Eggs are one of the most versatile foods on the planet. Scrambled, fried, hard boiled, whipped into a quiche or an omelette, poached, and more — the possibilities are truly endless. But what is the healthiest way to eat eggs? Well, there are a few factors to keep in mind for that answer.
First off, you might be surprised to learn that research has found cooking eggs for longer periods and at higher heats results in a loss of nutrients like vitamin D and antioxidants. In one study, authors observed that baking eggs for 40 minutes reduced the vitamin D level by 61 percent. However, boiling or frying only lowered the level by 18 percent. So the quicker the recipe, the better.
Although it’s obviously delicious to fry eggs up in oil, butter, or bacon grease, we also know those aren’t always the healthiest option. Oil and butter aren’t necessarily awful for you, especially when used in moderation, but indulgent ingredients like bacon grease should be probably kept for special occasions. The same goes for similarly heavy add-ins, like heavy cream or tons of cheese in scrambles and omelettes.
Poached beats out boiled eggs for the number one healthiest slot by taking just a few minutes to cook without any added oil or fat. That is, as long as you don’t smother them in hollandaise when they’re done. Try adding poached eggs to a whole wheat avocado toast or with a side of veggies instead!
If you’re worried about whether you should skip egg yolks to protect your heart, you can relax. Despite the lingering misinformation, recent studies have found consuming whole eggs isn’t likely to increase cardiovascular issues. Unless your doctor has specifically told you to avoid egg yolks, you should be fine. Plus, most of the nutritional value of eggs is found inside the yolk, so going without it would deprive you of those perks.
Another important thing to note: No matter what Sylvester Stallone might have led us to believe in Rocky, chugging raw eggs isn’t a great way to get health benefits. Cooking eggs increases our body’s ability to absorb their protein content. According to research, we get 91 percent of the protein from eggs that have been heated up versus just 51 percent from raw eggs. We also digest more biotin from eggs after they’ve been cooked.
Even if you do choose a method other than poaching or hard boiling, you’ll still get plenty of nutrients — but just be mindful of those added ingredients and cook time.