From the “go to work on an egg” advertising slogans of the 1950s and 60s to cholesterol warnings of the 70’s the egg has had a chequered past. Fortunately, since then our understanding of nutrition has improved and we know that cholesterol in food has little effect on the cholesterol in your blood. Eggs are firmly back on the table and have been come one of the most instagramable foods around.
The humble egg has impressive health credentials and has long been considered a nutritious, inexpensive and tasty form of high-quality protein. Eggs are a natural source of many nutrients including vitamins B2, B12, D, A, folate and iodine.
There’s a lot of eggy options out there. The most commonly raised are chicken eggs, while more gourmet choices include quail, duck and goose eggs. But from organic to free-range, omega-3 enriched to barn eggs, research shows there is little difference in their nutritional values.
The mineral content will vary depending on the rearing environment and what is the hen’s feed. Free-range tend to have a slightly better nutritional profile especially if the hens have spent most of their time outdoors roaming.
Birds that get to eat insects and plants can transfer a wider array of nutrient into the eggs. And from an animal rights perspective, hens raised organically enjoy the highest level of welfare, greater space, outdoor access and a diet of organic feed.
Of course, the way we eat eggs can have the biggest impact on how healthy or unhealthy they are. A fried egg cooked in oil will never be as wholesome as a boiled egg so should be enjoyed as a treat. The healthiest ways are scrambled, poached, boiled or baked. One of our favourite ways to enjoy eggs is this recipe for Smoky baked eggs on rye.