This controversial protein packs an impressive nutritional punch. 
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Eggs have become a surprisingly controversial food over the years. Though they might seem like a benign and affordable protein source, there is a lot of misinformation around their nutrition. During the years where low-fat diets were trending, eggs were vilified. Now that fat is back in vogue (think: keto diet), they seem to be less polarizing.

Not to mention, eggs are one of the most affordable proteins in the grocery store, costing only 14 cents per serving at many major retailers. They can last in the fridge for up to five weeks, so you won't have to worry about them going bad as quickly as other types of protein like meat, fish or poultry. Swapping in an egg daily in place of another more expensive protein can help you save money and cut down on food waste. Plus, eggs are so versatile that they can be used in everything from a frittata for breakfast to shakshuka for dinner (and don't forget baked goods!). But are eggs actually healthy? And what happens if you eat them every day? Here's what the science says about what consuming an egg a day does to your body over time. 

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You might feel more full and energized

Though they come in a small and affordable package, eggs pack an impressive nutritional punch. One large egg contains around 70 calories, 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat and 0 grams of carbs. The yolk in particular is a source of important nutrients like vitamin B12, vitamin D and choline that are all important for helping our bodies process food into energy we can use. Plus, the combination of protein and healthy fat gives eggs some staying power so you feel full for longer. 

Your hair and skin might be healthier 

Eggs are a good source of several B vitamins, including vitamins B2, B5 and B12. All of these nutrients have several functions in the body, including maintaining healthy skin and hair. All B vitamins are water soluble, meaning they don't stay in your body for very long and are not easily stored, so regular consumption is a good way to make sure you meet your needs. Eggs are also rich in amino acids (protein building blocks) like methionine that can help improve the tone and pliability of skin and the strength of hair and nails. 

You might be able to think more clearly 

Eggs are rich in the micronutrient choline, which is used to help create cell membranes and important neurotransmitters in the body. Choline is important for memory, mood, muscle control and general nervous system function, so it makes sense why not getting enough could make you feel foggy (among other more severe symptoms). One egg offers about 6% of our daily choline needs, and thus eating eggs can help support a healthy brain.

You might have better vision

Egg yolks contain two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, that are important for eye health. They play an important role in eye development and healthy vision, and research shows they might even help lower the risk of common age-related eye diseases. Dark leafy greens are another great source of lutein and zeaxanthin, so recipes like our Stir-Fried Mustard Greens with Eggs & Garlic can help you double down. 

You might have stronger bones 

Vitamin D is important for numerous bodily processes. It helps regulate blood pressure, lowers risk for certain cancers and can play a positive role in mental health. One of vitamin D's most important functions is helping us maintain healthy bones. It does this by improving calcium absorption in the gut, and helping keep our calcium and phosphorus levels in a range that promotes healthy bone growth and bone remodeling. One egg boasts 6% of our vitamin D needs, so adding one to your plate each day can reap bone-healthy benefits. 

Your heart health might improve (if eaten in moderation) 

While eggs pack in a slew of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, one of those is the ever-controversial cholesterol. One egg delivers around 207 milligrams of cholesterol, which is 69% of the daily limit recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. That said, eating dietary cholesterol does not directly correlate to making your blood cholesterol levels go up; in fact, dietary cholesterol has minimal impact on our blood cholesterol levels. Some research has even argued that there is insufficient evidence for the DGA's cholesterol limit recommendation. A recent review in Nutrients stated that while several foods that are high in cholesterol are associated with higher risk of heart disease—mainly due to the saturated fat content of the egg yolk—eggs and shrimp are exceptions because of their high nutritional value. 

So what about saturated fat, then? We need some saturated fat in our diet but the problem is that most Americans eat too much, while not eating enough healthy fats, which protect your heart (and overall body). And the saturated-fat-containing foods people are eating tend to include other ingredients that can cause harm when we eat too much, like added sugars. The bottom line: an egg a day shouldn't put you over the edge, especially if you're eating leaner cuts of protein and plant-based protein, rather than relying solely on red meat. If you have a heart-related condition, being aware of your saturated fat intake is more important.

Eggs are also a great source of heart-healthy nutrients like potassium, folate and B vitamins. Some research suggests that up to two eggs per day actually improves heart health. As with anything, moderation is important, especially if you enjoy eggs daily.

Bottom Line

Eggs are an affordable and super-nutritious protein, and can provide some health benefits if you enjoy them every day. They are packed with protein, vitamins and nutrients that help you feel full and fueled for whatever your day holds. That said, they are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, so it's something to be aware of if you have heart disease or are at a heightened risk of developing it. For people with heart disease, limiting yolks and enjoying more egg whites could be a good option if you like to eat eggs daily. For more inspiration, check out our healthy, quick and easy egg recipes.