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“There’s absolutely no reason to limit your consumption of eggs to three to four per week, as recommended by “heart-healthy” nutritional guidelines. In fact, consuming two to three eggs per day would provide a better boost to your health and protection against disease than a multivitamin supplement. Eggs truly are one of nature’s superfoods.”
~ Chris Kresser
Egg Yolks Are Awesome
After years of misinformation, it can be hard to wrap your mind around the fact that egg yolks are actually good for you. Do you remember egg white omelets? Are they still out there? So many crazy nutritional ideas become mainstream, with no scientific foundation.
- Cholesterol: A review of the scientific literature shows that eating eggs has zero impact on the blood cholesterol in the vast majority of the population (70%). In the 30% that are affected, it raises both HDL (considered beneficial) and large particle LDL (which decreases particle density). Together this suggests egg consumption lowers heart disease risk, rather than increases it.
- Choline: It's magical stuff and more concentrated in egg yolks than any other food. It supports vital detox pathways in the body, is necessary for the construction of every cell, and you can't fire a nerve signal without it, which means you can't move a muscle (including your heartbeat) without it. What's scary is that most people are deficient in this essential vitamin. Eating egg yolks daily is the best way to ensure you're not.
- Nature's Supplement: The yolks are also rich in vitamins A, D, E and all of the B vitamins, as well as the following minerals: zinc, phosphorous, iron, calcium, iodine, potassium and selenium. And let's not forget the antioxidants. Rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, egg yolks protect against cataracts and macular degeneration.
- The Elusive K2: Once upon a time, it was believed that all K vitamins provided one benefit: blood clotting. New research is showing that K1 (sourced from vegetables), is quite different from K2 (sourced from pastured egg yolks and dairy). K2 does far more: it protects against heart disease, promotes healthy skin, forms strong bones, optimizes brain function, and even protects against cancer. Note: only pastured eggs (not conventional) contain K2.
- The Pastured Egg Advantage: Mother Earth News did a study comparing the nutrient content of pastured eggs to conventional eggs. Results? Pastured eggs have twice the omega-3 fatty acids, 3 times more vitamin E, and 7 times more beta carotene. That omega 3:6 ratio is especially important, because the more omega 3 we consume (and the less omega 6), the less inflammation we have in our body. By contrast, conventional eggs have 19 times more of the inflammatory omega 6 acids. But there's another reason to choose pastured eggs over conventional. There has never been a reported case of salmonella with pastured eggs, which means they're much safer to eat raw. Why would you want to? For anyone with digestive problems, egg yolks are a nutrient godsend: “Raw egg yolk has been compared with human breast milk because it can be absorbed almost 100% without needing digestion.” (Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, GAPS Diet, page 132).
- Why Are the Yolks So Nutrient-Dense? It's nature's design. If the egg was fertilized, the yolk would provide all the nutrition the embryo needs to develop into a chick. The white is simply there for protection – providing both a cushion and anti-microbial enzymes to protect against infection.
- What If I'm Allergic or Intolerant to Eggs? Usually, when people are intolerant to eggs, it's to the whites. That's why Dr. Sarah Ballantyne recommends egg yolks as one of the first reintroductions when coming off of the autoimmune protocol. They are nutrient-dense foods we should all eat, if we can. Here are two tips that sometimes help with successful reintroduction: (1) Choose eggs from pastured chickens that were never fed soy. (Soy proteins from the feed find their way into the eggs, so sometimes an egg intolerance is really a soy intolerance.) If you can't find soy-free eggs locally, you can buy them online through Healthy Traditions. (2) After separating the yolk from the white, rinse the yolk to get 100% of the egg white off before eating. If the yolk still causes a negative reaction in your body, by all means, keep them out of your diet, and seek other nutrient dense foods instead, like seafood and organ meats.
11 Ways to Eat More Yolks
Have I convinced you that egg yolks are a superfood? Are you ready to make them part of your daily diet? Let's count the ways:
- Stir them into a cup of bone broth or soup.
- Add them to a smoothie.
- Make homemade mayonnaise.
- Enjoy a yolkocado.
- Make salt-cured yolks.
- Next time you make cauliflower “rice”, add some egg yolks at the last minute for a “fried rice” flavor.
- Add them to your favorite meatball, meatloaf or hamburger recipe.
- Treat yourself to a delicious dessert, like blackberry brulee or olive oil ice cream.
- P.S. Eggnog can happen year-round.
How to Separate the Yolk from the White
My Mom was a baker, so I grew up separating egg yolks for her recipes. However, if you've never done this before, no worries. I filmed a little video to show you three easy ways to get at those luscious yolks. One extra tip: they're easier to separate when the eggs are cold:
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Photo credit for the egg photo at the top of the page: Joăo Estęvăo A. de Freitas via Wikimedia (creative commons).