Eggs! Everything You Need To Know From A Chicken Farmer
Are you confused about which eggs to buy at the market? Which eggs are truly the healthiest? And what the heck do all of the different labels on the egg cartons actually mean: white eggs, brown eggs, organic, pasture-raised, cage-free, omega-3, dark yolks, etc? What is with all of these different kinds of eggs and is one legitimately healthier than another?
Well hopefully this short article will help answer some of your everyday egg questions and shed some light on which eggs are indeed the healthiest. After all, growing up on a farm before becoming a healthcare practitioner had some amazing perks and becoming a scholar of the almighty chicken egg was fortunately one of them.
Here are three of the most common egg questions I am asked in my practice:
What are the healthiest eggs I can buy? Pasture-raised, organic, omega-3 eggs are the best of the best. The chickens responsible for these eggs are cage-free and roaming on organic green pastures. Flax seeds are also part of their diet therefore enhancing their eggs with omega-3 fatty acids. But it can be difficult to find pasture-raised, omega-3 eggs so if they are not available opt for organic, pasture-raised eggs and get your omega-3 fats from wild Alaskan Sockeye salmon or an omega-3 supplement. (Tip: Eggs and smoked salmon are a delicious combination for breakfast!)
Are brown eggs healthier than white eggs? Not necessarily. The nutritional value of an egg is determined by what the chicken eats on a daily basis, not the color of the egg. The color of an egg is determined by the type of chicken that lays the egg. For example, a Rhode Island Red chicken (red/brown in color) will lay a brown egg while a White Leghorn chicken (white in color) will lay a white egg. However, there are some types of dark colored chickens that lay white eggs and some types of white chickens that lay brown eggs. And the Ameraucana chicken actually lays blue eggs! But the color of the egg itself has nothing to do with the nutritional value of the egg. Like humans, the health of a chicken and its eggs all depends on what the chicken is eating on a daily basis.
Are dark yolk eggs healthier than lighter yolks? Again, not necessarily. The color of the yolk of an egg is also determined by what the chicken eats. Grass, corn, and vegetables create a darker yolk while wheat, oats, and sorghum create lighter yolks. So, if the yolk is lighter in color it does not necessarily mean that it is lacking nutrients.
A fun story to help explain: My mother and father decided to change their chicken feed recipe by adding sorghum/milo and removing the corn. I was excited to hear this because sorghum is a gluten-free, nutrient dense grain. But the new sorghum feed recipe caused the chickens to start laying white yolked eggs, leaving customers baffled and disappointed. Even though it did not change the taste of the egg most of the customers assumed the eggs were not as healthy because of the light colored yolk. When in fact, in my opinion, it was actually a healthier egg because sorghum is a powerhouse grain loaded with nutrients that far out weigh that of domestic corn. But alas, the sorghum recipe was boycotted in order to make the yolks dark again and satisfy customer's expectations of how a "healthy" yolk should look.
Hopefully, this helps clear up a few of your everyday egg concerns. If you have more egg or acupuncture questions feel free to message me directly. Have a fantastic day and happy clucking, my friends!