Going to work on an egg really COULD boost your health!

Going to work on an egg really DOES boost your health! People who eat one a day have higher levels of good cholesterol which lowers heart disease risk, study finds

  • People who ate about 1 egg a day had higher good cholesterol levels, study says
  • Good cholesterol helps protect against build-up of fatty blockages in the arteries
  • Study was based on dietary surveys and blood tests from 4,778 Chinese adults

Go to work on an egg for a lower risk of heart attacks and strokes, scientists say.

A study of nearly 5,000 people suggests the iconic 1960s advertising slogan might actually yield meaningful health benefits.

Participants who ate one whole egg a day had higher levels of healthy proteins and good cholesterol in their blood, and lower levels of the bad kind.

This combination cuts the risk of cardiovascular disease by preventing the arteries from clogging, which in turn lowers the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Eggs went out of fashion decades ago, after research linked eating them to a rise in bad cholesterol. 

The Egg Marketing Board’s ‘go to work on an egg’ campaign was blocked from relaunching in 2007 after a watchdog ruled it did not encourage healthy eating.

But the latest study found people who ate eggs had more of a protein in their blood called APOA1, a major building block of good cholesterol.

‘Go to work on an egg’ was a famed slogan of the egg industry in the 50s and 60s and now Chinese scientists have found people who eat more eggs had more ‘good’ cholesterol helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is vital for the normal functioning of the body.

It is made in the liver and is carried in the blood by proteins and is broadly divided into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol.

Too much of the bad kind can cause it to build up in the arteries, restricting blood flow to the heart, brain and rest of the body.

This raises the risk of angina, heart attacks, stroke and blood clots. 

Good cholesterol is called – high-density lipoprotein (HDL) – which carries the fatty substance from cells to the liver where it is broken down or passed as waste.

‘Bad cholesterol’ – low-density lipoprotein (LDL) – carries cholesterol to cells, with excessive amounts then building in the artery walls.

High cholesterol can be genetic but it is also linked to a diet rich in saturated fat, as well as smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and a family history of stroke or heart disease. 

Blood cholesterol is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood, often shortened to mmol/L.

A healthy adult’s overall level should be 5mmol/L or less, while their LDL level should be no more than 3mmol/L. An ideal level of HDL is above 1mmol/L.

Cholesterol can be lowered by eating a healthy, low-fat diet; not smoking; and exercising regularly.

If these do not help, cholesterol-lowering medication like statins may be prescribed. 

Researchers from Peking University in Beijing looked at 4,778 Chinese adults who were aged 30 to 79. 

Participants were asked to fill in a detailed questionnaire about their food consumption in the past 12 months.

It included questions about how often they consumed 12 food groups — including eggs, rice, wheat, meat, poultry, fish, fresh vegetables, fruits and dairy.

People were asked if they ate eggs ‘never/rarely’, one-to-three days a week, four-to-six days a week, or daily. 

The average score was eating eggs on 2.6 days of the week.  

Participants were also subjected to a blood test.

Scientists found people who ate between four and seven eggs per week had high levels of APOA1. 

APOA1 is a building block of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the ‘good cholesterol’ that carries the fatty substance to the liver to be broken down.

HDL is responsible for keeping the arteries and blood vessels free from the build-up of fatty deposits.

The scientists also identified 14 proteins linked to heart disease, some which helped protect the disease and some which contributed to it.

Study participants who ate fewer eggs were found to have lower levels of the beneficial proteins and high levels of the harmful ones, compared to people who ate eggs more frequently. 

Lead author Professor Canqing Yu, an expert in epidemiology and public health at the Chinese university, said the findings provide a potential explanation about why moderate egg consumption was good for cardiovascular health. 

‘Egg consumption is associated with several metabolic markers, which may partially explain the protective effect of moderate egg consumption on cardiovascular disease,’ she said. 

The authors added that their findings back up Chinese Government dietary guidelines recommending people eat 40-50g of whole egg, roughly equivalent to a single medium to large egg, per day. 

However, the team added that further studies are needed to confirm their findings.

The results are published in the journal eLife.

Eggs got a bad wrap in recent decades because of the high levels of cholesterol in their yolks.

One large egg has about 186 mg of cholesterol – around half the amount of the recommended daily intake for adults.

But studies have since shown the cholesterol in eggs does not have a significant effect on blood cholesterol.

Attention has instead shifted to the role of saturated fatty acids found in foods such as butter and fatty meat on levels of bad cholesterol, which do have a direct effect.

Cardiovascular disease is responsible for about one in four preventable deaths in the UK, it includes conditions like heart disease and stroke with high cholesterol considered a high risk factor for these conditions. 

In total, heart and circulatory diseases cause 160,000 deaths each year in Britain – an average of 460 deaths a day. 

The US death toll is even larger with heart disease killing 659,000 people each year. 

According to the British Egg Industry Council, the average Briton eats about 202 eggs per year, equivalent to 13.5billion eggs. 

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