Eggs 101

As a dietitian, I get a lot of questions about eggs.  Is it ok to have an egg a day? Are brown eggs healthier than white eggs ? Eggs are moving up the health chain. What was once thought to be a no no is no longer the case. Recent research suggests eating eggs can be beneficial for the whole family. Eggs are an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, these delicious little guys are one of the most versatile foods you’ll find in your fridge.

eggs final

Nutrition Benefits:

One egg contains 6 grams of high quality protein. Eggs are considered a complete protein because they contain all nine essential amino acids. Amino acids are considered “building blocks” that help our body’s make protein.

Protein plays many roles in the body such as:

  • build and maintain healthy muscles and bones
  • build and repair tissues and cells
  • build and maintain healthy hair and nails

Eggs not only contain high quality protein but they are also a source of essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, folate, and vitamins’ A, D, E and B12. Eggs are safe for the whole family consume. Eggs are a source of folate  which helps to prevent anemia and neural tube defects in babies while in utero. Current research, also suggests its safe to introduce eggs to babies as a first food around the six months of age.  Waiting too long to introduce high allergy foods may actually increase a baby’s risk of developing an allergy. Yes, eggs are high in cholesterol, approximately 200 mg per egg, but research suggests it’s not the cholesterol found naturally in foods instead its the saturated fats and over refined foods that have the greatest impact on our dietary cholesterol levels. Furthermore, half of an egg’s protein, as well as; majority of the vitamins and minerals are found in the yolk of the egg. A common question that is asked is are brown eggs more nutritious than white eggs? No. Both brown and white eggs have the same nutritional value unless the fed is enhanced somehow i.e flax seed is added to the fed. The color of the egg depends on the breed of the egg. Brown eggs come from hens with brown feathers while white eggs come from hens with white feathers.  Some hens feed is enriched with 10- 20  percent flaxseed. These eggs are labelled as omega -3 fatty acids eggs. Hens that run freely on the pasture naturally have omega 3  from feeding off the grass and insects.

hens

Selection:

Buying eggs can be daunting these days.  There are so many different claims, its hard to know what eggs are best for your family while concerning animal welfare. Sadly, a large percentage of Canada’s egg laying hens are confined to poor living conditions such as small cages with little to no daylight and five to seven hen’s per cage.

Here is a quick guide to misleading claims commonly found on egg cartoons:

Cage- Free

“Cage -free” means the hens are not confined to “battery cages” but it does not necessarily mean they have access to the outdoors. Overcrowding and debeaking is typical with cage free hens.Furthermore, there are no regulations or assurances on what they are fed or if given medications.

Free- Run

“Free- run” essentially means the hens are not confined to any cages and have access to run freely within the barn but not necessarily to the outdoors and overcrowding may still be a concern. Again there are no regulations or assurances to what the hens are fed.

Free- Range

“Free-range”  means the hens see daylight and are free to run on the pasture. Again, there are no regulations or assurances to what the hens are fed.

Organic

Eggs that are labelled organic come from the highest animal welfare standards. Furthermore, organic eggs must meet certain standards in terms of fed, medications, and animal welfare.

I love eggs for their versatility. With the return of school many families, including mine, are looking for quick, healthy meals to feed their families. Eggs are an excellent option for any meal of the day. They are quick and an inexpensive way to feed your family. Since Murf thinks he has a food intolerance to eggs there will be very few eggs recipes on the blog, unless I can change his mind, I am working on it. I was perusing some of my favorite bloggers for simple, healthy and delicious eggs recipes and found this bean bowl with poached egg and this chard and leek frittata from sprouted kitchen. This goat cheese scrambled eggs with pesto veggies from pinch of yum is calling my name. I also like to boil an egg and add it to a salad for lunch.

Sources:

www.eggs.ca

www.davidsuzuki.org

www.certifiedorganic.bc.ca

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