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October 11, 2018
Which eggs should we prefer?

The egg… a small bomb of protein and other nutrients which are -undoubtedly- valuable for our body! And don’t tell me that eggs increase cholesterol…That’s a myth. The egg does not raise cholesterol under the condition, of course, that it is consumed reasonably and in…the right way. What does that mean? If someone has a cholesterol problem, it would be good for him/her to eat the egg boiled and not fried with plenty of butter. Though our issue, my friends, is not that. Today, we will deal with what each egg has to offer -or better- if it really does offer what it…promises. You see, up until now, there were two kinds of eggs in the market: The white and the brown. These were not different at all (apart from their color!).  Whichever we chose, it was practically the same. Gradually, more and more kinds of eggs started to appear and at quite high prices…When we used to buy an egg carton of 4 with 2€, suddenly, we started seeing cartons with 3,50 and 4€! Why? Because they came from free-range hens, they were organic or enriched with Omega 3 fatty acids…  And like that, we got to the point where we wonder: «After all, which eggs should I choose? ». So, due to the fact that it’s the World Egg Day, I thought we should examine the similarities and differences of the eggs that are in the market, so to help you make sense of what is going on.

Plain, conventional eggs: These are the eggs that we all know about.  Their price can differ a little, depending on their size. They come from hens which might not have even seen daylight. Stuffed in classic battery cages, in which the… artificial days are never-ending, they do what they know best: Eggs! Eggs which hide within them all the nutrients that an egg can have, independently from the fact that hens…do not have a good time (they aren’t aware of that, of course, since this is the only way of life that they know).

Poultry farm cage-free eggs: These particular hens live in barns which have no cages. What does that mean? That they can wander around (within the walls of the poultry farm) and make their eggs in specially formed nests. These eggs, of course, are not different from conventional ones, it’s just that the birds’ living conditions are better than those of the first case that we mentioned above.

Free-range eggs: These particular hens live within vast barns, but they have the opportunity to catch some rays and wander around open, fenced spaces. In that way, apart from the poultry feed which is provided within the barn, they can also eat seeds, greens, insects, and worms that they might find during their nature walk. And in that case too, their eggs aren’t different at all from those of the other birds (the ones that we’ve already mentioned). By preferring them, of course, we clearly state that we are advocates for the birds’ normal life and decent living conditions (that’s very important!).

Organic eggs: Apart from the ideal living conditions, organic poultry farming also ensures ideal, organic poultry feed for its hens. Moreover, it doesn’t vaccinate or use antibiotics. In case this happens, there needs to be a vet’s consult, while the medicine’s active ingredient along with the dosage and the duration of the treatment should be written down. After the treatment is complete, a specific time frame should pass (which is defined by law) before the organic eggs and other products are produced again. Lastly, the specific hens walk around limited and protected open spaces, in the soil of which, pesticides or other toxic chemicals haven’t been used for a long period of time. But, what happens with their eggs? Are they indeed better than the conventional ones? According to the results of relevant research, there is a case that they’re more nutritional – not only than conventional eggs but also than those that have been fortified with Omega 3 fatty acids! Specifically, according to the specialists, organic eggs were higher in protein, copper, and potassium, conventional ones were higher in magnesium and iron, while the ones that were fortified with Omega 3 were higher in calcium and manganese. In general, from the moment that the birds’ diet changes, the nutritional elements of their eggs change automatically!

Eggs, fortified with Omega 3 fatty acids: The birds’ diet has been fortified with ingredients rich in Omega 3 fatty acids (e.g. linseed) which, then, go through their eggs. This, of course, does not ensure better living conditions for the birds, since it could be applied even to the classic, conventional poultry farms. The label on the egg carton could enlighten us more regarding this issue.  As for them being more nutritional than the others… Regarding the Omega 3 fatty acids that they contain, they are more nutritional. However, salmon, sardines, walnuts, and some other foods contain more Omega 3 fatty acids than these particular eggs. If, though, these foods are absent from our diet, then we could indeed look for the Omega 3 fatty acids in these specific eggs.

The conclusion? The egg is a valuable food for our body. It is definitely important to know not only where it comes from, but also the processes used during its production. However, the only thing that could affect its quality and nutrients, is more the birds’ diet rather than their living conditions. If we want, we can have “the whole package” (happy hens, nutrient eggs, the absence of chemicals and medicines) -it will, simply, cost us a little more. The choice is ours.

Extra tip: Now that we're finishing up, I have one more question for you: Is it better to eat the egg white only or the whole egg? The answer is here!

Akis

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