2 to 3 a week
“Eggs fit into a healthy diet, it’s that simple,” says Wieke van der Vossen. “But there is such a thing as ‘too many’ eggs. Our advice is 2 to 3 eggs per week, so certainly not every day. Eggs contain cholesterol. If you eat a lot of it, it can slightly raise your own LDL cholesterol levels, which can eventually narrow your blood vessels and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.” But don’t worry if you eat more eggs than the advice some weeks. “These consequences apply to someone who eats too many eggs for his entire life in combination with a diet high in saturated fats.”
Iron and proteins
Eggs also contain many good substances. “Namely proteins, iron, vitamins and minerals,” says Van der Vossen. “Iron is good for transporting oxygen through the bloodstream. When you build up an iron deficiency, you can start to feel lifeless. Proteins are known to be good for building muscle,” says Van der Vossen.
“Eggs, especially the egg yolk, do contain saturated fat, so they fit better in a varied diet according to the Wheel of Five than in combination with fatty snacks, cookies and pastries.”
Vegans and vegetarians
If you don’t eat eggs, for example because you don’t like them, you can also get the iron from other products. “Spinach, bok choy, chard, beef and nuts are high in iron. If you want to consume more protein, legumes are a good source,” says Van der Vossen. If you are a vegetarian, the Nutrition Center recommends 3 to 4 eggs per week, one more than for non-vegetarians. “They get less saturated fat from meat. An egg is an excellent meat substitute because of its proteins and iron.”
Influence of the preparation method
You can boil, bake, poach eggs, you name it. But what is the healthiest and best option? According to Van der Vossen, cooking is the purest and best way to eat eggs. “If you fry an egg, you naturally add fat and you no longer eat the egg pure, but that does not make a fried egg unhealthy. It is better to fry them in unsaturated fats, such as oil or liquid margarine, than in butter.”
Something to watch out for when preparing eggs is salmonella, the bacteria that chickens can carry. “Everyone can get sick from this, but the danger is even greater for vulnerable groups, such as young children, pregnant women and the elderly. For that group it is important to fry an egg well.” So no soft-boiled egg for them.
- The codes on eggs can start with a number from 0 to 2. A 0 stands for an organic egg, where the chicken gets organic food and a lot of space. If the egg code starts with a 1, the egg is free range, those chickens can go outside during the day, and they also have quite a bit of space inside. A 2 means that the chickens can only be inside, with less space. For animal welfare, the lowest possible code is best.
- Eggs are best kept in the refrigerator. Then they stay fresh a little longer. Bacteria such as salmonella are less likely to grow at low temperatures.
- Eggs can still be called ‘fresh’ 28 days after the laying date. But often a week has passed before the eggs are in your basket after the production process. So always keep an eye on the expiration date on the box. Do you eat them after the expiration date? Then heat them well.
- You can safely eat dyed eggs from the supermarket, because safe paint must be used for that. If you paint eggs yourself, you can also eat them safely, as long as you use mild paint or felt-tip pens, not wall or finger paint.