For more than 5,000 years, humans have enjoyed what may be one of nature’s most convenient and nutritious foods – the egg. Today per-person consumption averages around 300 eggs a year.
Why eggs are healthy Eggs provide high protein content for relatively low cost. They’re also relatively low in calories – one medium-sized egg contains just 78 calories.
Eggs contain vitamins B12, C, D, E, and K, as well as the minerals iron and zinc. They’re also a rich source of choline, important for brain functioning and health.
It’s no joke that egg yolks offer infection-fighting vitamin A and phosphatidylcholine, a nutrient that protects the liver and arteries and that can actually prevent the oxidation of cholesterol.
In spite of the egg’s reputation for increasing cholesterol, research has shown that adults can consume at least two eggs per day without increasing their serum cholesterol level.
What’s the difference between organic eggs and standard supermarket fare? If you’re concerned about toxic, persistent pesticides – which are stored in fats – organic is a wise choice.
When it comes to buying eggs, the best-regulated are labeled “Certified organic.” Organically raised chickens do not receive antibiotics, and their feed is also antibiotic-free, as well as being vegetarian and organic.
Commercial hens are fed processed grains, which are often bioengineered corn. These grains are treated with antibiotics and pesticides to encourage growth and prevent infection in the birds. When the chicken ingests this feed, these chemicals may end up in the egg’s yolk.
In addition, commercial hens are crowded into cages and sheds. They may have no access to the outdoors, as their organic cousins do.
Shopping for healthy eggs When shopping for eggs, start with the USDA organic seal. If a carton also has the logo “Certified Humane,” that means the eggs were produced in accordance with additional standards for humane farm animal treatment.
Want to increase your intake of omega-3 fats? Omega-3 enriched eggs are a popular choice. Consumer Reports testing shows that listed carton amounts did indeed match the amount of omega 3s found in the eggs. [source: Taste for Life]