March 11, 2022

The Delicious Goodness of Egg Yolks

President's Blog
Margaret Hudson
President, Burnbrae Farms
4th Generation Farmer

As nutrition myths go, this one is still pretty pervasive: When eating eggs, it’s healthiest to toss the yolks and eat only the egg whites . Today’s blog post will finally put that myth to rest and present the top reasons why egg yolks should remain in your recipes and on your plate.

Most people wrongly assume that egg whites contain all of the protein in the egg, and may opt for an ‘egg-white only’ omelette. Interesting fact: yolks actually contribute just under half of the protein in a whole egg. One egg has six grams of protein, with roughly 60 percent in the white, and 40 percent in the yolk. Toss the yolk, and you’re tossing away protein too.

A review study published in the journal Nutrients found that most of the nutrients in eggs – including the fat, vitamins, and minerals - are housed in the yolk. Neat fact: The egg yolk contains all vitamins except vitamin C! Eating just two eggs per day covers between 10-30 percent of the vitamin requirements for the day.

In particular, yolks are an important source of vitamin K2 , which plays a role in bone health and heart health. They are also one of few foods that contain vitamin D , which is essential for normal immune function. Plus, the yolk is home to nutrients such as choline and selenium. Choline is important for everyone, but especially for pregnant women, because it plays a role in fetal brain development. Selenium is an antioxidant that’s involved in the immune system and hormonal balance.

The yolk is the part of the egg that also contains the most lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoid antioxidants. Studies have shown that both lutein and zeaxanthin may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss as we age.

And yolks also contain fat, but that’s a good thing. In order for your body to properly absorb nutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin, these antioxidants need to be eaten alongside a source of fat – which is what yolks provide. It’s like nature’s perfect package to boost absorption.

When you choose omega-3 enriched eggs, guess where the omega-3 fats are found? Yes, they are in the egg yolk! And in regular eggs (not enriched with omega-3 fat), there’s only 1.5 grams of saturated fat in an egg yolk, and the rest of the fat (3 g) is unsaturated.

And while on the topic of fat, it’s important to mention that egg yolks also contain cholesterol. That’s one reason why they were widely banned in the 1990s, when we still thought that cholesterol in foods lead to high blood cholesterol levels. We’ve since learned that’s not the case, which you can read more about in this post, Debunking Cholesterol and Egg Myths.

And we can’t talk about yolks without mentioning the taste and culinary uses! Yolks contain fat, which means they provide flavour and mouthfeel to your recipes. What would Eggs Benedict be without yolks? Certainly not the creamy delight we know and love.

Margaret Hudson

President and CEO, Burnbrae Farms