What’s the difference between “cage-free,” “free-range,” and “pasture-raised” eggs?by: Melissa Smith for Natural News
Whenever you buy eggs from the grocery store, you may have wondered why they have different labels, such as “cage-free,” “free-range,” and “pasture-raised.” You may have also noticed that they differ in price. Eggs vary in their nutrition profile as well. But one thing’s for sure – the more expensive the egg is, the healthier it is.
Out of the three, pasture-raised eggs are the best. Aside from raising your own chickens, buying eggs labeled as “pasture-raised” ensures that you are getting the healthiest eggs possible. Pasture-raised eggs contain twice the amount of omega-3 fatty acids, triple the amount of vitamin D, four times the amount of vitamin E, and seven times the amount of beta-carotene compared with conventionally raised eggs.
These eggs come from chickens that are allowed to roam outside freely and eat bugs, grass, worms, and anything else they can eat naturally. They may still be given some feed, but it will be high-quality and only a small portion of their overall diet.
If you can’t find pasture-raised eggs and certified humane eggs, go organic. These eggs come from chickens that are fed organic foods, such as grains and soy, but not foods that they would naturally eat in the wild. You may also choose eggs labeled as “Certified Humane Raised and Handled.” This means that these eggs came from chickens reared by farmers who follow a set of animal care standards.
If you can’t find organic, opt for free-range eggs. Free-range chickens have more space than caged and cage-free ones, but have less than two square feet per hen. They also don’t go outdoors, and some are fed with an unnatural diet which tends to be heavy in (GMO) soy.
The type of eggs that may not be worth your money are cage-free eggs. “Cage-free” means that the chickens have a small door in a barn that they could use to go outside. However, they may still be crammed into a building with hundreds of other chickens. Although not all cage-free eggs are bad, it is difficult to distinguish which companies actually let their chickens outside and which don’t. For this reason, it’s best to avoid them completely.
Health benefits of eggs
With the right kind of eggs, you can maximize these health benefits they offer:
Eggs are rich in vitamins – They contain high amounts of vitamin A, which is great for your eyesight; vitamin B2, which helps your body convert food into energy; vitamin B12, which is important for red blood cell production; and vitamin E, which eliminates free radicals that can cause cancer. (Related: Nutrition bomb: Eat an egg a day to improve insulin resistance, heart health, fat metabolism.)
Eggs are loaded with minerals – In addition to vitamins, eggs are also rich in minerals, including iron, phosphorus, and zinc. Iron carries oxygen to your tissues, zinc boosts immunity, and phosphorus promotes healthy bones and teeth.
Eggs aid in weight loss – Eating eggs for breakfast helps reduce your calorie intake all day by more than 400 calories, according to a study by the Rochester Center for Obesity Research. This is because eggs can keep you satiated for longer periods, helping to reduce your snacking.
Eggs are a low-calorie protein source – A medium-sized egg contains 70 to 85 calories and about 6.5 g of protein.
Eggs help fight breast cancer – Researchers from Harvard University discovered that eating eggs as a teen could help prevent breast cancer in adulthood. In another study, researchers from the University of North Carolina revealed that choline in egg yolks can lower breast cancer risk by 24 percent.
Did you know that eggs were purported to prevent diabetes? Head over to Food.news to learn more.