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?