08 July, 2011
The egg contains many nutritive elements that your brain and other cells of your body require on a daily basis. However, eggs contain a high amount of cholesterol, which is known to be associated with cardiovascular disease and should be avoided. If you are a healthy person, you may eat eggs in moderation to benefit from their nutritive value to your brain.
One large egg contains about 70 calories. The primary contents, by weight, are approximately 6.3 g of protein and 4.8 g of total fat. In addition to containing many vitamins and minerals, an egg contains about 200 mg of cholesterol. The Mayo Clinic says healthy individuals should limit their cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg per day. Persons with cardiovascular disease, diabetes or high blood levels of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, should limit cholesterol intake to less than 200 mg per day.
Your brain requires a stable supply of glucose for its energy. Large daily swings in glucose concentration can have a negative effect on the brain’s memory and cognitive functions. The protein inside eggs is the highest-quality protein of any food. That protein can make you feel fuller for longer periods of time, causing you to maintain more stable blood-glucose levels. The high-quality protein in eggs also forms a necessary component of important neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. These are chemicals that brain cells use to communicate among themselves. The net effect of all these processes on the brain is an enhanced feeling of energy and alertness.
Eggs are high in choline, which is an essential nutrient that aids brain function in adults. However, research has shown that only 10 percent of adults get the recommended amount of choline every day. Choline is used to maintain the structure of all cell membranes. Choline also serves as the key ingredient in the manufacture of neurotransmitters, so that brain cells can communicate between each other and with muscle cells. For the fetus, the high choline content in eggs obtained from the mother’s diet can help the brain develop normally and may even prevent birth defects.
The nutritional benefits to the brain of eating eggs should be weighed against the egg’s high cholesterol content. According to the Mayo Clinic, this means when eating an egg, simply limit other sources of cholesterol for the remainder of the day. Avoid high-fat dairy products and substitute vegetables for meat on that day. To avoid the extra cholesterol altogether, use only the egg whites, which do not contain cholesterol. You can also use cholesterol-free egg substitutes, which are essentially egg whites.
- eggs image by Allyson Ricketts from Fotolia.com