Organic Eggs: Nutritional Powerhouses
We use organic free range eggs in our ever popular Corn & Seed gluten free bread. Scientific evidence continues to show that eggs produced from hens roaming free on green pastures have higher levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamins A and E, confirming the real health benefits of eggs produced the “good old fashioned way”.
Introducing our producer
All the eggs used in our baking come from Pasture Poultry of Hunterville, one of the original certified organic egg producers in New Zealand. Pasture Poultry has over 9,000 chickens that are free to roam over certified organic pasture where they have unlimited access to fresh, green pasture, free of herbicides, pesticides and antibiotics, in addition to poultry feed made from organic grain grown on the farm. These factors contribute to a wonderful flavour and the naturally rich yellow colour of the yolks. In comparison, caged or non-pasture fed chickens are often fed with manufactured feeds that contain artificial colouring agents to enhance the “golden” look of the yolks. By following high standards of organic and free range principles the hens at Pasture Poultry lead a stress free life which is reflected in the quality of the eggs they produce.
Pasture Poultry take so much care of their chickens, affectionately referred to as “our girls”, that they have custom built houses for them with individual nesting boxes. The chickens have unlimited access to the fresh pastures during the day. No fences allowed!
What determines an organic egg?
Organic eggs are produced under a strict set of protocols. For eggs to be certified as organic, they must come from hens fed with organic feeds, allowed outdoor access and aren’t subjected to antibiotics unless outbreaks occur. Because of these guidelines, organic eggs are free of growth hormones and antibiotics. They are also better in both taste and nutrition than regular eggs. Organic eggs are relatively low in calories and fat with plenty of protein and essential nutrients. Including organic eggs as a part of your diet can be very conducive to your health maintenance and weight control.
Health benefits of organic free range eggs
Organic eggs from pasture fed chickens are nutritional powerhouses. Studies over many years show that organic eggs from hens raised on pasture offer better nutrition than typical supermarket eggs. Eggs from free range, grass fed chickens contain more nutrients than caged birds. In fact, free range eggs contain:
- four to six times more vitamin D
- one third less cholesterol
- one quarter less saturated fat
- two-thirds more vitamin A
- double the amount of omega-3 fatty acids
- three times more vitamin E
- seven times more beta carotene
These numbers are related to a comparison done by Mother Earth News between commercial eggs and eggs from fourteen flocks of free range chickens.
Another study conducted in 2003 by Pennsylvania State University further confirmed that birds kept on pasture produced three times more omega-3s in their eggs than birds raised in cages on a commercial diet. They also found twice as much vitamin E and 40 percent more vitamin A in the yolks of the pastured birds.
In addition to being less nutritious, it’s no secret that eggs from commercially raised, confined chickens contain antibiotic residues. In Modern Livestock and Poultry Production, a book by James Gillespie, there’s a chart of the amount of antibiotics added to chicken feed in confinement operations that listed at least eleven different antibiotics. It’s quite logical to conclude that without these antibiotics, the eggs and meat from these confined chickens would have much higher amounts of salmonella and other bacteria counts.
Here are four measures that you can use to spot a healthy egg:
- It should have an intact shell with no cracks.
- It shouldn’t smell bad.
- The white portion should be gel-like and not watery.
- The yellow portion should be round and firm.
For additional information on the nutritional benefits of organic eggs you can visit any of the links below.