Scientists from Peking University found how moderate egg consumption can increase the amount of heart-healthy metabolites in the blood.
The findings suggest that eating up to one egg per day may help lower the risk of developing heart disease.
The research is published in eLife and was conducted by Lang Pan et al.
Eggs are a rich source of dietary cholesterol, but they also contain a variety of essential nutrients. There is conflicting evidence as to whether egg consumption is beneficial or harmful to heart health.
A 2018 study published in the journal Heart, which included approximately half a million adults in China, found that those who ate eggs daily (about one egg per day) had a substantially lower risk of heart disease and stroke than those who ate eggs less frequently.
In this study, the team selected 4,778 participants from the China Kadoorie Biobank, of whom 3,401 had heart disease and 1,377 did not.
They measured 225 metabolites in plasma samples taken from the participants’ blood. Of these metabolites, they identified 24 that were linked to self-reported levels of egg consumption.
Their analyses showed that individuals who ate a moderate amount of eggs had higher levels of a protein in their blood called apolipoprotein A1, a building block of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as ‘good lipoprotein’.
These people especially had more large HDL molecules in their blood, which help clear cholesterol from the blood vessels and thereby protect against blockages that can lead to heart attacks and stroke.
The researchers further found 14 metabolites that are linked to heart disease.
They found that participants who ate fewer eggs had lower levels of beneficial metabolites and higher levels of harmful ones in their blood, compared to those who ate eggs more regularly.
Together, these results provide a potential explanation for how eating a moderate amount of eggs can help protect against heart disease.
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