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What Are the Healthiest Eggs to Buy?

Egg varieties

People ask me nutrition related questions all the time and I absolutely love answering them.  I decided to start sharing some of the questions, along with my answers, that I hear most often. If you have a nutrition related question that you would like answered please send it my way!

Q: What are the healthiest types of eggs to buy? I went to the store the other day to buy some eggs and I didn’t know which to choose. There are so many different kinds such as brown, white, organic, cage-free, and eggs with omega-3s.

A: I agree that shopping for eggs really shouldn’t be that complicated. To help make your next trip to the store a little easier here is my guide for what you need to know when buying eggs:

Brown vs White? It doesn’t matter. The shell color has no impact on the nutritional value, quality, or flavor of the egg.  The color of the egg only depends upon the breed of the hen.

Omega-3 enhanced eggs are produced by hens that are fed a diet high in omega-3s. Consuming omega-3s is good for you health but relying on these designer eggs to meet the current recommendations for omega-3s may mean eating close to a dozen eggs per day. While eating omega-3 enhanced eggs appears to be completely safe, I wouldn’t recommend relying on them for your main source of omega-3s.

Free-range or cage-free is exactly what it sounds like. The hens are not confined to a cage and are able to move around. Free-range hens have some access to outdoors while cage-free hens may roam in the barn.

Free-range or cage-free hens are certainly happier but we don’t know for sure if they create any healthier eggs than factory farmed birds. Certain studies do suggest that free-range, cage-free hens produce eggs with a slightly enhanced nutritional profile compared to eggs from caged hens but more research is needed to know for sure. Opting for free-range or cage-free is a personal decision.

Organic eggs are produced from hens fed 100% organic feed. They are also given some access to the outdoors. The use of hormones and antibiotics is prohibited.

As far as we know, organic eggs have the same nutritional value as conventional eggs. However, one study found that organic eggs were less likely to contain drug-resistant strains of E. coli compared to conventional eggs. Since getting infected with drug-resistant organisms is bad news, opting for organic may be a safer bet.

Bottom Line: I personally try to buy local, organic free-range eggs whenever possible. However, which type of egg takes first place for health will remain debatable until we have the solid science to back it up. Until then, I urge you to dismiss what anyone tells you about the healthiest egg (including me) and use some critical thinking to decide for yourself.

I am curious to know, what type of eggs do you buy?

Lots of Love,

Renee

 

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