Need Vitamin D? Try Eggs

Free range eggs, that is. According to the pastured egg research conducted by Mother Earth News, free range eggs have “4 to 6 times as much vitamin D as typical supermarket eggs.” Unfortunately, there is a huge problem with the term “free range.” Many of us have a vision of little chickens running free through gorgeous green fields, returning to their coops only at night to rest. But legally, people must only “provide access” to pasture for chickens to be considered free range. However, many farmers keep the chickens cooped up for the first few weeks of their lives (which is allowed) and only then open a door on their cages. By this time, the chickens, who have never been outside, have no desire to go.

Your best bet is to buy organic eggs (which doesn’t guarantee free range, but many organic farmers believe in the process and do this). And to buy your organic eggs through a smaller, more local farm. There is a grocery store chain in my area that carries organic, free-range eggs from a small farm only a couple of hours from where I live. The yolks in the eggs are much darker — more orange, which is one way you can tell if you’ve gotten the real deal or not.

Check out Mother Earth News’ Chicken and Egg Page. There, you’ll find that pastured eggs also contain:

• 1⁄3 less cholesterol
• 1⁄4 less saturated fat
• 2⁄3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene

We’ve been eating these eggs for a while now and really like them. It’s great to know that chickens raised in pasture are not only treated more humanely, but that the eggs they produce are healthier for us as well.

Where do you get your eggs?

Comments

  1. Is there any difference in the brown eggs compared to the white eggs? Are the brown eggs more organic?

  2. There’s no difference. The color of the egg is based on the breed of the hen.

  3. Thats actually really good to know – b/c I always thought that Brown Eggs were better than White eggs…. so i started only buying the brown.

  4. @Crystal
    Here’s a link to an egg color chart. Some hens even lay blue eggs.

    http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html

  5. I get my eggs from The Country Hen: countryhen.com

    They say right on their website that they allow their hens to roam freely throughout the barn, which is pretty vague when you think about it. However, their eggs yolks are as yellow as the fresh eggs I received from a local day camp that has free-range hens as a learning project for their campers. I feel pretty good about it, but I would probably be better off convincing the day camp to just sell me their hens’ eggs weekly. Which, now that we’re talking about it, is a good project.

  6. Great idea, having the day camp sell their eggs to you. I really do think fresh eggs taste the best.