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Is It Time to Start Eating an Egg a Day Because It Could Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease?

When it comes to diet, we are wary of many things because of the effect it can have on our health. We know that sugar and trans fats should be avoided, but there are conflicting studies on many foods, including caffeine consumption and eggs. And with regard to the latter, it seems we are no closer to finding out whether we should be eating eggs daily, or limiting our consumption.

Eggs are one of the best sources of high-quality protein, but they also have a high cholesterol content, and for this reason, eggs and heart health is a topic that has been hotly debated. Researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago compiled data from almost 30,000 individuals and ultimately found that “higher consumption of eggs or dietary cholesterol [is linked] to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease,” Medical News Today reports.

According to the publication, one of the authors, Norrina B. Allen Ph.D., explained that the study focuses on "cholesterol, which happens to be high in eggs and specifically yolks." It is believed that people who eat less cholesterol are thus less at risk of developing heart disease.

But there is conflicting research because, in another study, a team of researchers from China and the United Kingdom determined that eating an egg a day could actually reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, BMJ reports. Researchers analyzed over 400,000 individuals in China, aged between 30 and 79 years old, and located in various geographical areas. The findings were published in the journal, Heart, and led by Professor Liming Li and Dr. Canqing Yu of the School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center.

According to BMJ, the results indicated that those who consumed eggs daily (which the publication notes was estimated to around 5.32 eggs/week), compared to those individuals who rarely consumed eggs, had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Not only that, but they were also 26 percent less likely to suffer from a hemorrhagic stroke.

But there's something important to take away from this: these guidelines focus on the daily recommended guidelines for the consumption of eggs in a healthy Chinese adult. And diet differences from China to the West, as Professor Nita Forouhi of Cambridge University, explained to The Independent.

"In a Western context, if you eat eggs with lots of refined white bread, processed meats like bacon and sausages and sugar-rich ketchup, that is materially different to eating an egg with whole-grain bread and vegetables for instance," the professor says. "This research like much of nutritional research is observational and not experimental, that is, it follows a large sample of adults over time for health endpoints but does not intervene by prescribing particular diets."

[Image via Shutterstock]

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