There’s no doubt that eggs are a popular part of the Paleo diet. They’re packed with a host of vitamins and minerals that do a body good. It’s been that way for as long as humans have been around and hungry. Which is, of course, a very long time. Nowadays, egg consumption around the world is, unfortunately, dinosaur-free. So we’re left with what makes up the bulk of the world’s modern egg diet. Quail eggs in Asia, ostrich eggs in Africa, and of course, chicken eggs in a lot of places. Among these eggs are a sometimes-overwhelming number of options—organic, all-natural, and pastured, to name just a few. So what good are pastured eggs anyway? What makes them different from eggs that are farmed in a typical way?
How They’re Raised
- Pastured chickens are given pasture to roam around in. This is different from just “free-range”. Where the chickens may be let out of their coop but just into a dirt enclosure where they can walk around.
- Because pastured chickens are not restricted to dirt enclosures, they are free to wander in and consume grasses. This eliminates the processed food that most chickens are fed. Which often includes leftover oil (like soybean oil from restaurants) and even, as the FDA admits, arsenic. Anything that goes into the chicken comes to humans through the eggs.
- In addition to a wide variety of grasses; chickens are also free to consume their natural diet, which includes bugs, worms, seeds, and dirt. Because this is what they would eat in the wild. The chickens and the eggs they produce will be more nutritious.
Why pastured eggs are healthier
- Chickens that have access to their natural diets in a pasture produce eggs that are packed with beta-carotene. Which are responsible for the yellow color of the yolk. (This is why, if you have ever been to places like Eastern Europe where chickens are typically raised in the backyard, the yolks are very orange instead of yellow—more beta-carotene.) These nutrients help you maintain a healthy weight and protect your skin from being damaged by the sun.
- You can expect two times more omega-3 in pastured eggs. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation throughout the body, thereby lowering the risk for inflammatory diseases like heart disease and asthma. Some research also suggests that omega-3s can reduce depression and help to protect against Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Pastured eggs have three times as much vitamin E as regular eggs. Vitamin E has antioxidant properties that prevent damage to your body. Such as the destruction of vitamin A through oxidation reactions. Vitamin E also improves the health of cell membranes and since cells make up every single part of our body, we need them to be healthy!
You might not be able to reap the benefits of a giant, nutritious, and pasture-fed dinosaur egg nowadays, but pastured chicken eggs are pretty close. They’re vastly superior to industrially-produced eggs nutritionally, and the chickens are happier to boot. What’s not to love?