It’s not always true that eggs are harmful to a healthy heart.

It’s complicated. Cholesterol is not easily understood and over the years people have developed many misconceptions on the topic. It is known that high levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream do contribute to the risk of heart disease. But other things we supposedly know about cholesterol simply are not true. It’s important to know what is true and what is myth and in doing so you may actually be surprised.

Not All Cholesterol is bad for Our Health

Some cholesterol is actually needed for the body to properly function according to the American Heart Association. Cholesterol is a fatty, wax-like substance which is produced by our livers. Cholesterol is necessary in the formation of certain hormones and cell membranes. This means that there is good cholesterol that our body makes naturally but there is cholesterol which we ingest from food. It’s an excess of cholesterol that comes from food that is bad for us because it can cause a narrowing in the arteries which increases the risk of stroke or heart attack.

Eggs are a Good Source of Protein

No one disputes that eggs contain a high amount of cholesterol. If someone’s diet contains too much cholesterol there is a risk for heart disease due to a build-up in the arteries. But according to the American Heart Association eggs can be included in a healthy diet by decreasing the amount consumed of other foods high in cholesterol. It should not be ignored that eggs provide a great source of not only protein but nutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin which are essential to healthy eyes. We can consume up to four eggs in a week without risking heart disease. The AHA suggests that on days we enjoy an egg in our diet we can just cut back on other foods which may contain high levels of cholesterol such as whole-fat dairy foods and red meat.

Kids Can Actually Develop High Cholesterol

Physicians treating adults are concerned about middle-aged people developing a problem with high cholesterol. But pediatricians have discovered that children who have a diet high in junk food and sugary desserts and who become obese as a result are developing high levels of cholesterol in their bloodstreams. This can eventually lead to heart disease. The Nemours Foundation recommends that kids in age groups 2 – 8 and in 12 – 16 who suffer from obesity, who have a diet high in fat or who are from a family with members who have high cholesterol need to have a cholesterol test when they see their pediatrician. If high cholesterol is found early it is much easier to control than when it’s discovered later in life. Parents must watch their kids’ diet and use recipes low in fat and sugar for snacks and meals. Healthy eating habits are learned early in life and can last a lifetime.

Cholesterol Medication is Not the Best Treatment

Although there are many effective cholesterol drugs on the market a healthy diet, exercise and losing weight can very often lower cholesterol in the bloodstream. Any medication is bound to have bad side-effects but living a healthier lifestyle only has good side-effects. If you log onto MayoClinic.com you will find that they recommend having less fat in your diet, reduce your intake of meat and dairy products, exercise for a minimum of a half hour a day and if you’re overweight, lose those excess pounds. Try this first before you take prescription medication. There are many free recipes online to help you change your diet. Whether it’s for a healthy snack, or an entire meal, you will discover that a healthy diet can be very satisfying and delicious to boot. Happy cooking!