Over the years there has been a lot of conflicting information about eggs. As a health professional, I believe eggs are a wonderful food and should be part of a healthy, varied diet. Let’s talk about eggs for a bit and see why they can help you.
Why eat eggs?
Let’s get down to the real facts about eggs. Eggs provide a complete protein including all the essential amino acids in a bio-available form for your body. What does it mean to be bio-available? When you eat eggs your body will absorb a high proportion of the protein. It assimilates easily into the body.
The high protein content contributes to improved weight management because it aids in helping to stay energized and feeling full longer. Because eggs provide complete protein with all the essential amino acids, they help to build muscle mass and strength also aiding in weight management.
Eggs offer several B vitamins known to support overall mood enhancement such as B12, Riboflavin and Pantothenic Acid. The B vitamins are integral to the proper functioning of the immune system, brain and cellular development within the body.
Free-range hens will produce eggs with a higher level of Omega-3 fatty acids along with other nutrients.
How do you know if your eggs are nutritious?
Like any other food, the means for producing eggs affect the quality of the nutrients available from the final product. With many of the conventional practices in agriculture today it is important that animal products in the diet should be derived from organic or free-range whenever possible. Buying eggs from chickens that are allowed to roam in the open and eat from the ground will have a higher nutritional value than factory raised chickens that don’t see the light of day and are fed a predominately grain diet.
Brown eggs tend to be of a higher quality than white eggs, in my experience. I believe farmers that choose less widely farmed chickens who produce brown eggs are more likely to understand the benefit of raising them in a nutrient rich environment. To tell if your eggs are of high quality and nutrient value, you should start with the color of eggs. Here is an example of the difference in the quality of two eggs. The one on the left is from a factory farmed chicken egg while the one on the right is from a free-range, local egg delivered to the store within 3 days of being gathered.
As you can see, the free range egg is a brighter orange color while the other egg is pale yellow. The difference comes from the availability of fresh air, pecking in the dirt and being local versus traveling hundreds of miles to the store.
What about the cholesterol?
Eggs have been reported as being high in cholesterol. Pasture-raised free-range hens allowed to forage for their own food tend to produce eggs with higher nutritional quality in having less cholesterol and fats than factory raised chickens.
Healthy adults who eat eggs in moderation can benefit from the nutrients in eggs.