The Maximum Amount Of Eggs You Can Safely Eat Each Week

Eggs have a pretty scrambled reputation. (Get it?) Once a universally accepted health food, eggs have gotten a bad rap in recent conversation as being too high in cholesterol and not as heart-healthy as most consumers had come to believe. One large egg contains around 186 milligrams of cholesterol — for reference, the recommended daily intake for cholesterol is 300 milligrams for adults, according to CardioSmart. Yikes.

But, eggs also boast an impressive and undeniable repertoire of health benefits, too. Just one large egg provides 6 grams of high quality protein, only 70 calories, and is a good source of essential nutrients, per Food Network. So, which is it? Are eggs good for you, or not?

Like most toss-ups in life, the answer is: "Both." And, as with so many other good things, the key word here is "moderation." This is the exact sweet spot to reap all the health benefits from your morning egg avocado toast without making the mistake of overdoing it. Too much of a good thing can be, well, you know ...

The health benefits of eating eggs

The pros and cons might seem like a lot to unyolk. On one hand, eggs are singular units packed with nutrients. Eggs are a potent source of vitamins A, D, B12, and all nine essential amino acids, per the BBC. They also contain about 113 milligrams of choline, an important nutrient for neurological and metabolic health.

Eggs can also lower your triglycerides, reports Health Digest. According to the Mayo Clinic, triglycerides are a type of fat found in the bloodstream. In healthy levels, it reports, triglycerides provide the body with energy and keep it fueled; in excess, triglycerides can cause heart failure and increased risk of strokes. However, despite all its good contents, eggs still pack a pretty high amount of cholesterol. Is it a big deal?

According to Healthline, eggs actually improve a body's overall cholesterol profile. Eggs raise HDL (the "good" cholesterol) and tend to lower LDL (the "bad cholesterol). Amy Bhatt, MD, FACC of Harvard Medical School explains that high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) work with the liver to keep blood clean; they prevent plaque buildup in the heart and protect your cardiovascular system. Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), on the other hand, carry cholesterol to your arteries, which can lead to decreased blood flow to the heart, muscles, or even block an artery.

So, what is the maximum amount of eggs you can safely eat in a week? To reap all the health benefits without incurring any of the negatives?

The magic number is seven

According to the Mayo Clinic, most people can eat up to seven eggs a week without affecting their heart health. The American Heart Association agrees: healthy folks, it says, can include up to one egg per day in a heart-healthy diet. Registered dietitian Nicole Hopsecger, RD, LD of the Cleveland Clinic also recommends one egg per day or half a dozen per week.

The main factor is watching what you pair them with. Eggs might be healthy on their own, but they often come alongside accoutrements like cheese, bacon, and butter, which are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, says the Mayo Clinic. Think twice before you order that bacon, egg, and cheese at the deli counter. Instead, the omega-3s in this salmon eggs Benedict makes for a nutrient-packed meal.

The findings from a study published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care discourage dietary recommendations aimed at restricting egg consumption. The benefits of including eggs in a regular diet outweigh the drawbacks; to write eggs off altogether based on cholesterol is a limiting one-dimensional way of thinking. The key, it says, is maintaining a balanced diet.

The American Heart Association agrees with this as well. Choosing plant-based protein sources will limit cholesterol intake; ovo-lacto vegetarians — who don't consume high-cholesterol, meat-based foods — may safely include more dairy and eggs in their diets. Some folks choose to eat only the egg white and not the yolk, which provides some protein without the cholesterol.