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I recommend that everyone eats three whole eggs each day. I say this because egg whites are a high-quality protein and yolks provide critical fats and micronutrients that benefit muscle growth, muscle strength, and aid fat loss.
If you're serious about maximizing your results in the gym, you need to eat eggs. But I know that eating eggs every single day can get very boring. That's why I have so many egg recipes, so they don't become unpalatable. Because I'm armed with so many recipes, I never get bored of eggs. My egg meals are usually one of my favorite meals of the day; but maybe that's because I know the benefits they provide me.
Are you worried about the cholesterol? Don't be! Research shows that the cholesterol from eggs does not negatively influence your cholesterol levels, but may actually have a positive effect. Plus, cholesterol is actually important for muscle growth and strength gains. Research shows that poeple eating a higher cholesterol diet and following a weight training program gain significantly (about twice as much) more strength and muscle mass.
You should be careful with your egg yolk consumption only if you have cholesterol issues or you have a family history of high cholesterol. I only say that because it's tough for me to give medical advice online without working with someone on a one-on-one basis. As newer research suggests, even people with high cholesterol can consume several egg yolks per day. But, how many eggs you eat is up to you and your doctor.
Cured Ham, Nitrites, and Nitric Oxide
One of my favorite ways to prepare eggs is my Cheesy Ham Scramble. I typically add 2-3 slices (about 2-3 ounces) of low-fat deli ham to my eggs. Many people are worried about the nitrites used in cured deli meats like ham. But let me set the record straight and give you the real deal on nitrites. For starters, unprocessed meat, such as steak, contains nitrite. And while processed meats contain more nitrites than unprocessed meats, the difference is far less than originally claimed. Do nitrites cause cancer? There is some weak association between diets higher in nitrites and cancer rates, but the research isn't strong. It appears that the amount of nitrites associated with an increased risk of cancer is a ridiculously high, far beyond the amount that you would ever consume in a single day.
Nitrites in normal amounts are actually healthy and can aid performance and muscle growth! Surprised by this statement? It's not at all surprising when you consider the science behind it. Most of you are familiar with nitric oxide (NO) and the fact that it relaxes blood vessels to increase blood flow. This is beneficial for cardiovascular health because it keeps your blood vessels functioning properly and prevents them from getting "stiff" as we age.
NO also helps to deliver more blood flow to tissues like muscle fibers, helps increase endurance and strength during workouts, and enhances the muscle pump during workouts. A bigger muscle pump places a bigger stretch on the muscle cell membranes, which instigates chemical reactions that instigate long-term muscle growth
But how do nitrites relate to nitric oxide? The chemical symbol for nitric oxide is NO. And the chemical symbol for nitrites is NO2-. In the bloodstream, nitrite is readily reduced by several enzymes, which means that it loses one of its oxygen molecules and is essentially converted into NO.
To read more on nitrate, nitrite, and NO, click here.
Cheesy Ham Scramble Recipe
This recipe is a protein powerhouse that has almost zero carbs. Its macronutrient profile makes it great for people who keep carbs extremely low. For people who would like to add carbs, try adding whole-wheat or Ezekiel toast, fruit, or a bowl of oatmeal.
- 3 large whole eggs and 1 large egg white, scrambled
- 2-3 slices (2-3 oz) low-fat ham
- 2 slices (2 oz) low-fat cheese
- Coat a skillet with non-stick cooking spray.
- Cook ham until slightly browned.
- Add scrambled eggs to the cooked ham in the skillet.
- Add cheese.
- Stir frequently with spatula until all ingredients are mixed thoroughly and eggs are cooked to desired doneness.
- Transfer scramble from skillet to plate and eat up.