People who eat an egg just about every day may have a lower risk of heart attack and stroke than individuals who don't eat eggs at all, a large Chinese study suggests.
Researchers examined survey data on egg consumption among 461,213 adults who were 51 years old on average. When they joined the study, none had a history of heart disease. Overall, they ate an average of half an egg daily; about 9 percent of them avoided eggs altogether while 13 percent ate roughly one egg every day.
At least half of the participants were followed for nine years or more. During that time, 83,977 people developed heart disease or had a heart attack or stroke, and 9,985 died from these conditions.
Compared to people who never ate eggs, individuals who ate an average of 0.76 eggs per day were 11 percent less likely to develop cardiovascular diseases and 18 percent less likely to die from these conditions, the study found.
"This is important to people, especially those in the part of the world where eggs are major sources of high-quality proteins and other important nutrients for the body," said Dr. Luc Djousse, a researcher at Harvard Medical School in Boston who wasn't involved in the study.
"The take-home message from this is that when consumed in moderation, there does not appear to be an elevated risk of developing heart disease or stroke," Djousse said by email.
But that doesn't mean people should be rushing to make a three-egg omelet every day for breakfast.
That's because the study doesn't offer any insight into the risk of heart disease or stroke associated with more than one egg a day, Djousse said.
"Eggs are not safe for anyone at risk of heart attacks or strokes, but particularly not for diabetics," said Dr. J. David Spence of the Western University Stroke Prevention & Atherosclerosis Research Center in London, Ontario.