Eggs are a go to in many pro athletes diets with good reason: They provide an excellent and extremely absorbable amount of protein, contain amino acids helpful for repairing and rebuilding muscles, are easily transportable making them a great pre or post workout snack, and they’re affordable.
Before heading out to the supplement store for your next fix, try picking up a dozen (or two) eggs at your local Trader Joe’s. The great part about eggs is they keep in the refrigerator for a relatively long period of time compared to most proteins.
Most people don’t know, or they forget, that eggs are a vital source of readily available nutrients. The protein in eggs can greatly improve athletic performance, and eggs are a better choice than most powder supplements. Grade AA is the highest classification an egg can get, but there are many types of eggs to choose from depending on your budget and dietary creeds. Check out our past article on eggs and how to buy them.
Eggs are full of protein and nutrients, but it’s not the quantity of protein that makes them such a great source, but the quality of protein. Biological value (BV) scale, is a measure of the proportion of absorbed protein from a food which becomes incorporated into the proteins of the organism’s body. It captures how readily the digested protein can be used in protein synthesis (repairing and rebuilding) in the cells of the organism, which also measures how fast the body absorbs the protein. Guess what? Egg protein scores a near perfect 100.
Inside the Shell
The high amount of protein found in eggs has other benefits missing from most other sources. Egg protein stimulates muscle growth and increases muscle protein synthesis. These effects occur due to the high concentration—9%—of the amino acid leucine.
But Wait, There’s More
And you can ditch the multivitamin. Eggs are packed with vitamin D, A, B6, B12, riboflavin, folic acid, choline, iron, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. The potassium in eggs help with muscle contraction, aiding in workouts and speed of play. Eggs contain an important source of choline, an essential water-soluble vitamin usually classified with B vitamins; imperative for a healthy brain and liver, and it even reduces inflammation.
People who are trying to lose weight might discover a new love for eggs. Egg protein promotes satiety, the feeling of being full, which can help individuals stick to a stricter diet.
Yes, Eat the Yolk
It’s a tricky question, “Should I eat the yolk?” Absolutely. Yes, without question eat the yolk. The main reason people have been warned about eggs is that they’re loaded with cholesterol.
One large egg contains 212 mg of cholesterol, which is a LOT compared to most other foods.
However, just because a food contains cholesterol doesn’t mean that it will raise the bad cholesterol in the blood.
Let’s unpack this a bit further, shall we? Cholesterol is a key to the biosynthesis of other necessary steroids within the body. We know we need SOME cholesterol. Without it, we risk problems. With too much of it, we are at risk for clogged arteries (too much LDL cholesterol), or so we’ve been told. But guess what, cholesterol isn’t bad unless there is inflammation prevalent. At this point, you may be asking yourself, “But doesn’t the fat cause inflammation?” There are many factors, but refined sugar and heavily processed carbohydrates cause some of the greatest inflammation.
The liver actually produces cholesterol, every single day. If you eat cholesterol, then your liver produces less. If you don’t eat cholesterol, then your liver produces more of it.
The thing is, many studies show that eggs actually improve your cholesterol profile.
Eggs tend to raise HDL (the “good”) cholesterol and they tend to change the LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol to a large subtype which is not associated with an increased risk of heart disease.