What’s the Big Deal about Organic Eggs?
Eggs have been a breakfast staple for a very long time, and when considering the nutrient content in just one egg, you can easily see why. Eating eggs each morning can give you a boost in energy, while also allowing your body to function at a steady pace throughout the day. Eggs can also help your body in many other health areas, such as providing beneficial cholesterol, and providing choline, a necessary, but often overlooked nutrient. Consuming breakfast every morning is a great way to get our metabolism pumping. Including eggs in your breakfast is an even greater way to do that. However, not all eggs are created equal. So, what is the big deal with organic eggs? This article will explain the important differences between conventional(nonorganic) and organic eggs.
Cage-Free, Free-Range, Organic – What’s the Difference?
There are many different words used to describe eggs at the supermarket, and they can all be confusing, and quite frankly, a little deceiving. Obtaining the ability to differentiate between which is healthier is key when choosing eggs to incorporate into your diet. Here is a breakdown of the most popular egg categories and what they entail:
- Conventional: The hens are usually caged, in tight proximity to each other, and are covered in their own feces. The hens are fed a nonorganic diet, including feed that contains toxic pesticides and antibiotics. They are also fed filler foods, such as soy and animal byproducts. The hens are not always in great health, and as such, neither are the eggs.
- Vegetarian Fed: The hens are fed an entirely vegetarian diet, generally consisting of feed made up of corn and soy. The hens are declined their dietary needs, as they are omnivores, and their health suffers for it. This also implies that they are not let outside, as if they were outside, they would naturally rummage for insects.
- Cage-Free: The hens are not in enclosed cages, and have more space to roam. Cage-free refers to an enclosed indoor space. The hens are in better general health than conventional hens. These hens are also fed filler diets.
- Free-Range: The hens are given access to an outside space. These hens are given access to space to rummage for insects, and are also fed grain. This outside space does not have restrictions and is not monitored, and therefore, this outside space can be small, and the hen may not have much access to the space.
- Pasture-Raised: These hens are given free space to roam outside. They consume a healthy diet as they rummage for insects and other foods. The hens are healthier because they have more space to roam and can behave naturally.
- Organic: These hens are not exposed to harmful pesticides in what they eat or where they roam. They are fed a more well-rounded diet, and as such, the eggs are healthier to consume. In order to be considered organic, it must meet strict USDA requirements. The hens are not treated with antibiotics.
Within each category, there are different reasons to consider each one. Conventional eggs are best to stay away from, as the hens are very clearly mistreated, and the eggs, though they may contain similar nutrient content to healthier options, most likely have been impacted negatively by the mistreatment of the hen, and may be exposed to toxic chemicals. There are many categories that are intentionally misleading, like “cage-free.” This implies that the hen is allowed the space to roam, however, the enclosed building that they are contained in is still filled to the brim with hens, and they are denied access to sunlight and grass. This denies the hens their natural drive to rummage and forage through grass, dirt, and other areas to find insects. Vegetarian-fed hens would be included in this, as stated above because the hens are denied their instincts to forage for insects, and their eggs suffer from this lack of nutrient availability to the hen. Moreover, these different labels and categories for eggs in the supermarket can be deceptive, as we can see. There are many gray areas when it comes to these labels, and oftentimes, the businesses producing these eggs are not closely monitored, and as such, they can freely categorize their eggs. This is where pasture-raised and organic come in handy.
Organic and Pasture-Raised Eggs
The two top choices to look for when purchasing eggs are these two categories. Not only are the hens treated much better in regards to what they are eating and where they live, but the eggs are shown to have higher omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 is crucial for a healthy, functioning body. Omega 3 can fight many ailments, including heart disease, mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety, and can improve eye health. Incorporating omega 3 into your diet is well worth it, and when considering which eggs to buy, find the eggs that are produced by hens that are treated the best. This is important for animal well-being, as well as our own well-being. Furthermore, women who consume eggs have seen their hormones balance out much better than if they were consuming other breakfast options, like oats. This is due to the high choline content, a nutrient that is vital in the body, and aids women who have low estrogen.1
Make Organic Eggs Your Breakfast Staple
Not all eggs are created equal. At the store, the easiest to find and the cheapest to buy are not the best choice, and it can be difficult to find the right brand that aligns with your values for your health and for animal welfare. Thankfully, the information above is a quick way to discern what you may desire when eating eggs. Conventional eggs are the most typical at the store, but there is usually organic available there, too. Stay on the lookout for organic eggs, as these hens were fed the best quality food, and look out for pasture-raised. Many organic eggs are also pasture-raised, but not all. Keep an eye out for these two helpful categories being paired together – these eggs will be the best for you, with no pesticides, healthy hens, and a healthy you.