If you've been writing off supermarket staples with labels like "organic," "pasture-raised," "grass-fed," etc. — you're not alone. With the type of superfood marketing and labeling we see these days, it can be hard to discern what's good for you and what's just a good ol' marketing ploy for a lot of extra dollars. And if you're watching your budget, why drop extra money on something that seems like the exact same food?
And I feel you! It can be hard to navigate the grocery store and tell what things are worth spending more money on. So today we're here with one thing you definitely should reach for and drop a few extra bucks on: pasture-raised eggs.
Eggs are one of the most nutritious staples you can have in your refrigerator at all times. They pack a protein punch and are loaded with nutrients. And yes, eating the whole egg is totally OK and poses no threat of heart disease.
Aside from being a better ethical choice (you know, not confining chickens to tiny, miserable cages and unclean, stressful environments with no fresh air or sunlight), pasture-raised eggs offer exponentially better nutritional benefits than those coming from caged chickens. The egg's nutritional makeup is based on what the chicken eats, so these cage-free, pasture-livin' chickens are roaming about, eating more nutritionally dense chicken faves like insects (yum!), natural grass (delish!), and omega-3-enriched feed (amazing!). Sounds like a fine life for those chickens.
Here's how it affects the egg itself — we got the scoop on egg nutrition from the founder of Vital Farms, Matt O'Hayer. The "chicken whisperer" himself told us that pasture-raised (in comparison to caged) eggs have:
- 66 percent more vitamin A
- 2 times more omega-3s
- 3 times more vitamin E
- 4 times more vitamin D
- 7 times more beta-carotene (a cancer-fighting antioxidant)
- 33 percent less cholesterol content
- 25 percent less saturated fat
We followed up on these stats and found that a 2014 study backed that the way hens are raised and cared for directly impacts the nutritional value of the eggs they produce. A 2015 report cited similar statistics, reflected in the numbers above from Vital Farms.
Specifically of note, the omega-3 content doubling is awesome. "It's so important to get those extra omega-3s," said Carrie McMahon, nutrition coach and macro expert. "It's essential for the metabolism and hormonal balance." It's also an excellent way to boost mood and brain health, so you'll really be starting your day off on a great foot with a pasture-raised egg breakfast.
So we've established that you get more nutrition, less fat, and more brain-boosting, cancer-fighting, bone-building, skin-saving vitamins and minerals — so what more could there be? The choice has been made! Well, according to many people, they taste better, too. Mic, dropped.