Egg white omelets and other yolk-free recipes have become synonymous with “healthy” for many. But if you throw away the yolk, you’re also throwing away some of the most nutritious parts of the egg.
For example, egg yolks (but not whites) contain vitamins A, D, E and K as well as omega-3 fats. Egg yolks also contain more beneficial folic acid and vitamin B-12 than egg whites. Egg yolks also contain more of the nutrient choline than whites, as well as all the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.
Egg yolks have been unfairly vilified for decades because they contain cholesterol and saturated fat. But contrary to popular nutrition dogma that you need to avoid these dietary components, the cholesterol and saturated fats in animal foods like egg yolks are very good for your health.
Many of the healthiest foods happen to be high in cholesterol and saturated fat. Cholesterol has been demonized since the early 1940s, as Ancel Keys’ flawed research popularized, and Ancel Keys set the stage for other decades of vicious research Foundation.1
However, cholesterol has many health benefits. It plays a key role in regulating protein pathways involved in cell signaling and may also regulate other cellular processes,2 E.g.
Cholesterol is known to play a vital role in your cell membranes, but research has shown that cholesterol also interacts with proteins inside your cells, making it even more important. Your body is made up of trillions of cells that need to interact with each other.
Cholesterol is one of the molecules that allows these interactions to occur. Cholesterol, for example, is a precursor to bile acids, so not having enough cholesterol can adversely affect your digestive system. It also plays an important role in your brain, which contains about 25 percent of the cholesterol in your body. It’s crucial for the formation of synapses, the connections between neurons that allow you to think, learn new things and form memories.
One egg yolk contains about 210 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol, which is why public health agencies have long advised Americans to limit their intake. This is seriously flawed advice on multiple levels; for starters, “high” cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease, and beyond that, eating cholesterol-rich foods doesn’t cause cholesterol levels to rise .