CNM



Candy rabbits and egg coloring kits have appeared in the supermarket, so it must be spring now. I think it's okay for you to eat your Easter Eggs after you find them under the couch so – let's talk ova. Whether you prefer natural dyes from purple cabbage or the lurid pink of the classic Paz, I say – enjoy; eggs are good, simple, whole food.

Egg concern arises regularly in my practice. When I put together a therapeutic nutrition program for someone with say, high blood sugar or overweight or high cholesterol or a hormone imbalance, eggs are on the list of protein sources. Eyes widen when we get to that part of the page. "I can have eggs?" they exclaim, as though I'd just said "You also must get your nose pierced." It's a testament to the superb marketing job done in the 1970s which equated eggs with high cholesterol and heart attacks. But lately, even the American Heart Association is backing off from egg prohibition. So lighten up.

Why bother? Perfect for many creatures including those not yet hatched, eggs are a wicked cheap source of perfect protein, plus B vitamins and good-for-your-eyes antioxidants. The yolks provide choline, an important nutrient you probably never heard of; it's essential to nerve signaling and shows promise in the prevention of dementia, anxiety, and other brain problems. Many people, especially women, are short on choline – not good if you plan to think or reproduce. Fetal brains especially need choline. (Remember those movies we watched as kids, where the sly fox raided the bird family's nest and ate up the eggs? Oh, I hated those movies. But guess how that fox got so smart?)

Medical egg prohibition dates back to when folks thought heart attacks came directly from dietary cholesterol and saturated fat plugging up your arteries. But despite the low-fat food and margarine industries, cholesterol-lowering drugs remain top sellers in the United States, because heart disease isn't simply a plumbing problem. Turns out, dietary cholesterol is not as problematic as are refined carbohydrates like sugar and processed grains, and inflammatory fats (like trans-fats.) These foods make your liver make lots of extra cholesterol (my liver makes cholesterol?!) and injures the blood vessels at the same time – the heart disease one-two punch. Two caveats, though: if your LDL ("bad") cholesterol is high and you have not tuned up your food schtick overall (ie, you eat your eggs with bacon and a cinnamon bun) abundant dietary cholesterol should still be a no-no for you. And quite a few people have allergic reactions to eggs – some subtle, some dramatic. Be sensible please.

Egg shopping can be complex. For health and spiritual reasons, seek out pastured organic eggs from a humane-certified supplier. Shell color is nutritionally immaterial though varied hues can be festive. Omega 3 enriched eggs are worth it. Protect the yolks from air and heat if you can – so poach or boil or over-easy your eggs, as a rule.

Demonized as it is, cholesterol is an essential element of every cell in your body. It's the starter kit for your sex hormones – and you can't have a successful Spring Fertility Holiday without those! I worry about the long-term implications of driving cholesterol levels into the sub-basement with drugs – but that's another article. Till then – go ahead, kick back a few eggs and don't clutch your chest just thinking about it! (Oh – and that "stand on the end" thing? Not limited to the Spring Equinox, and quite entertaining – give it a whirl!)




Article © Copyright 2008 by Susan Fekety. All rights reserved worldwide. Duplication or reprints only with express permission of the author or, for a nonprofit purpose, without consent so long as the author's name and contact information are included as follows: "Reproduced with permission from Susan Fekety," These articles are provided for informational purposes only. Their content is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own health care professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem promptly contact your health care provider.




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