All you need to know about egg yolk

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Egg yolks used to have a bad reputation because of their high-cholesterol content. Doctors and health authorities once recommended that people limit egg yolk consumption, especially individuals with high cholesterol, blood pressure, or heart conditions.

But more focused research indicates that high blood levels of cholesterol are less influenced by cholesterol-containing foods, such as eggs, than individual factors, such as ethnicity, gender, hormonal functioning, and overall nutrition.

Like egg whites, egg yolks have a high protein content and contain many essential vitamins, minerals, fats, and healthy calories.

Fast facts on egg yolk nutrition:

  • Nutrients vary between eggs naturally.
  • Most research shows that egg yolks contain most of the nutrition found in eggs.
  • Like most animal-sourced foods, eggs carry some potential health risks.

What are the benefits

Egg yolk nutrition

Studies suggest that eggs may play a role in healthy eating patterns.

Eggs are a low-cost, nutrient-filled, easy to access and prepare food, making them an excellent dietary staple for many people worldwide. Eggs are also a very versatile food. And the consumption of eggs does not usually conflict with most religious or moral guidelines.

Eating egg whites and yolks together in a whole egg also contains the right balance of protein, fat, and calories that allows most people to feel fuller and more satisfied at meals.

A 2015 study found that obese Mexican-American women who ate eggs regularly after pregnancy got higher overall scores on the Healthy Eating Index than those who did not, suggesting eggs might play a role in healthy eating patterns.

Possible further health benefits associated with egg yolks include:

  • increasing immune function, including antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-cancer action
  • increasing eye health, including lowering the risk of macular degeneration, and age-related cataracts
  • improving bone density and resilience
  • maintaining a healthy blood production and composition, especially iron content and clotting factors
  • maintaining a healthy, regulated metabolism
  • improving fat and protein metabolism
  • improving cellular growth and repair
  • improving cardiovascular health
  • maintaining a healthy blood pressure
  • increasing skin and hair health
  • improving bowel and bladder health
  • increasing nutritional absorption during digestion
  • production and health of neurotransmitters improved brain development and health
  • reducing the risk of bowel obstruction and kidney stones
  • reducing overall body inflammation

More recently researchers have begun to explore the potential of various immune-stimulating compounds found in egg yolks called immunoglobulins.

A 2017 study found that female mice that consumed the egg yolk nutrient anti-VacA IgY were less likely to get become infected by Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that commonly causes intestinal infection.

Nutrition

The amount of nutrition in each egg yolk depends on the size of the egg, how it was raised and processed, and what species it is. And the final dietary value of egg yolks varies greatly depending on how they are prepared. For example, cooking whole eggs in oil may double, even triple, the fat and cholesterol content of an egg dish.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a raw egg yolk from one standard, large (17 gram) egg in the United States has:

  • 55 calories
  • 2.7 grams(g) protein
  • 4.51 g fat: 1.624 g saturated fat, 1.995 g monounsaturated fat, and 0.715 g of polyunsaturated fat
  • 184 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol
  • 0.61 g of carbohydrate
  • 0.10 g of sugar
  • 0 g dietary fiber

Egg yolks contain at least seven essential minerals, including:

  • 22 mg calcium
  • 0.46 mg iron
  • 1 mg magnesium
  • 66 mg phosphorus
  • 19 mg potassium
  • 8 mg sodium
  • 0.39 mg zinc

Egg yolks are high in many vitamins, especially fat and water-soluble vitamins.