Our family raises chickens, and we eat a lot of eggs. One of the reasons we decided to get our own chickens to raise is because our family of four eats quite a few eggs in a week, and I was spending nearly $5 a dozen on certified humane, free range eggs. So our chickens have been a really good investment.
But eating a lot of eggs sometimes makes me wonder if we’re doing the right thing. After all, I grew up in the “eggs are bad for you” era, and it’s hard to get that out of my mind. Of course, as with most nutritionist trends, we later found out that eggs were not horrible. Still, I’ve been left with the question: How good for you are eggs, and how many can I eat a day?
It turns out these are tough questions, but the consensus really does seem to be that, not only are eggs not bad for you, they’re actually quite good for you.
Since I love eggs, this is “eggcellent” information. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
So what’s the story, “eggsactly”? Sorry again.
I grew up being told that eggs were bad for your cholesterol, and egg yolks do contain cholesterol. However, the best research I can find (and I’ve read a lot), asserts that eggs, in moderation, do not have a negative impact on heart disease, and even people with high cholesterol can eat some eggs. The research points to trans fats and saturated fats being the worst culprits when it comes to heart disease, and eggs do not contain these. Apparently, the risks we often associate with eggs in relation to heart disease are more about which foods we tend to eat eggs with—the bacon and the sausage.
This morning, in honor of the upcoming Easter holiday, CNN ran this article about the overall health benefits of eggs. Eggs are one of the few foods to contain Vitamin D, and goodness knows we need more of that in our diets here in Maine after a long winter. Some argue that, in many ways, eggs are the perfect food, high in high-quality protein and antioxidants, which help fight cancers.
But what the CNN article leaves out is that not all eggs may be created equally. This is controversial, but some scientists argue that farm raised, free range eggs are actually healthier than factory farmed eggs. It’s about health conditions and what the chickens get to eat. A free range chicken gets to eat what chickens naturally eat, lots of good bugs. Factory farmed layers are not getting this, and it seems to have an impact.
This piece reports on a nutrient study of eggs which found that free range eggs contain more Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and omega 3 fatty acids when compared to commercial eggs. While there are certainly some who disagree with this research, I’m thinking it makes sense. You can see the difference in the health of a farm-raised, free range chicken and a factory-farmed chicken. There is just no way anyone will ever convince me that the health of the animal doesn’t make a difference in her eggs.
Plus, it’s just better to treat animals better. End of story.
So, in honor of Easter, know that it’s OK to eat some eggs. After all, you know that boiled eggs are way better than candy. You just have to eat eggs in moderation. Sticking to 1 egg per day seems to be safest, though some argue that 2 eggs over 5 days a week is fine. Of course, check with your doctor if you have cholesterol issues.
Just please get your eggs from happy chickens. As I’ve said before, it’s better for the chickens and maybe better for you!