Thursday, August 30, 2012

An Eggscellent Adventure


    Now that we have started a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) at Trim Up where we get fresh, organic, cage-free eggs from a local farm each week, I have been learning all there is to know about the egg.  I had been aware that eggs are not the problem in raising cholesterol and can attest to that - I eat about a dozen eggs a week and my cholesterol is lower than ever (180 last October).  But I have realized that all eggs are not created equal and will pass along what I have learned.

    1)  Organic, cage-free (pastured) eggs are superior
                > Non-organic chicken feed is loaded with pesticides from GM (genetically modified) corn
                > Free-range eggs have a better nutritional profile, mainly because of the hens' better diet:
                          1/3 less cholesterol
                          1/4 less saturated fat
                          2/3 more vitamin A
                          2x more omega-3 fatty acids
                          3x more vitamin E
                          7x more beta carotene
                 > Fresh eggs do not need to be refrigerated because the enzymes on the shell are still intact.
                      Refrigeration will lesson the nutrients and protein.

     2)  Omega-3 eggs are the least healthy
              > This is because they typically come from chickens that are fed poor quality sources of omega-3 fats that are already oxidized.  And omega-3 eggs don't last as long as other eggs.
                  (this was disturbing to learn since that is all I have eaten for years....they make them sound so healthy on the carton!)

      3) Don't over-cook your eggs
               > Organic, pastured eggs (ONLY) can be eaten raw to get the most health benefits
               > For those who can't do the "Rocky" thing, poached or soft-boiled is the next best method
               > The worst way to cook eggs is in the microwave
                  So, keep the yolks runny to keep the cholesterol from oxidizing that can be harmful and to maintain more of the nutrients.

       4) There is more to an egg than just protein
              >  Egg yolks also contain potent antioxidants ( 2 yolks contain antioxidant properties equivalent to half a serving of cranberries and twice as many as an apple
              >  Protein in cooked eggs convert to peptides to lower blood pressure
              >  Eggs are part of a heart-healthy diet (although yolks are high in cholesterol, numerous studies have confirmed that they have nothing to do with raising your cholesterol levels

     If you don't get eggs from a local farm, the best eggs to buy in a grocery store are labeled Free-range, Organic (sometimes Sam's and Costco carry them), although they originate from a factory farm and are not the most humane treatment of hens.

     Now aren't you glad that you know all about the egg?