We’ve heard the warnings that too many eggs can cause an elevation in our cholesterol and lead to a stroke or a heart attack. It has been thought that the high cholesterol contained in the yolk would elevate blood cholesterol and thereby increase the risk of cardio vascular disease. What has come to light recently is that dietary cholesterol has very little effect on blood cholesterol in most people, but saturated and trans fats are the biggest culprits. Here are some of the worst offenders:
Hydrogenated oils – Commercially processed palm kernel and coconut oils are 93% saturated fat.
Dried Coconut – Coconut is often used in sweet confections like cakes and candy bars. Dried coconut can also be found in some Asian curries and soups.
Butter - Common in cakes, cookies, on bread, and vegetables, butter is everywhere.
Animal Fats – These fats are typically used to make burgers, meatballs, sausages, gravy, or fried foods.
Milk Chocolate – A bar of milk chocolate in has 9.1 grams of saturated fat, but dark chocolate
is a nutrient and antioxidant packed food that is probably your best source of saturated fat, in moderation!
Fish Oil - Even though fish and fish oils do carry good omega 3 fats their quantity of saturated fats should not be ignored. The fish with the most saturated fats are Menhaden and Sardine.
Cheese – Hard goat cheese contains the most saturated fat followed by Cheddar, Roquefort, Fontina, Gruyere, Muenster, Monterey Jack, and Parmesan.
Nuts and Seeds – Packed with vitamins, minerals, and heart healthy fats and fibers, nuts and seeds are a great snack food, particularly if they are dry roasted, unsalted. Pilinuts are the highest, followed by Brazil nuts Macadamia nuts, watermelon seeds, Cashews, Pine nuts and Sesame Seeds.
Processed Meats – Sausages and Pâté contain a lot of the animal fats mentioned in #4 above. Most sausages and pâtés are 15% saturated fat.
Whipped Cream – The classic topping to cakes, pies, and coffees, whipped cream is about 14% saturated fat.
Getting back to eggs. A study published by BMJ “found no relationship between one egg a day and heart disease or stroke.” The exception was an increase of heart disease risk for those with diabetes who consumed an egg a day in the study.
The bottom line here seems to be that saturated fats are more harmful to the body than cholesterol found in foods. Moderation is the key and we probably want to limit ourselves to the one egg-a-day regime and not two or three.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health: “You also need to pay attention to the “trimmings” that come with your eggs. To your cardiovascular system, scrambled eggs, salsa, and a whole wheat English muffin are a far different meal than scrambled eggs with cheese, sausages, home fries, and white toast.” The best way to eat an egg is to poach it, hard or soft boil it, or fry it in 1/2 teaspoon Canola oil. Skip the butter and cheese and make a one-egg omelet you top with 1-2 Tbsp guacamole or salsa and be sure to use egg whites two to one per yolk. Get the heart healthy recipe for Eggs Benedict.
Eggs are easy, inexpensive and an excellent source of protein, vitamins A&D some B vitamins, iron, zinc and choline – a terrific food for the brain. Eggs beat pastries for breakfast 100-1 in terms of health and nutrition.
So you can have your egg and eat it too, as long as you keep to the one a day rule and keep it free of saturated fats. Yay chickens!!!!!!
Heart Easy ™Eggs Benedict
Enjoy this delicious breakfast or brunch treat with easy prep time and heart healthy low fat ingredients. You don’t have to sacrifice taste with this healthy meal.
4 whole wheat, low fat, English muffins
4 slices of fat free, reduced sodium ham
1 Tablespoon Heart Easy Hollandaise Sauce (recipe below)
Fresh basil leaf or fresh parsley (garnish)
Prepare the Hollandaise sauce (below) and set aside.
Toast the English muffins and place on plates.
Grill the ham slices for 1-2 minutes or until ham is reduced a bit in size and warmed.
Poach the eggs.
Layer the ham on top of the English muffin, place the poached egg on top of the ham. Dollop with Heart Easy Hollandaise and garnish with fresh basil or parsley. Serve and enjoy.
Heart Easy Hollandaise Sauce:
¼ cup light butter substitute. (I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter or Smart Balance Light)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of half the lemon ( 3/4 to 1 tsp.)
pinch of cayenne pepper
¼ cup Reddi Egg or Egg Beaters
1/16 tsp. Kosher salt. (I omit this ingredient altogether)
Melt the light butter substitute in the microwave – about 15 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients to a small sauce pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the egg product is cooked. The sauce will thicken. Turn off heat and let stand. It is important to stop the cooking while the egg is just barely cooked. Use a stick blender to smooth out the sauce until it is like custard. Set aside. (Left over sauce will last about 2 weeks in the coldest part of your refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds until just warm.)