Eggs are a nutritious and affordable staple in many households.
Though all types of eggs are good for you, their nutritional values differ depending on how the hens were raised and fed.
Learn about the differences between conventional, omega-3-enriched, and pastured eggs.
What are the different types of eggs?
- Conventional eggs: These are standard supermarket eggs. The hens are usually fed grain that has been supplemented with vitamins and minerals.
- Organic eggs: Organic eggs come from hens that are fed on organic feed free of pesticides and fertilizers and untreated with hormones or antibiotics.
- Pastured eggs: Hens that lay pastured eggs are allowed to roam free, eating plants and insects along with some commercial feed.
- Omega-3-enriched eggs: Similar to conventional eggs except that the hens’ feed is supplemented with an omega-3 fat source, either by:
- Free-range eggs: Similar to pastured eggs where the hens have the option of going outside and feeding themselves.
- Caged eggs: These eggs come from chickens that live in confinement and spend their lives in small cages eating grains and seeds.
What are the nutritional contents of eggs?
|Vitamin A||270 IU (International Units)|
|Vitamin D||41 IU|
|Pastured eggs||Omega-3 eggs||Conventional eggs|
|Type of hen||Come from chickens that are free to walk around in the wild and scavenge for their food in woods and fields||Come from chickens that eat flaxseed and/or fish oil supplemented feed||Vary depending on the type of egg, whether chicken, turkey, duck, goose, or quail eggs|
|Feed||Hens are allowed free access outside and eat a more natural diet||Feed is supplemented with an omega-3 source||Feed is typically grains supplemented with vitamins and minerals|
|Nutrients||More nutritious (higher in vitamins A and E and omega-3s, as well as lower in cholesterol and saturated fat)||Nutritious and a rich source of omega-3||Nutritious|
Which are better, omega-3 eggs or pastured eggs?
Both omega-3 eggs and pastured eggs are good for you, although the omega-3 fortified ones provide you with more omega-3 fatty acids.
There have been numerous studies on omega-3 eggs, regarding both their composition and their health benefits. Some of the health benefits of omega-3 eggs include the following:
- Better heart health: Some studies suggest that consuming omega-3 eggs has a statistically significant decrease in lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress thus leading to a reduction in markers of cardiovascular risk.
- Good source of healthy fats: In chickens fed with fish extracts or fish oil, the level of docosahexaenoic acid in their eggs increases by between 3- 6-fold. Eggs fortified with omega-3 offer a reasonably good source of these essential fatty acids.
However, pastured eggs are the healthiest because they come from hens that are eating a more natural diet.
Which are the best eggs to buy?
At the end of the day, all eggs are good for you. The best eggs to buy depends on your preferences.
If eggs from healthy animals living in their natural environment are important to you, choose pastured eggs.
If cost matters to you or you cannot afford pastured eggs, conventional or omega-3 eggs are both good choices.
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Egg, whole, raw, fresh. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171287/nutrients
Is it healthy to eat eggs every day? https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/is-it-healthy-to-eat-eggs-every-day
Are eggs good for you or not? https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/08/15/are-eggs-good-for-you-or-not
Case in Point – Eggs. https://healthyfoodsystems.org/case-in-point-eggs/
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