Everywhere you read, ask or look, you’re being told that free-range eggs are what you should be eating. But why, exactly? Can’t you just eat eggs that come from hens kept in cages but fed an organic diet? Cuz that’s what the big boys do. These eggs can then be certified organic, and a spin can be put on the labelling of such eggs.
In order for you to benefit 100% from eating eggs, the hens MUST have access to the outside. Not just standing around in a concrete lot outside their concentration-camp styled barn, but actually outside, with access to grass, dirt and bugs.
Furthermore, it seems that the hens have to able to do their own thing. I recently had a customer tell me she was buying eggs from a farmer who kept his hens in a large enclosed pen. His eggs were just as fresh as ours. She then came back to buy eggs from our farm. In her opinion, our eggs were “perkier” and had more flavour and colour.
So the nutritional low-down on true free-range eggs? Here’s a short list:
1/4 less saturated fat
2/3 more vitamin A
Two times more omega-3 fatty acids
Three times more vitamin E
Seven times more beta carotene
Now the experts are looking at vitamin D, of which many people don’t get enough. New research is showing that this common vitamin deficiency may be related to much more than just weak bones — from diabetes and cancer to heart disease and multiple sclerosis. Our bodies can get vitamin D in two ways: when sunlight strikes our skin, or from our diet. Eggs are one of a small list of foods that are naturally rich in vitamin D. The USDA says supermarket eggs contain an average of 34 International Units per 100 grams.
Mother Earth News tests of eggs from four pastured farms in Texas, Kansas, Kentucky and Pennsylvania found that their eggs contained three to six times as much vitamin D as typical supermarket eggs. This means two scrambled eggs from pastured hens may give you 63 to 126 percent of the recommended daily intake of 200 IU of vitamin D.
*Study & Nutritional Figures courtesy of Mother Earth News