Dear Chuck, recent government studies have shown that eggs are more nutritious than we once believed. Believe it? – Sam L., Casper, Wyo.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a few weeks ago that eggs are 14 percent lower in cholesterol and 64 percent higher in vitamin D than we previously thought. That is good news for the American diet.

Many people have avoided eating eggs. But more and more people who have banished eggs from their diets are welcoming them back from exile.

Here are my top 10 reasons eggs are egg-cellent for you:

10) The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults limit cholesterol to 300 milligrams per day (others say 500 milligrams is just fine). Adults at risk for heart disease should not consume more than 200 milligrams per day. A large egg contains about 185-210 milligrams, so you do the math.

9) A 1999 Harvard study found no association between eggs and heart disease, except in people with diabetes. Some countries – including Canada, the U.K. and Australia – don’t put restrictions on upper limits for cholesterol, saying there’s a lack of evidence that dietary cholesterol (found in animal foods, such as eggs) raises blood cholesterol.

8) Most Americans need more vitamin D (especially during colder months), so 64 percent more vitamin D in each egg is good news. About 7 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D can be found in one large yolk.

7) One egg contains 6 grams of protein and all nine essential amino acids, and eggs are rich in other nutrients. Egg yolks are good sources of the minerals phosphorus and selenium, as well as vitamin A, vitamin B12 and riboflavin. But contrary to popular opinion, the color of an eggshell (or yolk, for that matter) has no bearing on an egg’s quality or nutritional value.

6) Eggs promote healthy hair and nails because of their high sulfur, vitamin and mineral content.

5) One egg yolk has about 300 micrograms of choline, which is an important nutrient that helps regulate the brain and nervous and cardiovascular systems.

4) A University of North Carolina study of 3,000 adult women found the risk of developing breast cancer was 24 percent lower among women with the highest intake of choline (via the consumption of eggs, etc.).

3) Some studies suggest eggs may be great for your eyes, preventing macular degeneration and cataract development, because of their carotenoid content.

2) Don’t just consider the good you’re getting from eggs; also consider the bad you’re keeping from your body by not eating other foods. How many avoid eggs for breakfast, only to prefer processed cereals, pancakes, waffles, doughnuts or white toast?

1) According to a controlled study in The FASEB Journal, more than 160 obese adults who consumed eggs for eight weeks lost an average of 6 pounds. A large egg has only 75 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 63 milligrams of sodium and 5 grams of fat (1.5 saturated).

Chuck, I’ve tried Airborne, Cold-Eeze, Zicam and megadoses of vitamin C with little effect on my colds. I hear Cold-FX, a Canadian fixation, works better. Heard anything? – Melissa. S., Farmington, N.M.

In the midst of cold and flu season, we all are looking for bodily border protection from those foreign bugs.

Cold-FX is a patented standardized extract of American ginseng root. It purports to help “reduce the frequency, severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms by boosting the immune system.” It was introduced in the U.S. in 2006.

According to the University of California, Berkeley, it “has been tested in several studies, with promising results.” Health Canada (the equivalent of the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S.) even put its stamp of approval on it.

In studies, those who took Cold-FX over four months had fewer colds, and when they did get colds, symptoms were milder. One study showed that elderly people experienced a reduction in respiratory infections (though it’s not intended to treat them).

Though I’m not endorsing the product, I agree with UC Berkeley: May work, can’t hurt. But as always, talk to your physician or health practitioner before taking it, especially because ginseng has an anticoagulant effect.

Mr. Norris, I recently read your article about the health pillar of sleep. You didn’t mention much about the effects of diet on sleep patterns. Can you elaborate? – “Sleepless in San Antonio”

Though there are a host of sleep-inducing diets, their effectiveness depends more upon the individual than it does the diet. Outside of what one consumes, one’s digestion, blood sugar levels, hormones, all-around health, life circumstances and even personality (say, how one adapts to stress) all become factors in how diet affects sleep.

There is no magic fruit to make you sleep. Still, some studies reveal some generalities that might help here. High-protein and high-fat diets tend to perk us up rather than put us down. On the other hand, high-carbohydrate foods generally make one sleepier because they are supposed to produce the “calming” brain chemical serotonin via the amino acid tryptophan.

And here are some givens about diet and sleep. If you eat sugar-filled foods or drink caffeinated beverages three to four hours before bedtime, good luck getting to sleep. Also, avoid alcohol during the same period; it might put you to sleep sooner, but it actually irritates sleep patterns. And stay away from big munchies or meals two to three hours before bedtime, because digestive acids (especially when you’re lying down) can lead to heartburn or acid reflux.

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