Stroke: The breakfast ingredient that may prevent ‘blockages that lead to strokes’ – study

Why supermarkets can't sell free range eggs from March 21

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It is common knowledge that adherence to a healthy diet can reduce the risk of stroke – but what constitutes such a diet is a widely debated topic. For a long time, it’s remained unclear how eggs interact with our health. New research published in eLife, however, suggests that moderate egg consumption could prevent the arterial blockages that lead to stroke. The study suggests they may do so by increasing the amount of heart-healthy metabolites in the blood.

Eggs have historically been vilified on the grounds that they contribute directly to the build-up of bad cholesterol in the blood.

But in some studies, regular consumption of eggs has been found to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke substantially, compared to infrequent egg consumption.

A new body of research supports these findings.

This time, researchers honed in on the direct effects of eggs on markers of cardiovascular health.

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The team were able to do this using a technique called targeted nuclear magnetic resonance, which measured metabolites in plasma samples taken from 4,778 participants.

Of all the metabolites colleges, 24 were identified as being directly linked to self-reported levels of egg consumption.

The results revealed that individuals who ate a moderate amount of eggs had higher levels of protein in their blood; apolipoprotein – which is used as a building block for high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

HDL is referred to as “good” cholesterol because it absorbs harmful fatty molecules and carries them back to the liver.

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The liver then excretes them from the body before they’ve had a chance to latch on the arterial walls.

Science Daily detailed the findings with the following statement: “These individuals especially had more large HDL molecules in their blood, which help clear cholesterol from the blood vessels and thereby protect against blockages that can lead to heart attacks and stroke.”

The lead author of the study, Lang Pan, MSc at the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Peking University added: “Few studies have looked at the role that plasma cholesterol metabolism plays in the association between egg consumption and the risk of cardiovascular diseases, so we wanted to help address this gap.”

“Together, our results provide a potential explanation for how eating a moderate amount of eggs can help protect against heart disease”, added Canqing Yu, Associate Professor at the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Peking University.

He continued: “More studies are needed to verify the causal roles that lipid metabolites play in the association between egg consumption and the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

Aside from being a source of dietary cholesterol, eggs offer a wealth of healthy nutrients like lutein, and zeaxanthin, both of which protect the eyes.

In fact, eggs are regarded as one of few “complete” sources of protein as they contain all nine essential amino acids.

Choline, another key component of eggs, has been found beneficial for the maintenance of the brain and nerves.

The organisation Heart UK, states: “If you have high blood cholesterol, you should limit the amount of cholesterol you eat to about 300mg per day.

“That’s about the amount most people in the UK eat.

“Eating three to four eggs a week should be fine, but speak to your doctor or dietitian about what’s best for you.”

Overconsumption of eggs, can in some cases negatively affect the kidneys, causing side effects like bloating, vomiting and stomach-related issues.

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