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Is Egg a Brain Food?

by
author image Larry Armstrong
Larry Armstrong began writing articles professionally in 1986. These articles have appeared in scientific journals such as “Hypertension” and “American Journal of Therapeutics." He received his Doctor of Medicine from the Baylor College of Medicine in 1985. His fields of expertise include medical physiology and biochemistry.
Is Egg a Brain Food?
Eggs contain high amounts of protein and cholesterol. Photo Credit eggs image by Allyson Ricketts from Fotolia.com

The egg contains many nutritive elements that your brain and other cells of your body require on a daily basis. However, eggs contain a high amount of cholesterol, which is known to be associated with cardiovascular disease and should be avoided. If you are a healthy person, you may eat eggs in moderation to benefit from their nutritive value to your brain.

Egg Nutrition

One large egg contains about 70 calories. The primary contents, by weight, are approximately 6.3 g of protein and 4.8 g of total fat. In addition to containing many vitamins and minerals, an egg contains about 200 mg of cholesterol. The Mayo Clinic says healthy individuals should limit their cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg per day. Persons with cardiovascular disease, diabetes or high blood levels of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, should limit cholesterol intake to less than 200 mg per day.

Protein

Your brain requires a stable supply of glucose for its energy. Large daily swings in glucose concentration can have a negative effect on the brain’s memory and cognitive functions. The protein inside eggs is the highest-quality protein of any food. That protein can make you feel fuller for longer periods of time, causing you to maintain more stable blood-glucose levels. The high-quality protein in eggs also forms a necessary component of important neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. These are chemicals that brain cells use to communicate among themselves. The net effect of all these processes on the brain is an enhanced feeling of energy and alertness.

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Choline

Eggs are high in choline, which is an essential nutrient that aids brain function in adults. However, research has shown that only 10 percent of adults get the recommended amount of choline every day. Choline is used to maintain the structure of all cell membranes. Choline also serves as the key ingredient in the manufacture of neurotransmitters, so that brain cells can communicate between each other and with muscle cells. For the fetus, the high choline content in eggs obtained from the mother’s diet can help the brain develop normally and may even prevent birth defects.

Summary

The nutritional benefits to the brain of eating eggs should be weighed against the egg’s high cholesterol content. According to the Mayo Clinic, this means when eating an egg, simply limit other sources of cholesterol for the remainder of the day. Avoid high-fat dairy products and substitute vegetables for meat on that day. To avoid the extra cholesterol altogether, use only the egg whites, which do not contain cholesterol. You can also use cholesterol-free egg substitutes, which are essentially egg whites.

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