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When Americans jumped on the low cholesterol bandwagon several decades ago, eggs became the bad guy. Those who chose to continue eating eggs generally favored the whites or egg substitutes, which was a BIG mistake.

While eggs are one of the most allergenic foods on the planet, they are also one of the most nutritious. In addition to being a good source of quality protein, choline and cholesterol for healthy brain function (you read that right – cholesterol is good for you), eggs contain the following essential vitamins and minerals:

  • Selenium – this powerful antioxidant protects our body and immune system
  • molybdenum – act as a catalyst for enzymes and to help facilitate the breakdown of certain amino acids
  • Folate  – for growth and maintenance of healthy cells
  • Biotin – helps cell metabolism and utilization of fats, proteins and carbohydrates
  • Calcium – for building and maintain bones and teeth
  • Cephalin – a phosphorus-containing lipid found in tissues
  • Lecithin – contains acetylcholine which has been proven to help brain function
  • Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5 ) – helps the body use the energy from food
  • Vitamin B12 – for brain and nervous system functions and blood formation
  • Vitamin A  – for growth and eye health
  • Iodine – to ensure proper function of our thyroid gland
  • Vitamin E – antioxidant to protect our bodies against disease
  • Phosphorous – helps build strong bones and teeth
  • Iron – produces hemoglobin for transporting oxygen throughout the body
  • Thiamine – to turn carbohydrates into energy our body can use
  • Zinc – helps in growth, wound healing, blood formation and maintenance of tissues
  • Vitamin D – important in bone health

 

The Fallacy of Cage-Free and Free-Range Eggs

This gets tricky since food manufacturers can make claims like “cage-free” or “free range” to trick the public into believing that their hens are treated humanely. The reality is that most chickens are raised in small cages, while so-called “cage-free” birds live in crowded warehouses and unsanitary conditions.

There is sometimes an opening to the outdoors, but due to over-crowding, it is difficult to access. Once they do make it outside, eggs laid there can be labeled “free range.”

Often deprived of sunlight and fresh air, artificial lighting is on 24/7 to increase laying time. Chickens react the same way humans would in that environment – they go crazy and attack each other. To prevent the hens from killing and eating each other, their beaks are (painfully) trimmed or removed.

The Good Egg

Another problem with commercial eggs is that they are fed grains like soy (which adversely affects your hormones), and corn. Both of these grains are genetically modified unless specified organic.

Quality eggs are more expensive because it costs more to raise chickens humanely. Considering the nutritional value and how much happier they are, I think it is highly worth the extra dollars.

While prices range from $4.50 to $7.50 per carton, they are often on sale. Eggs with the highest quality and lowest price are from hens you raise yourself or purchase from a trusted local farmer.

Chickens should be outside in the sunshine (with clean nesting space inside) and foraging the ground for worms, insects, etc., rather than spending their lives in a crowded, unsanitary factory.

For the best quality, nutritious eggs that are treated humanely, look for: 

  •  Organic (ideal) or non-gmo certified. Without this guarantee, there’s no telling what chickens are fed.
  • Pastured vs Free-Range. Pastured means they have an allotted amount of outdoor space per chicken. Free range is sometimes okay, but can also mean that millions of birds are crowded into a small space with little outdoor access. Before purchasing, I always check the websites of individual companies to see how “free” their free-range conditions are.
  • Certified Humane. This is highly important to me when buying any animal-based product.

To learn more about factory farming practices,  check out the video below:

 

 


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