For those of us who enjoy eggs from pasture-raised hens, the difference is obvious as soon as you crack open that first egg. The yolks are richer, darker yellow-orange than conventional cage-raised eggs. The whites stand up higher and aren’t as runny as the caged eggs. They just plain taste better to most people. But are grass-fed (pasture-raised) eggs really any nutritionally better for you than eggs from cage-raised factory hens? The short answer, YES!
Scientific research from Cambridge University proves it. The research took a look at the difference in Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin A and vitamin E concentrations of pasture eggs versus caged eggs. The hens on pasture were rotated every 2 weeks to each of three different types of pasture: mixed grasses, clover and alfalfa. The pasture hens were also supplemented with a small amount of layer mash feed to ensure that they had adequate protein intake. Another group of hens were kept in cages and fed the same layer mash for the entire 6 week study period.
- The pasture-raised eggs had double the amount of vitamin E compared to the cage-raised eggs.
- Vitamin A concentration was 38% higher in pasture eggs versus cage eggs.
- Omega-3 fatty acid levels were 2 and a half times higher in the pasture-fed hens’ eggs versus the caged hens’ eggs.
Why Does It Matter?
Vitamin E is important for our proper nerve function, heart and blood vessel strength, and acts as an antioxidant to bind up free radicals in our bodies. Vitamin E helps protect us from a wide range of ailments and issues.
Vitamin A from animal sources is also known as retinol, which is also an antioxidant. If retinol sounds familiar, that’s because it’s found in some fancy anti-aging skin creams. Retinol is important for good vision, especially night vision. It is also important for healthy skin, teeth and bones.
Omega-3 fatty acids are lacking in most Americans’ diets because of too much fast food in our diets. Without getting into too much chemistry here, the ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids is important. Too much Omega-6 leads to more inflammation, while Omega-3 is considered anti-inflammatory. We are well advised to eat a diet rich in high quality Omega-3 sources like eggs from pasture raised hens.
Give our pasture-raised eggs a try! We keep a large flock to ensure that we have a year round supply of eggs for you. Stop by and you’ll find the porch fridge stocked with eggs and instructions for payment. Or contact us to check supply if you want a lot of eggs!