Although chicken eggs are versatile and nutritious, are they good for you?
Eggs are the one food that comes to mind when you think of staple food in the culinary world. We’re referring to chicken eggs here.
These familiar white and oval yolk shells are used in sweet and savory recipes. They can be used as the main attraction, side dish, or hidden hero to bind different ingredients together during baking and cooking.
Using the right treatment, eggs can be magically transformed into delicious foods, such as meringues or mayonnaise. You can also cook them by boiling, baking, scrambling, or poaching them. Despite their versatility, eggs have some drawbacks. This article will cover almost all aspects of eggs and tell you if they are good or not.
An overview of eggs
Since the beginning of time, humans have been eating eggs. Our cave-dwelling ancestors likely discovered eggs were rich in nutrients and would eat them raw from wild nests.
Humankind advanced as a species, and our forefathers began to cultivate crops and raise animals. Archaeological evidence suggests that the Chinese first raised hens over 5,000 years ago. Europe and the Middle East followed their lead.
They even invented an artificial incubator in ancient Egypt. This is a mud oven that has heat and moisture. It was used to hatch thousands of eggs in a matter of weeks. Some Egyptian rural communities still use this ingenious device to supply poultry.
Cage egg farming controversy
Cage egg farming was established in the 1960s and 1950s to meet the growing demand for eggs. Factories were built to produce as many eggs as possible at a low cost. This meant that too many chickens were kept in tight-packed cages that restricted their movement. This caused various health problems, including feather loss, brittle bones and mental distress. This intensive farming method is not only unethical but also very harmful to the environment. The problem lies in conventional hen feed. It is mostly made from cereal grains, which require large land areas to cultivate. This has led to deforestation.
Recent media coverage has highlighted the negative aspects of cage egg farming, which has led to many consumers refusing eggs from caged chickens. Several countries have published a code of practice to address the problem. The 41-page document by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs in England, for example, details lighting, climate control, and the maximum space allowed per hen to be kept in a cage. However, not all farms follow the guidelines.
Organic and free-range
Free-range eggs and organic eggs are becoming more popular as people attempt to eschew eating caged eggs. What is the difference? Although free-range hens can enjoy the outdoors during daylight hours and stay inside at night, they are restricted in their movement and must be properly controlled.
Organic eggs are similar to free-range eggs. However, they don’t receive antibiotics or genetically modified feed. This is the norm for free-range and caged flocks. Organic eggs are also raised in smaller groups. Some labels can be confusing, and others may contain misleading terms. If you are looking for the best egg, it is worth researching each type. This is because you will want one with animal welfare and sustainability at its core. These are important factors for conscious egg buyers.
Are eggs good for you?
Eggs are touted as a great source of protein, with large eggs containing about 6g. Choline is also a great ingredient that boosts your metabolism and helps you function better. Eggs are low in calories, with an average egg having around 78 calories. This makes them a great choice for light, nutritious meals or snacks.
Many would point out that eggs have a high cholesterol content. Cholesterol, a fatty substance, can build up in blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other health problems. Each egg yolk contains approximately 185 mg of cholesterol. This is more than the daily recommended US amount. Some people are now concerned that eggs may not be as healthy as they thought. Many organizations, including the British Heart Foundation, have dispelled this myth. The fact is that cholesterol found in foods has negligible effects on blood cholesterol levels. It is much more important to avoid saturated fats. Fortunately, eggs are low in these.