Concerned about your cholesterol levels? Is there is a history of heart disease in your family? Contact us or download our cholesterol fact sheets.
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Making changes to the food you eat and being more active can help lower your cholesterol to normal levels.
In some cases, particularly if you are older or at greater risk, you may also need to take a cholesterol-lowering medicine like a statin. Statins are very effective, safe and well tolerated and have been shown to reduce heart attacks.
Can I eat eggs?
Most people do not need to limit their egg intake, even if they have high cholesterol.
We are often asked this question, mainly because eggs contain dietary cholesterol. It is found in the yolk and is essential for the developing chick. it is also essential for humans; however we can make our own.
Too much cholesterol in the blood can be harmful. But for most people cutting down on eggs is not the answer – it is better to reduce the amount of saturated fat (found in animal fats such as butter, lard, fatty meats and meat products, full fat dairy products as well as pastry, cakes and puddings). Cutting back on saturated fat will also naturally limit dietary cholesterol – as these foods also contain cholesterol. About 1 in 500 people have a condition called FH (familial hypercholesterolaemia) and they may need to be more cautious about dietary sources of cholesterol. This is because people with FH have levels of cholesterol which are often double the normal level. If you have FH, talk to your doctor or dietitan to see if you need to limit your egg intake or call our Cholesterol Helpline for advice.
Good things about eggs
- The egg yoke and albumen contain everything a new chick needs to grow and develop in the first few days of life before hatching, including protein, energy, fat and essential vitamins and minerals.
- Eggs contain medium amounts of fat. However the white contains hardly any. One average egg (58g) contains around 4.6g fat; about a teaspoon. But only one quarter of this fat is saturated fat, which is the type of fat that increases cholesterol levels in the body.
- Eggs are packed full of high quality protein. The protein in eggs is not only easy to digest it also contains all the building blocks of essential proteins (amino acids) and in the right proportions.
- Eggs are a good source of many important vitamins and minerals including the B vitamins riboflavin, vitamin B12 and folate and vitamin D. Getting enough of these vitamins can be challenging for some groups of the population and for people on restricted diets.
- Eggs are truly versatile, they can be turned into simple and easy savoury and sweet dishes or just served up scrambled, poached or boiled with toast and juice for a healthy start to the day.
- Eggs are a great food for young children. Whilst they should not be introduced before 6 months they are easy to eat, convenient, inexpensive and come in small packages perfect for small tummies.
- Thanks to accreditation schemes and better animal husbandry, salmonella in British Eggs has largely been eradicated, so not only are they healthy to eat they are also safe too.
- Egg allergy is also less common that many of us think. Only about 2.5% of infants have an allergic reaction to eggs and about half of these grow out of it by the time they reach school age. Egg allergy in the adult population is only around 0.5% (1 in every 200 people)
- Approximately 85% of the eggs produced in Britain qualify for the British Lion Egg Standard. Each egg is marked with how the hen that laid it was farmed (free range, organic, barn, caged etc) and with a unique code that means you can actually trace the egg to the farm it was laid on.