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This Is the Healthiest Way to Eat an Egg

Make breakfast the most important—and healthiest—meal of the day.

There's little debate over whether or not breakfast is important. It is. Eating what most agree is the most important meal of the day is associated with a variety of benefits, according to several studies. In fact, skipping breakfast has been linked to increased risk of heart attack, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. But you can't just chug a gallon of coffee and a couple of doughnuts and assume you're doing yourself any favors. When it comes to breakfast, it's best to make it count and pack it as full of nutrition as you can. Enter the egg.

While the egg used to be a source of controversy because of its high cholesterol content, but the truth of the matter is that the amount of saturated fat that's in your diet has more to do with your cholesterol levels than the amount of cholesterol you eat. The truth of the matter is that eggs are a great source of a multitude of nutrients, some of which are hard to find elsewhere. Eggs are a great source of every B vitamin, vitamin D, lutein (which helps prevent macular degeneration), choline (which improves brain function), and thanks to containing every necessary amino acid, they're also a complete protein.

As good as eggs are for you, some methods of cooking them are better than others. Naturally, frying them in a massive quantity of saturated fat is not particularly healthy. Barring the obvious, the science behind how best to cook your eggs is pretty interesting.

For starters, eggs are best served cooked, no matter what your gym buddies tell you. Cooking eggs not only destroys salmonella, it also increases the amount of protein from the egg that the human body can use. The assimilation of protein from eggs increases by 40 percent when the egg is cooked versus raw, according to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition.

But you don't want to cook your eggs any old way. Cooking your eggs for a long time (for example, baking them) reduces their vitamin and antioxidant content. And cooking eggs at high heat can oxidize the cholesterol in the yolks, creating compounds that have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. 

So, it would seem that the healthiest way to eat an egg involves cooking it briefly and at a comparatively low temperature.

With this in mind, the best way to cook an egg for maximum health would is poaching it, which involves dropping a raw egg into a pot of almost boiling water and cooking it very briefly. If poaching eggs isn't your style, cooking them briefly in fat that can withstand high heat (a combination of butter and olive oil works well) is perfectly fine. After all, eggs are so jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, and protein that even if you reduce the amount you're getting from them, they're still leaps and bounds better than doughnuts for breakfast. And when you want to make every meal healthier, start by incorporating the 50 Best Foods for Your Brain into your routine.

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