What came first, the chicken or the egg?

Eggs are kitchen marvels for their versatility, but a hotly debated topic in the health field. So what is the deal with eggs? Is it a healthy option or not?

These are a few things to consider when discussing eggs in your diet so you can make an informed choice of your own.

Frequently asked questions:

What is free range? Usually a misleading term that may simply mean the space is slightly larger than usual – battery cage allows 1-2 inches – and brief access outdoors but usually with no sunlight.

There is a real push to see a ban on battery cages by 2012. Free range should mean chickens are given free access outdoors, which has proven to greatly affect quality and flavor of eggs.

What is the difference between brown and white eggs?

Nothing, it depends simply on the genetic breed of the chicken and no relation to nutritional value. There is a Chilean breed that lays blue eggs!

Are chickens fed anything we should be worried about?

As of now, growth hormones in North America are said to be illegal in chickens. It is debatable whether or not this law is abided as critics are confused by the fast growth of chickens along with the early puberty in children seen today.

Antibiotics are given to chickens to promote growth, prevent and treat disease, notably contributing to antibiotic resistance in humans. One specific antimicrobial fed to chickens has an element of arsenic, which can increase risk of cancer, dementia and neurological issues. You may pay more, but look for local egg farmers in your area who feed their chickens a varied diet.

What is the nutritional value of eggs?

Egg is a rich package of nutrients containing several minerals, most vitamins, antioxidants, fat and a balanced source of amino acids.

One whole egg contains 6.6 grams of protein. Protein is found in both egg whites and yolks, however egg white contains no saturated fat or cholesterol.

There is no nutritional difference between a fertilized and unfertilized egg.

What about the cholesterol in eggs?

A big hype in the 1950s scared many people off eggs. One egg contains 215 milligrams of cholesterol, which has said to increase heart disease.

New studies have shown that blood cholesterol is raised far more powerfully by saturated fat in the diet – including red meat, shortening, dairy, butter, margarine, coconut oil and cheese – then by cholesterol itself. In a nutshell, limit egg consumption to two or three times per week and keep eating heart healthy fruits and vegetables. People with serious heart disease or obesity should discuss diet with their health care provider.

Is it worth buying omega-3 eggs?

Another debate: Farmer’s are feeding chicken’s flax seed to increase omega-3 content – essential fatty acid – in the eggs. In my opinion, I would save my money and add flax or fish into diet directly.

How common are egg allergies and sensitivities?

Eggs are one of the top five food allergies, which can result in various reactions from gallbladder pain and diarrhea to hives or bedwetting.

Look at labels indicating any ingredient containing the word “egg”, any ingredient with the prefix “ovo-” or “ova-“, albumin, globulin, livetin, lysozyme, aiol, mayonnaise, simpless, meringue. Eggs can be hidden in many things. Most people are sensitive to the protein in egg, usually the egg white, however the egg sensitivity seems to be more common as chickens are being given various substances.

How can I replace eggs in my baking?

It’s really easy, to replace one egg use one tablespoon of ground flax seed mixed with 2-3 tablespoons of hot water.

What is the Chinese perspective on eggs?

It is believed to nurture blood and moisten dry conditions, however its overall property is thick and mucous forming and therefore should be avoided in sluggish damp heat conditions of the body. See your complementary health care provider for more information on Chinese Medicine.

So when you think you’ve learned all you need to know about eggs, you’ll be surprised to know, the Easter Bunny brings my most favorite type of egg – dark of course!

Posted in Olea Health.

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