Health Benefits Of Eating Eggs


Have you ever been told to avoid eating too many eggs? That they will raise your cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions? These are two common myths that stem from an outdated theory that dietary cholesterol directly impacts our blood cholesterol levels.1 In fact, research has shown that eggs can be highly beneficial for our long-term health and prevent  chronic diseases.

Eggs contain an abundance of bioactive compounds that have a positive effect on our bodies. So much so that they are now often referred to as a ‘functional food’, meaning they have a beneficial effect beyond their traditional nutritional content.2 For example, eggs have been shown to have antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-cancer effects.2 This article debunks the myths about eggs, outlines their health benefits, and suggests ways to add them to your diet. To put it simply, when eggs are consumed as part of a balanced diet, there is no need to fear them!

Health benefits of eating eggs

Muscle support

Eggs are a great vegetarian source of protein, containing all the essential amino acids.These are the building blocks of proteins that our body cannot make, meaning we have to obtain them from our diet.3 For normal muscle function, it is recommended that sedentary adults consume 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day of protein, and this increases with age and activity, up to 1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.4,5

Eggs can provide these essential amino acids to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, helping to maintain and even increase muscle mass.6 Protein is also important for muscle repair, which is particularly important if you engage in any form of training or exercise. 

In older adults, consuming enough protein is also important to prevent sarcopenia.3 This is an age-related condition that refers to the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function and has a detrimental impact on quality of life. The protein in eggs can help support ageing muscles and prevent this breakdown.

Brain function

One of the main nutrients in eggs that can help support brain function is choline. Choline is primarily found in egg yolks and is considered an essential nutrient. It plays an important role in  the production of membranes for all the cells in our bodies, including the neurons in our brains.7 This is important for supporting normal brain function, as well as in pregnancy for both foetal and neonatal brain development.8

Choline also helps to support normal neurotransmission in the brain.9 It is required for the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is involved in memory, mood, and even muscle control.10 It has even been suggested that choline may help to prevent and slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. One study found that, in mice, choline supplementation led to improved memory and less build-up of plaque-like matter in the brain that is associated with the disease.10

Cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), also called heart disease, is generally caused by a thickening of the artery walls, known as atherosclerosis.11 This is due to a build-up of cholesterol and other materials that form plaques and narrow the blood vessel, putting those with high blood cholesterol at greater risk of developing CVD.

Blood cholesterol is determined by the relative levels of highigh-density lipoprotein (HDL) and lowow-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. HDL is often called the “good” cholesterol, while LDL is the “bad”.11 It was previously thought that dietary cholesterol had a direct impact on blood cholesterol levels, so the advice was to restrict foods like eggs. However, we now know that blood cholesterol levels are largely determined by saturated fat, and eggs are relatively low in this.11,11 In fact, there is evidence that consuming eggs does not have any impact on blood cholesterol levels with one study even suggesting eggs may have a protective effect against heart disease.12,13

Weight management

Eggs are a relatively low-calorie food that can help support weight management and weight loss.11 Their abundance of nutrients means they can help individuals in a calorie deficit meet their recommended intakes of essential macronutrients (like protein and fat), vitamins, and minerals. The high protein content of eggs also means that they can improve satiety (how long you feel full after a meal) and lower your appetite throughout the day, which can contribute to lowering calorie intake  and weight loss.3 It has even been shown that after eating eggs, the level of the so-called ‘hunger hormone’, ghrelin, is reduced.3

Eye health

Eggs contain a number of nutrients that can help to prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, two of the leading causes of vision impairment.14 This includes vitamin E, zinc, long-chain  omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and  carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin.15 These are antioxidants that are commonly found in plants and give the egg yolk its characteristic yellow colour.

Both lutein and zeaxanthin help to maintain the macular pigment in the eye and prevent its degeneration.16 A study showed that consuming two eggs for four weeks was sufficient to improve the density of the macular pigment in healthy adults.16 They can also contribute to the immune system, which helps to prevent age-related cataracts from forming.6


As well as contributing to the health of specific parts of our bodies, eggs can also benefit our health through their anti-inflammatory potential. Inflammation is a normal response of the immune system, but when this persists beyond what is normal, it can contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer.16

Eggs have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect.16 This is thought to be from their many bioactive compounds including phospholipids, carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin), vitamins E and A, and several egg proteins including ovotransferrin and ovalbumin.2,16

Immune support

In addition to their anti-inflammatory effect, other compounds found in eggs may also be able to help support the immune system more generally. For example, eggs can help to prevent vitamin D deficiency, which helps to maintain the normal functioning of the immune system.17,18

Nutrients we can get from eating eggs

The values below show the typical nutrients provided by a chicken egg.


On average, eggs provide 131 kcal (547 kJ) per 100 grams.19


Eggs usually provide 12.6 grams of protein per 100g.19 One large egg typically provides 6.3 grams, of which 3.6 grams comes from the egg white.3


The total fat content is approximately 9 grams per 100 grams, of which only 2.5 grams are saturated fats.19


Eggs only contain trace amounts of carbohydrates.19


One large egg typically contains between 186-230 mg of cholesterol.9

Vitamins and minerals

Eggs contain high amounts of vitamins A, D, E, K, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, and B12 as well as lutein, zeaxanthin, phosphorus, selenium, iron, and zinc.7

Eating two eggs per day is suggested to provide 10-30% of the recommended daily intake of vitamins for an adult.7

Other types of eggs 

Compared to a chicken egg, duck eggs have a slightly higher energy (approximately 185 kcal/100g) and fat content. However, their protein content is equivalent.7

How to include eggs in our diet

Eggs are a hugely versatile protein source that can be included in  any meal of the day, or even as a snack! While they can be prepared in a variety of ways, it is recommended that to gain the most nutrients from them they are soft-boiled or poached so the egg white is cooked and the nutrients in the egg yolk are preserved.7 Some great ways of doing this are  making poached eggs for breakfast or trying Shakshuka for dinner!

How much is enough?

Side effects and how much to consume

In general, it is recommended that individuals consume approximately 1-2 eggs per day to gain the possible health benefits they can provide.6 So, can you eat too many eggs? Like any food, eating too many is likely to have a negative effect on your body and they should be incorporated as part of a balanced diet. It should also be noted that if you suffer from conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure, the amount of cholesterol in your diet should be monitored.20

Some individuals can also develop egg allergies. These usually appear in infants and children, with most outgrowing them  by the age of three.7 Nevertheless, if it persists eggs are definitely something to avoid!

If eggs are not stored or prepared properly, they can also cause illnesses, with the most common infection being caused by Salmonella.6 This is a common bacterial infection that leads to diarrhoea, vomiting, and fever-like symptoms but should pass within a week.21 It can be easily avoided by purchasing eggs from hens vaccinated against salmonella, or only consuming eggs from uncracked, dry shells that are completely cooked.6.22


Overall, eggs are an affordable vegetarian source of protein that provide an abundance of nutrients that can be hugely beneficial to your health. Unless you suffer from metabolic disorders that require dietary modifications, there is no reason why you should fear adding eggs to  your diet. They make for a delicious meal that the whole family will enjoy!


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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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