People who consume an egg a day could significantly reduce their risk of cardiovascular diseases compared with eating no eggs, suggests a study carried out in China, published in the journal Heart.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, including China, mostly due to ischaemic heart disease and stroke (including both haemorrhagic and ischaemic stroke).
Unlike ischaemic heart disease, which is the leading cause of premature death in most Western countries, stroke is the most responsible cause in China, followed by heart disease.
Although ischaemic stroke accounted for the majority of strokes, the proportion of haemorrhagic stroke in China is still higher than that in high income countries.
Eggs are a prominent source of dietary cholesterol, but they also contain high-quality protein, many vitamins and bioactive components such as phospholipids and carotenoids.
Previous studies looking at associations between eating eggs and impact on health have been inconsistent, and most of them found insignificant associations between egg consumption and coronary heart disease or stroke.
In particular, daily egg consumers (up to one egg/day) had a 26% lower risk of haemorrhagic stroke the type of stroke with a higher prevalence rate in China than in high-income countries a 28% lower risk of haemorrhagic stroke death and an 18% lower risk of CVD death.
In addition, there was a 12% reduction in risk of ischaemic heart disease observed for people consuming eggs daily (estimated amount 5.32 eggs/week), when compared with the 'never/rarely' consumption category (2.03 eggs/week).
This was an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, but the authors said their study had a large sample size and took into account established and potential risk factors for CVD.