Eggs, which are deemed as a healthy choice for breakfast, are not created equal as far as health values are concerned and may vary depending on the hens that hatched them, according to Dr. Niva Shapira of Tel Aviv University's School of Health Professions.
Her research indicates that when hens are fed with a diet low in omega-6 fatty acids from a young age - feed high in wheat, barley, and milo and lower in soy, maize and sunflower, safflower, and maize oils - they produce eggs that may cause less oxidative damage to human health.
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Eggs high in omega-6 fatty acids heighten cholesterol's tendency to oxidize, which forms dangerous plaque in our arteries.
Dr. Shapira's research shows that eggs laid by hens with healthier feed can lessen oxidation of LDL (low density lipoprotein), the body's "bad cholesterol."
In her study, consumption of two industry-standard eggs, high in omega-6, caused a 40 percent increase in LDL oxidizability in participants. After eating two per day of the specially-composed eggs, with both high anti-oxidant and low omega-6 levels, however, LDL oxidation levels were similar to the control group eating only two to four eggs a week.
Surprisingly, with the "healthier" eggs, we might be able to eat more than twice today's generally recommended egg intake and still maintain a healthy level of LDL oxidation, Dr. Shapira concludes.
The study has been published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.