Nutritional Anthropology

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The science and art of living the way nature intended

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Eggs and Why We Should Eat Them

Many of my clients are confused about eating eggs. They are worried by the scare stories about their cholesterol content. The first thing I say to them is this: Just because you consume cholesterol doesn’t mean that it will end up in your arteries. 

Foragers right up to present times seized eagerly on eggs as an easy source of food. Eggs are a normal, even essential part of the human diet. Cholesterol is something the body takes, makes or leaves according to its need – under one condition – that the body is getting the right signals from a lifestyle which is in accordance with our evolutionary origins. 

Do clinical studies confirm this? Indeed they do. In my first book, Natural Eating, published 8 years ago, I wrote that Dr Kummerow in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that test subjects suffered no ill effects by consuming 2 eggs per day for 54 days. More remarkably, Dr Vorster described in the same journal that South African poultry workers safely consumed 5 eggs daily, They had no ill effects, even though they had an intake of 1000-1250 mg cholesterol and 25 g fat.

Other studies confirm this. Drs Green and Herron find that three or more eggs per day do not increase harmful cholesterol. Dr W Song in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that frequent egg consumption even REDUCED cholesterol levels. Moreover, as Dr Maria Cruz reports, eggs have “multiple beneficial effects”. They furnish vitamins and minerals. Better still, they provide vital micro-nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin which mop up free radicals which could destroy the eye’s retina.

How should we choose our eggs? One major criterion is that they should have a good omega-3 content. Under “natural” conditions this would automatically be the case but intensively produced eggs do not.

Dr. Artemis Simopoulos of the Center for Genetics, Nutrition, and Health, in Washington, D.C., is one of the foremost advocates of the need to incorporate omega-3 oils in the human diet. He observes that “on the Ampelistra farm in Greece, purslane (rich in omega-3 oils) is plentiful and grows wild; the chickens make a feast of it, along with insects and lots of fresh green grass, supplemented with fresh and dried figs, barley flour, and small amounts of corn. . . . As we expected, the eggs contained substantial amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.” The Greek egg had an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 1.3 to 1, whereas a supermarket egg has a ratio of almost 20 to 1. The point is that many animal products have become unhealthy because the artificial feed given to the animal bears no resemblance to the natural feeding pattern of the creature. 

Here in Cyprus we still have the wonderful opportunity to go into the villages and find eggs from chickens that run around the farmyard, eating purslane, insects and whatever else they can scavenge. These are the best. If not, go to the supermarket but chose omega-3 rich eggs, preferably free-range and organic if you can find them.


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