Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The Yolk Myth

It’s perfectly round, sunshine yellow, and no matter how grumpy you are in the morning, it will tirelessly smile up at you - even if the toast upon which it is perched is burned to within a cinder.

Coincidence or not, a growing number of my friends and colleagues have recently been raving about the egg white omelet: an allegedly low-cholesterol alternative to its humble whole-egg original, known and loved for generations the world over.

But halt! Before you raid the coop, break shells, ditch the yellow and then complain about ending up with a sticky tasteless mass with which you wouldn’t even clean the soles of your feet, let me tell you why we should spare some love for the yolk.

While it is commendable that you wish to improve your diet and limit the intake of bad fats and cholesterol, the number of nasties found in egg yolk is actually negligible compared to levels found in other foods that we regularly consume without even thinking. Take a spoonful of sugar in your tea, that slice of pizza, that caramel latte or that can of beer.

In fact, if you’re aiming for a nutrient-rich diet, yolk will actually give you a much better hit than its milky white neighbour. Like oily fish, yolk contains healthy fats that will facilitate vitamin absorption. Egg yolks are one of the richest dietary sources of the B-complex vitamin choline, which is associated with better neurological function and reduced inflammation. They also contain two carotenoids, namely lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect against vision loss, and a major dose of sulphur, necessary for the production of collagen and keratin –which will make your hair shiny, nails strong and skin glowing. Some scientist even argue that it could help combat dementia, so what’s not to like about that?

Assuming you’re not clinically obese (a fair assumption, I’d argue, considering that you’re reading this blog and therefore likely to be at least relatively health conscious), even several whole eggs a week will not adversely impact your cholesterol levels.

Finally - just like our old friends green tea, dark chocolate, mixed berries and leafy greens - egg yolks are a valuable source of antioxidants that slash the risk of diseases such as cancer and coronary heart disease and even cut the chances of your suffering from altitude sickness.

Whether scrambled, poached, fried or boiled, let's therefore spare a thought for the increasingly overlooked and often under-valued yolk. We all know that it’s what’s on the inside that really counts!

(image courtesy: http://www.leanitup.com)

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