Go Ahead and Eat the Yolk

I often marvel at the brilliantly packaged, deliciously satisfying and nutritionally dense creation of nature with the strangest of names in  almost any language (dzou in Armenian, oeuf in French and even egg – try saying that  few times fast).  In the last few decades, the egg, one of natures most nourishing and original whole foods (no matter which came first) has been the victim of the anti-fat and anti-cholesterol health craze based on poor theory and unjustified conclusions.  Researchers are currently de-bunking the myth of the bad egg and we are slowly entering the recovery phase.  It’s comeback time.

We have been told for decades that eggs increase cholesterol, which then increases our risk for heart disease.  However we are now finding that dietary animal based cholesterol does not directly raise blood cholesterol.  The cholesterol in our bloodstream (which is obviously what is measured from a blood test at your doctors office) is in fact made in the liver, and pumped into the blood when the body is in need of it.

Yes, in need of it. Cholesterol is a crucial building block in the body as all of our steroid hormones are made from its fatty backbone along with maintaining the integrity of every single cell wall in your body.  Your sex hormones are made from a cholesterol foundation – yes you can have too little cholesterol which translates into potentially low levels of your sex hormones, which in turn lowers the obvious (pun more or less intended), along with a slew of hormonal deficiency symptoms.  A lack of cholesterol is potentially detrimental to your libido.

Naturopathically speaking, when we see cholesterol go up, the first question is why – and then why again.  As I said, the body is making cholesterol in the liver.  The liver will up-regulate cholesterol in order to repair cellular damage in the body.  Ah-ha! A potential reason for high cholesterol then is that the body is undergoing some injury somewhere.  Atherosclerosis for example – You see the fatty plaques which cause clogged arteries are initiated by a micro injury to the blood vessels.  The reasons for this are too many to list here, however smoking is perhaps the most common and lack of tissue protective dietary antioxidants another.

When you toss out the egg yolk 100% of the fat soluble vitamins are lost, thats a large serving of vitamins A, D, E, K and carotenoids.  These fat soluble vitamins do more things than you could imagine;  boost your immune system, reduce your risk of cancer, keep your bones, teeth and skin healthy, support the thyroid gland, reduce the damaging effects of diabetes, promote healthy growth in children to list a few.

The egg yolk contains 99% of the zinc, 90% of the calcium and 95% of the folate.  Astonishing!  (zinc is a crucial mineral for sperm count by the way).  Finally get this, egg whites are touted as the protein part of the egg, which is true.  However, the yolk contains 43% of the total egg protein and balances the amino acid profile of the whole food.  Natures whole foods never cease to amaze me.  When they are eaten as intended they are super foods, and when dissected in a kitchen as common practice or weight loss technique they can then turn harmful.  Egg whites can cause a biotin deficiency – including the yolks will prevent this.  No need to reinvent this wheel.

The caveat, yes there is one I’m sorry.  The yolk has to be runny – period.  Sunny side up, poached, over easy, raw and I’m sure I’ve missed a few.  What about omelet’s?  I happen to love omelets. A remnant from living in France is that I always have my omelet cooked “baveuse” which loosely translates as animal drool (think slobbery St. Bernard) – a colorful, descriptive term for soft scramble.  The omelet is not cooked up till the point where the egg is dry, flakey, rubbery etc.

I’m not promoting an egg binge for the next year to catch up on all of those yolkless omelets you’ve feasted on, but please feel good about giving your body the nourishment it needs by having a couple of eggs for breakfast on a regular basis.

Eat whole foods – don’t forget the yolk!

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About the author

author-picture

Dr. Nishant Rao is an outspoken proponent of holistic medicine.  He received his medical degree from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Oregon and a Bachelors in Herbal Sciences from Bastyr University in Washington.

Dr. Nishant believes strongly in integrative medicine and a collaborative approach to healthcare as the solution to create sustainable wellness.

Having been recently uprooted from the beautiful green mountains of the Pacific Northwestern United States, he is traveling with his wife Dr. Arin Rao, also a naturopathic physician, through South East Asia and the Middle East working to increase the awareness of holistic medicine.  He is involved with the next evolution of health 2.0 with partners around the world.  

You can read more from Dr. Nishant at http://www.wellwire.com/


Comments

Anonymous's picture
1

Anonymous

nothing was mentioned in your 'egg yolk' article about the possible harmful effects of arachadonic acid, which is found at relatively high levels in egg yolks. should this be a consideration when eating egg yolks?

Wolfie's picture
2

Wolfie

Anon - I don't see anything to indicate that arachidonic acid is harmful? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A...

Rockwell's picture
3

Rockwell

Wikipedia is not an authorative source Wolfie.

Anonymous's picture
4

Dr Dazey

Hey Nishant -- Don't forget about the significant differences between free-range, or pastured hens' eggs and those of caged hens. See the article in Mother Earth News. (http://www.motherearthnews.com/W...)

Anonymous's picture
5

Anomoly

But if you eat the egg as a whole, and not separate them, then that acid worry should be not a problem. There is something in the egg that counter balances. Take Mau Huang. Extracting the ephedrine component makes it not so good for the heart. However, if you actually consume a portion whole plant, and NOT just cherry pick the chemical that might make a best seller, that effect is nullified by other components in the plant. Therefor it is rendered harmless. Just ask the Chinese, they have been using it for at least a thousand years.

Anonymous's picture
6

Anonymous

I have recently seen articles extolling the value of eggs, but which also added a warning with references to research of a few years ago which found that more than 2 eggs per week was associated with a lowered life expectancy in diabetics. I am a diet-regulated diabetic and love eggs ; I wondered if any research has been done recently which differed with this conclusion ? Any info would be sincerely appreciated !

Anonymous's picture
7

Howard

My spoiled chickens form 8 of my few friends. I feed them good "stuff" and they lay tons of delicious eggs. Something about that is quite appeasing, along with the constant food supply!

Anonymous's picture
8

Jay

Egg yolk contain a trace element called Selenium.
Selenium acts as an antioxidant against free radicals that damage our DNA. It is often included with Vitamins C and E to help fight against cancer, heart disease and even aging. It has also been used to fight viral infections and may even slow the progression of AIDS/HIV. Selenium also contributes to good health by promoting normal liver function.
Other benefits of selenium include the protection against heart disease, the protection against toxic minerals, and the neutralisation of alcohol, smoke, and fats. It can help to increase male potency and it also involved in the maintenance of hair, skin and eyes.

Anonymous's picture
9

Annemieke Wigmore

Nice clear article, but .... why does the yolk have to be runny? Do some nutrients degrade when it is cooked, if so, which?
Thank you, AW.

Anonymous's picture
10

Anonymous

1/3 of your body's cholesterol is actually exogenous, meaning it comes from your diet. Your liver is not the only thing bringing cholesterol into your blood stream and forming atherosclerotic plaques in your arteries. It is also heavily impacted by what you eat. How can you say that eating foods with high fat and cholesterol content will not contribute to atherosclerosis? That is simply wrong.
Coronary artery disease, most commonly a result of atherosclerosis, is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and I can bet it's because of our diet.
If you want all those vitamins, supplement your egg white with some vegetables and fruit, or a multivitamin.

Anonymous's picture
11

Digit

Sorry Buddy, but your wrong... The body needs cholesterol for many reasons and it actually heals atherosclerosis... which is caused by modern oils not meant to be eaten - period...
You may not compute that but it is a fact.

Anonymous's picture
12

Anonymous

I concur with Digit, anonymous 10 you as many others are in the cholesterol myth syndrome which already have a negative impact, lies and deceit, saturated fats are essential for our health, trans-fat is a killer, we should differentiate between the two, cholesterol intake from food does not do any harm, for our cholesterol producing machine will auto produce such and when it does it will do it in the form of VLDL, if we contribute by the intake of saturated fats which are beneficial, our livers will not be in need of producing unnecessary amounts of same, yes, for your information if we try to block the liver from doing its job it will do more harm than good, there are other factors that contribute to arthrosclerosis and cholesterol is the last on the list. JAM

Anonymous's picture
13

Davy777

Thank you digit and anonymous 11 - we've been literally terrified of Cholesterol for...well, 30 years - and heart disease is still number one killer. Low Ch does not mean no heart diease. There's something wrong with that whole 'mainstream' cholesterol paradigm. (And read up on the Zone Diet by Barry Sears if you want to know all about arachidonic acid. No, he's not a nutritionist - he's an endochrinologist.) One good thing: research has made us more aware of Ch: HDL vs. LDL, and all the various kinds, oxidized, if you don't get enough from food your body will make it, etc.
Arterial plaque? Your body makes it in response to inflammation of the arteries' endothelial lining. And it's man-made trans-fats that are killers - CLA is a healthy and natural trans-fat.

Anonymous's picture
14

Tomy Veranany Alakode

can I eat single egg everyday for my satisfaction. I am 54years old.My cholestrol rate is 186 mg., pls say YES or NO

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