Forget apples – it could be an egg a day that keeps the doctor away. That's according to new research from China, published in the journal Heart.

A team of researchers from China and the UK, led by Professor Liming Li and Dr Canqing Yu from the School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, wanted to see if there was a link between eating eggs and developing cardiovascular disease, ischaemic heart disease, major coronary events, hemorrhagic stroke, and ischaemic stroke.

They used data from an ongoing study, which included more than half a million adults aged 30 to 79 from 10 different locations in China.

About 416,000 participants who were free of prior health problems like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes were chosen. They were asked about how often they ate eggs, then the researched followed up with them after 8.9 years. (Data was collected between 2004 and 2008.)

About 13 percent of participants said they had eggs every day, while 9 percent said they never or rarely consumed eggs.

Once followed up, 83,977 people had cardiovascular disease, 9,985 of whom died. And there were 5,103 "major coronary events", such as stroke or heart attack.

Results showed the people who had eggs daily had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease overall.

Up to one egg a day was associated with a 26 percent lower risk of haemorrhagic stroke, a 28 percent lower risk of dying from a haemorrhagic stroke, and an 18 percent lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

There was also a 12 percent reduced risk of ischaemic heart disease for people eating about five eggs a week, compared to people who are them rarely.

Hemorrhagic stroke is more common China than in higher income countries, whereas ischaemic heart disease is the leading cause of premature death in most Western countries.

Eggs have a complicated history in the media. They are a major source of dietary cholesterol, which meant they were assumed to be bad for us for a while.

But more recent research found they actually help raise your 'good' cholesterol, also called High-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is an important component of all our cells, and actually helps remove other harmful forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream.

Eggs are also full of protein, vitamins, and bioactive components like phospholipids which are found in all cell membranes.

One egg also contains 35 percent of your daily choline, which is an important nutrient for cognitive function, and might protect against Alzheimer's disease.

"Our findings contribute scientific evidence to the dietary guidelines with regard to egg consumption for the healthy Chinese adult," said the authors of the study.

This article was originally published by Business Insider.

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