Eating 3-6 eggs a week could slash risk of heart disease

Eating eggs several times a week appears to be linked with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, according to new research. (Rawpixel pic)

BEIJING: A new Chinese study has found that eating eggs several times a week could be linked with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and death.

Carried out by researchers from Fuwai Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, the new study looked at 102,136 participants from 15 provinces across China, who were all free of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer at the start of the study.

The participants completed food-frequency questionnaires to assess their egg consumption and were then followed for 17 years.

The findings, published in the journal Science China Life Sciences, showed that participants who ate three to six eggs per week had the lowest risk of CVD and death among the group.

However, a low or high intake of eggs appeared to be associated with a higher risk of CVD and death, with eating less than one egg a week linked with a 22% higher risk of CVD and a 29% higher risk of death, and eating ten or more eggs per week linked with a 30 percent higher risk of CVD and a 13% higher risk of death.

The researchers also found that egg consumption appeared to have a different effect on different types of CVD. While those who ate more eggs had a higher risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and ischemic stroke, those who ate fewer eggs had a higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke.

Eggs are known to be a quick and affordable source of high-quality proteins, packed with nutrients that are beneficial for health.

However, they are also high in cholesterol, meaning there has been some uncertainty as to whether consuming them could also increase cholesterol levels and the risk of CVD.

The researchers say that up until now the findings from most studies looking at this association have been inconsistent, and no consensus has been reached about recommendations on egg intake.

They also add that their findings highlight that moderate egg consumption of three to six eggs a week should be recommended for CVD prevention in China.

A large-scale US study published in The BMJ just last month also found that, despite previous concerns, eating an egg a day is not linked with a higher risk of CVD, compared to eating less than one egg per month.

After investigating further and carrying out a meta-analysis of 28 observational studies, the team again failed to find a link between eating eggs and CVD risk among participants in the US and European studies.