Despite their status as nutritional powerhouses, eggs are too often knocked down a notch by critics who claim their golden yolks are better avoided. But before you whip up your next egg-white omelet, consider this: The yolks are home to all sorts of goodies that the whites alone are lacking.
The bad reputation comes from the cholesterol in yolks, says Catherine Shanahan, MD, author of Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food. Yes, there’s cholesterol in there, but, contrary to what we’ve previously been told, dietary cholesterol doesn’t seem to affect blood cholesterol, the type that actually clogs your arteries.
Plus, egg yolks are rich in unsaturated fats, including omega-3s, which fight inflammation and offer some protection against heart disease. They’ve also got vitamin D and B12 for healthy blood and nerve cells. Plus, yolks contain brain-building choline and immunity-protecting selenium—stuff you really don’t want to miss!
The American Heart Association used to recommend sticking to fewer than 300 mg of dietary cholesterol a day, but they’ve since decided there’s not enough scientific evidence to stand by that suggestion. “I think you’d get fed up with eating eggs before you ate too many,” Shanahan jokes. Her pro tip: Don’t overcook the yolks, or some of that dietary cholesterol can oxidize and become harmful rather than helpful. Over easy for the win!
Speaking of eggs over easy, if you’re tired of your old standby, here are a few more outside the box (carton?) egg yolk ideas to consider.