And 5 creative ways you can dig in today

Despite their status as nutritional powerhouses, eggs are too often knocked down a notch by critics who claim their golden yolks are better avoided. But before you whip up your next egg-white omelette, consider this: The yolks are home to all sorts of goodies that the whites alone are lacking.

The bad reputation comes from the cholesterol in yolks, says Catherine Shanahan, MD, author of Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food. Yes, there’s cholesterol in there, but, contrary to what we’ve previously been told, dietary cholesterol doesn’t seem to affect blood cholesterol, the type that actually clogs your arteries.

Plus, egg yolks are rich in unsaturated fats, including omega-3s, which fight inflammation and offer some protection against heart disease. They’ve also got vitamin D (which seems like it helps with just about everything, doesn’t it?) and B12 for healthy blood and nerve cells. Plus, yolks contain brain-building choline and immunity-protecting selenium—stuff you really don’t want to miss!

The American Heart Association used to recommend sticking to fewer than 300 mg of dietary cholesterol a day, but they’ve since decided there’s not enough scientific evidence to stand by that suggestion. “I think you’d get fed up with eating eggs before you ate too many,” Shanahan jokes. Her pro tip: Don’t overcook the yolks, or some of that dietary cholesterol can oxidize and become harmful rather than helpful. Over easy for the win!

Speaking of eggs over easy, if you’re tired of your old standby, here are a few more outside the box (carton?) egg yolk ideas to consider.

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ADD THEM TO SALADS.
“Using a grater, shave a hard-boiled yolk over your favourite homemade salad, then drizzle with a vinaigrette dressing,” says Vicki Shanta Retelny, RDN, LDN, who blogs at SimpleCravingsRealFood.com.

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MIX THEM INTO PASTA.
“Quarter a hard-boiled yolk and spoon over tricolour rotini,” Retelny says. “Drizzle with olive oil and a dash of garlic powder.”

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UPGRADE YOUR AVOCADO TOAST.

“Cook a sunny side up egg and spoon over avocado toast, add a squeeze of lime juice, a dash of salt, and a sprinkle of black paper,” Retelny says.

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WHISK ONE INTO YOUR MORNING OATS.

Crack an egg and stir it up with your usual oatmeal, then cook as usual for a fluffier, creamier, more protein-packed bowl.

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TRY BREAKFAST PIZZA.

Top your favourite homemade or store-bought crust with any and all mix-ins you’d throw into an omelette. Crack an egg on top and bake until the egg white is opaque.

Article originally published on menshealth.com