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Can I Eat Eggs If My Cholesterol Is High?

May 28, 2024

Whether they’re scrambled, over easy, hard-boiled or sunny-side-up, eggs are a breakfast staple, rich in nutrients.

But can you still eat eggs if your cholesterol is high?

We asked Anthony Sampino, DO, and Christelle Nimba, APRN, primary care providers at Hartford HealthCare Medical Group.

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Eggs are a great source of protein and nutrients for most people.

Eggs are a great source of nutrients, filled with protein, vitamins and minerals. And, recent research highlights that eating eggs can contribute to our overall cardiovascular health and risk reduction.

In fact, the American Heart Association considers eating one full egg or two egg whites daily, as part of a healthy, balanced diet. “This suggests moderate egg consumption for the average, healthy person doesn’t necessarily risk our heart health,” adds Dr. Sampino.

Eggs can also fill a nutritional void for vegetarians or others who don’t incorporate a lot of meat in their diet.

“The protein in eggs benefits everyone, but can also be especially helpful for vegetarians and those who don’t eat meat,” adds Dr. Sampino.

> Related: 7 Protein-Packed Foods to Add to Your Diet

But if you have high cholesterol, moderation is key.

There’s no denying that eggs have a negative effect on your cholesterol.

“Eggs, especially the yolks, are high in dietary cholesterol, and research indicates that consuming too much dietary cholesterol might lead to higher serum cholesterol levels,” says Nimba.

But that doesn’t mean you need to cut all eggs from your diet — the key is to eat them in moderation.

“An average large egg contains about 186 mg of cholesterol, so if you have high cholesterol, limit yourself to less than three eggs per week,” she advises.

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Egg whites offer the benefits of eggs without the cholesterol.

If you’re having trouble cutting back on your morning eggs, egg whites can be a good substitute.

“To fit eggs into a healthy diet, you can eat egg whites, which don’t have cholesterol. This way, you avoid the cholesterol in the yolk,” explains Nimba.

A few ideas to try include:

  • Vegetable scramble or omelet with egg whites, or one full egg with egg whites added.
  • Egg salad made from the egg whites from hard-boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, celery, onion and herbs.
  • Breakfast burrito with scrambled egg whites, black beans, diced tomato and avocado in a whole wheat wrap.

When in doubt, check with an expert.

If you’re still not sure how to incorporate eggs in your diet in a safe way, your doctor can be a good resource.

“If you have high cholesterol or an increased risk for heart disease, I suggest speaking with your primary care provider, cardiologist or a registered dietitian/nutritionist,” advises Dr. Sampino. “They’ll help you determine the right amount of eggs to include in your diet without affecting your health.”