Today we are going to answer a fundamental question: Can you eat eggs on paleo?
Why is this so important? Well, let’s just say that eggs are nature’s perfect food – that should be enough to intrigue you. If you continue reading, you will learn everything there is about these precious repositories of essential nutrients.
We will also speak about a pervasive issue – egg allergies since they affect millions of people worldwide.
Are Eggs Paleo-friendly?
We will answer right away: Yes, eggs are not only allowed when you are on a paleo diet, but you are also encouraged to consume them regularly.
Paleo diet is based on a notion that we should eat the same way our prehistoric ancestors did. Since they were hunters, gatherers, or both, they ate only food that came right out of nature that surrounded them. There was no processed or imported food – only that that they could find, grow or catch on their own.
Eggs are such food. They were consumed whenever they were available. Still, hunter-gatherers were opportunists who rarely consumed the same food every day, day in and day out. We do that rather often, especially when we are on a special diet such as Paleo.
Besides, today, we tend to consume food that we have not had much contact with on our evolutionary timescale. The paleo diet creators think that that is the root of all our nutritional problems, including allergies, excessive weight, and numerous diseases that were unknown until the modern era.
Indeed, when you look at the list of high allergen foods, you will surely notice that most of those foods were not available to our hunter-gatherer predecessors. Even if some food has been a part of their diet too, it was most probably hard to get by and thus consumed rarely, or it was seasonal.
Paleo diet limits our choice of food, and for some, that can be an issue too. If you have specific allergies or other types of restrictions, you can quickly end up with quite a short list of allowed food. As a result, you can end up eating one and the same thing every day.
If you follow the paleo diet program, you need to try to make your meals as different as possible. It is an excellent opportunity for creative cooking and trying out new stuff!
If you read that eggs are highly recommended, it does not mean that you should base your diet plan only on eggs and eat them every single day. If you do, your body can have a reaction to them, and you can develop allergies you never had before. The same goes for all food, not only eggs. It is highly recommended that you rotate your diet!
We will speak about egg allergy later on, but let us first discover why you should consume eggs in the first place.
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Why Are Eggs Good For You?
We have already said it, we’ll say it again: Eggs are as close to a perfect food as possible! In fact, if there were a contest to crown the perfect food, eggs would most probably wear that crown home.
Many things make eggs a great choice of food:
- You can find them easily
- They are available throughout the year
- They are easy to cook
- They are highly affordable
- They are packed with protein and very nutrient-dense
The eggs are not meant to feed predators; they are built to create a breathing-living organism. For this reason, the egg contains a number of valuable compounds that can not be found in almost any other food.
Recent studies have shown that eating eggs, in combination with other food, can enhance the absorption of vitamins. For instance, adding an egg to your salad will help your body absorb more vitamin E.
Eggs can help us in many ways – one is through a compound called choline. Choline is believed to have the power to protect us from developing Alzheimer’s disease. It protects our liver, as well.
Lutein is yet another compound found in eggs that brings us health benefits. Egg yolks are packed with lutein. It is a pigment that can help us retain perfect eyesight even when we grow old. It also lowers the risk of eye disease.
When eating meat, our body gets only two protein types, while eating eggs provides us with as much as forty-seven of them. The majority of these egg white proteins have antibacterial properties.
Recently, there were some claims that eggs can guard us against the coronavirus too. Unfortunately, this has not been scientifically supported and is most probably just wishful thinking.
Can Eggs Be Bad For You?
Most nutritionists and scientists agree that eggs pose no risk to our health. We should add that this is true as long as you eat them in moderation. If you remember our advice to keep your diet diverse, you should be perfectly fine and at no risk.
You probably heard that eggs increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases due to their high cholesterol content. It is true that single egg yolk can contain as much as 190 milligrams of cholesterol, which is more than half of the daily allowed amount of 300mg. The question is: Can this cholesterol do us any harm?
We are taught to consider cholesterol bad, but it is actually a highly important building block in our cell membranes. Our body needs it to produce vitamin D, as well as hormones, testosterone, and estrogen.
Cholesterol travels through our blood carried by lipoprotein molecules. Each of us has a unique combination of different lipoproteins types, which is why some are at a greater risk of heart diseases than others.
“Bad” cholesterol or the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol can build-up in our blood vessels and thus contribute to cardiovascular diseases. At least, that is what we all were taught to think.
Still, no one has yet found a definite link between the consumption of cholesterol and heart diseases. For this reason, the US dietary guidelines have removed all the cholesterol restrictions. The blame has been transferred onto saturated fats, and they are now considered responsible for developing cardiovascular diseases.
What About Egg Allergies?
Egg allergies are a real thing, and they affect more than five million people only in the USA. For this reason, eggs are often found on the list of dietary restrictions. Many people have to avoid eggs as part of an autoimmune protocol too.
Paleo diet without eggs can be rather challenging, so it is vital to learn why these allergies occur and how you can help prevent them. The good news is that even if you have to do without eggs, there are many delicious and healing paleo-friendly meals you can prepare 100% egg-free.
How Can You Tell If You Are Allergic To Eggs?
The symptoms of egg allergy occur immediately after eating eggs and are as follows:
- Throat swelling
Many people react to egg whites only, but we still recommend that you should avoid eggs altogether if you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms. There is the potential for cross-contamination, and reactions can often be severe, so better be safe than sorry.
The good news is that most egg allergies occur in children and can thus be grown out of in time. If you are worried about your child, don’t be-the allergy will most probably disappear on its own.
Why So Many People Have An Allergic Response To Eggs?
As we have mentioned, eggs contain a plethora of proteins. One is called lysozyme. Its role is to breakdown the cell’s bilipid membrane. It does the same to bacterial membranes and is thus considered antibacterial.
On the downside, lysozyme is also one of the biggest reasons why people have an allergic response to egg whites. Sometimes the reaction can be so severe that people end up in the hospital unable to breathe. It is called anaphylaxis, and it is one of the most significant reasons why babies should not consume eggs until they are one year old.
Why Our Body Does Not React To 47 Other Proteins?
We already have lysozyme in our body – for example, it is in our tears when we cry. While our body breaks down all the other proteins found in egg whites, lysozyme is allowed to pass since it is not deemed to be hostile. However, it often acts as a Trojan horse and facilitates transport for the other peptides.
In simple words: We do not have the autoimmune reaction to lysozyme but rather to all that other stuff that gets through together with it.
For this reason, eating a whole bunch of eggs every single day is not a good idea even though they’re a near-perfect food.
The Bottom Line
Eggs are paleo and highly recommended when you are following the paleo nutrition plan. However, this does not mean that you should not limit the consumption of eggs. Eating too many eggs too often can lead to an allergic reaction or autoimmune response in your body.
Even though we are often advised not to eat eggs due to their high cholesterol content, it has recently been proven that dietary cholesterol has an insignificant effect on our blood cholesterol. In short: Eating eggs will not change your blood cholesterol levels much.
An egg allergy or intolerance can make a paleo diet plan more challenging, but not impossible. You can work around this problem! Do not allow anything to prevent you from enjoying all the benefits of paleo!
If you cannot eat eggs, find out if you can eat eggplant instead!