Pastured Eggs are the Healthiest Eggs to Eat

Although given a bad rap by the media, eggs are one of the most nutritious foods.

Eggs are high in protein, rich in omega 3 fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E) and contain a range of vitamins and minerals including Folic acid, B12, Selenium, Zinc, Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Magnesium.  When eaten with the yolk loose, the yolk contains enzymes that help the body digest it.

(Being so rich in nutrition and easy to digest makes loose egg yolk one of the perfect first food for babies.)

The quality of the egg depends directly on the health of the chicken that laid it.  Thus chickens raised in factory farms, never seeing the light of day, in dirty and cramped conditions, produce eggs that are vastly inferior to those laid by stress-free chickens who spend their days freely roaming, pecking at the dirt and eating insects and worms.

Many people believe just by purchasing “organic” eggs that they are getting the best eggs available.  While organic eggs do contain far less toxins, are more nutritious, and are significantly less likely to contaminated with Salmonella than non-organic eggs, the organic label says nothing about how the chickens are raised.   Thus, the quality of the eggs from one organic farm can be quite different from those on another farm.

The Organic Egg Score Card can help you find the best and the worst organic eggs available.

Even Better than simply Organic Eggs are Pastured Eggs:

Pastured chicken eggs means that they are from  free roaming, insect and worm eating, compost, grass, and dirt pecking hens.

Comparing Pastured vs. Commercial Organic Eggs, Pastured Eggs Have:

  • 5 times more Vitamin D

  • 2/3 more Vitamin A

  • 2 times more Omega-3 Fatty Acids

  • 3 times more Vitamin E

  • 7 times more Beta-carotene

If this is not enough convincing enough, here is some research comparing pastured eggs to factory farmed hens that further support pastured eggs as the most nutritious egg option:

  • Pastured eggs had 50% more folic acid and 70% more vitamin B12 than eggs from factory farm hens. (1974 – The British Journal of Nutrition)
  • Pastured eggs in Greece contained 13 times more omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids than U.S. commercial eggs. (1988, Artemis Simopoulos, co-author of The Omega Diet)
  • Pastured eggs had higher omega-3s and vitamin E than eggs from caged hens. (1998 study in Animal Feed Science and Technology)
  • Eggs from pastured birds had 10% less fat, 34% less cholesterol, 40% more vitamin A, and four times the omega-3s compared to the standard USDA data. This study also tested pastured chicken meat and found it to have 21% less fat, 30% less saturated fat, and 50% more vitamin A than the USDA standard. (1999 study by Barb Gorski at Pennsylvania State University)
  • Eggs compared from two groups of Hy-Line variety hens, with one kept in standard crowded factory farm conditions and the other on mixed grass and legume pasture. The eggs had similar levels of fat and cholesterol, but the pastured eggs had three times more omega-3s, 220% more vitamin E, and 62% more vitamin A than eggs from caged hens. (2003 study by Heather Karsten at Pennsylvania State University)
  • Pastured eggs had roughly half the cholesterol, 50% more vitamin E, and three times more beta-carotene. (2005 MotherEarth News study  of four heritage-breed pastured flocks in Kansas)

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