Plant-Based

Can You Eat Eggs On A Plant-Based Diet?

by:
Reviewed by:
Jacqueline Sanchez

In dietary choices, the question looms large can you eat eggs on a plant-based diet without compromising its core principles? This query often leads to spirited discussions, given the rich nutritional profile of eggs.

A single egg, brimming with proteins, essential vitamins, and minerals, yet shadowed by cholesterol debates. How does this fit with the ethos of a diet centered around greens and grains? 

It feels akin to merging two distinct worlds. Yet, as we go further, we’ll aim to piece together this intriguing dietary puzzle.

Yes, you can eat eggs on a plant-based diet, but it depends on your interpretation of plant-based. While the primary focus is on plant-derived foods, some people choose to include eggs and even cheese in a plant-based diet for their nutritional benefits.

Exploring The Reasons Why You Can Eat Eggs In A Plant-Based Diet

1. Nutritional Complementarity

For those on a plant-centric diet, some essential nutrients might be in shorter supply or not as easily absorbed. Eggs stand out as a nutritional beacon. 

Drawing insights from BBC Good Food, eggs are laden with top-tier protein, vital vitamins such as B12 and D, and key minerals like iron and zinc. Contrastingly, the egg white is the primary protein hub.

By integrating eggs, replete with all 9 indispensable amino acids, one can effectively fill this nutritional void. 

Dive into the yolk, and you’ll find a treasure of fat-soluble vitamins, encompassing A, D, and E, along with crucial omega-3 fatty acids.

2. Enhanced Nutrient Absorption

Eggs, celebrated for their rich nutritional profile, bring more to the table than just proteins and vital nutrients. 

They have an intrinsic ability to boost the uptake of specific nutrients from accompanying foods. The fats in eggs, in particular, aid in assimilating fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K present in diverse vegetables.

This ensures we extract the maximum nutritional value from our meals. A study done by the National Library of Medicine indicates that adding cooked whole eggs to dishes, such as a fresh vegetable salad, markedly increases the absorption of α-tocopherol and γ-tocopherol, both variants of vitamin E.

3. Flexibility in Dietary Definitions

The term plant-based is often interpreted in various ways. While it primarily emphasizes foods derived from plants, it doesn’t strictly dictate the total exclusion of animal products. 

Some interpretations of a plant-based diet allow for the inclusion of minimal animal-derived foods, like eggs,  if you can eat honey in a plant-based diet? Or even fish in certain cases, especially when they offer specific health or nutritional benefits.

4. Culinary Versatility

Eggs are incredibly versatile in cooking and can be used in various plant-based dishes to enhance flavor, texture, and nutrition. 

From binding agents in baking to starring roles in dishes like vegetable frittatas, salads or plant-based burgers, eggs can seamlessly integrate into a plant-based menu.

5. Ethical and Sustainable Choices

For many, the choice to follow a plant-based diet is rooted in ethical and environmental concerns. By including eggs from sustainable sources, one can maintain the ethical integrity of a plant-based diet while benefiting from the nutrition eggs offer. 

Eggs, especially when sourced from local, free-range, or organic farms, can be a more ethically sound choice compared to factory-farmed meats.

Are Eggs A Healthy Food Choice For Our Body While On A Plant-Based Diet?

Eggs can be a healthy food choice, even when following a plant-based diet.

Here are some key reasons, facts, and benefits of including eggs in our diet.

1. Eye Health

Eggs, often lauded for their dense nutritional profile, hold a special place in promoting eye health. 

Rich in antioxidants, especially lutein, and zeaxanthin, they act as shields against damaging high-energy light waves, including ultraviolet rays.

Supporting this perspective, a study referenced by News-Medical indicates that eggs stand out as a prime source of lutein. 

Remarkably, our body assimilates lutein from eggs with greater efficacy compared to other dietary sources. 

This defense mechanism can play a pivotal role in warding off eye conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts.

2. Complete Protein Source

Eggs stand out as a dietary gem, especially when considering their protein profile. As documented by the National Library of Medicine, eggs are more than just a cholesterol source; they’re teeming with beneficial nutrients. 

This makes eggs a complete protein source, a characteristic especially valuable for individuals on a plant-based diet where some plant proteins might fall short. 

The study further underscores that the protein in eggs contributes to various health benefits, from addressing malnutrition in certain regions to potentially fostering growth in children.

3. Brain Health

Eggs are more than just a breakfast staple; they’re a rich reservoir of choline, a nutrient paramount for brain functionality and overall health.

Choline plays a dual role: it’s integral in constructing cell membranes and is pivotal in the production of signaling molecules within the brain. 

A study featured by Burnbrae Farms emphasizes the significance of choline in our diet. Not only is choline a part of every cell membrane, ensuring optimal cell functionality, but it’s also a precursor for acetylcholine, a crucial neurotransmitter that governs memory and mood.

4. Heart Health

When it comes to cardiovascular well-being, eggs have historically faced scrutiny because of their cholesterol levels. 

However, insights from a Mass General Brigham study, led by Dr. Pradeep Natarajan, shed new light on this topic. The findings highlight that a sizable egg carries about 186 milligrams of cholesterol, mostly found in the yolk. 

Yet, prevailing research indicates that the cholesterol from eggs doesn’t markedly alter blood cholesterol for the majority of people. 

Interestingly, eggs can elevate HDL (often termed the “beneficial” cholesterol), which may lower heart disease risks.

With their low content of saturated fats and almost non-existent trans fats, eggs, when enjoyed judiciously, stand as a favorable option for heart health.

Conclusion

The role of eggs within a plant-based dietary framework often sparks discussions and investigations. Eggs, celebrated for their dense nutrient content, bring forth an array of proteins, essential vitamins, and key minerals. 

Their distinct nutritional makeup not only augments the benefits derived from plants but also bolsters the uptake of specific vitamins, positioning them as a noteworthy component in a diet dominated by plants.

Research consistently underscores the multifaceted advantages of eggs, ranging from bolstering cardiovascular and ocular health to addressing potential nutrient deficiencies inherent in a solely plant-driven diet. 

While the core of a plant-based diet champions foods of plant origin, judiciously integrating eggs can pave the way for a comprehensive nutritional landscape.

To sum it up, though individual preferences and ethical beliefs are paramount, nutritionally speaking, eggs can seamlessly integrate into a plant-focused diet.

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