According to research conducted at University of Western Ontario, consuming egg yolk may significantly may increase the risk of developing atherosclerosis. Also known as coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis is when plaque – comprised of fat, cholesterol and calcium – builds up on the inner walls of the arteries, according to the National Heart and Lung Institute. The substance hardens and restricts blood flow, which can lead to heart attacks or strokes.
The research, published online in the journal Atherosclerosis, focused on 1,231 people of mixed gender with an average age 61.5 years old. The study authors reported that the subjects had their plaque levels monitored through ultrasound and they filled out questions regarding their smoking habit and weekly and annual egg yolk consumption.
The findings showed that although plaque buildup increases steadily in most people after age 40, both smoking and eating eggs cause it to rise dramatically, and there was also a large difference in plaque levels between those who ate three yolks a week as opposed to those who consumed two or fewer.
“The mantra ‘eggs can be part of a healthy diet for healthy people’ has confused the issue. It has been known for a long time that a high cholesterol intake increases the risk of cardiovascular events, and egg yolks have a very high cholesterol content,” said lead author David Spence, M.D. “In diabetics, an egg a day increases coronary risk by two to five-fold.”
Many people may look to get their essential omega-3 fatty acids from eggs. According to The Globe and Mail, some hens are fed flaxseed, which is rich with omega-3s like docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and alpha linolenic acid (ALA). The DHAs and ALAs, in turn are present in the yolk. Omega-3s have been shown to promote heart health and the news source reported that some experts recommend getting a combined 1,000 milligrams of DHA and another fatty acid known as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) each day.
In light of the new research, getting the heart-healthy fatty acids from eggs may be counterproductive. Instead, a diet rich with plant-based food such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp milk and walnuts is a better solution. You can also get your omega-3 fatty acids from supplements such as OmegaKrill, from Dr. Newton’s Naturals, which may not only help prevent heart disease, but it could potentially also improve your hair, skin and mood.