I do like from time to time an egg for my breakfast. Eggs are also super easy to prepare for a midweek lunch or for a quick evening fix if you have not had time to foresee something at home.
I guess you wonder sometimes if eggs are healthy at all? Both the egg white and yolk are rich in nutrients – proteins, vitamins and minerals with the yolk also containing cholesterol, fat soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids. Eggs should be included as part of a varied and balanced diet, as they are regarded as a “complete” source of protein. Eggs contain all essential amino acids which we cannot synthesize in our bodies and must obtain from diet.
What is the issue with cholesterol?
For years eggs were considered more of a health risk than a healthy food. We know now that the cholesterol found in our food has much less effect on our blood cholesterol than the amount of saturated fat we eat. The first thing to do to keep your cholesterol levels low is to keep the intake of saturated fat low and to increase your intake of fruits, vegetables and fiber…
Free range? Omega-3 containing? Barn eggs? Class A? Organic? What does all this means?
It is very important to eat only good quality eggs and shop wisely because the method of production can make a huge different in the quality of the eggs. In Europe the marketing standards and rules for production of eggs are quite strict. For example:
- Did you know that eggs in Europe should always be transported and stored and sold at room temperature? The reason for this is that cold eggs left out at room temperature may become covered with condensation, facilitating the growth of bacteria on the shell and probably their ingression into the egg. So next time you see eggs in a fridge in a shop you’ll know they should not be there!!
- In general, eggs should never be washed or cleaned before selling them as this can cause damage to egg shell and again let some harmful bacteria in.
- The eggs sold in Europe have minimum durability of 28 days – e.g. it is allowed to sell eggs up to 28 days after laying
- Class A eggs have a list of quality characteristics they have to correspond – starting from shell and cuticle shape and ending with smell J There is also weight grading from S (small) – egg up to 53 gram to XL (very large) – egg heavier than 73 gram!
- If you see a marking “extra” or “extra fresh” on the packing – then it means that these eggs have been laid no more than nine days ago!
There are three different production methods described for sales in Europe: EGGS FROM CAGED HENS, BARN EGGS and FREE RANGE EGGS. And yes, you should go for the last one – free range eggs. However, please be aware that free range eggs does not mean that the hens are running free in the fields (like we like to imagine) – it means that hens must have a daytime access to open-air runs but this does not mean that the producer cannot restrict the access only to few hours in the morning…
If you ever wonder what does “Organic” really mean that this is quite broadly explained in the relevant European legislation:
- Limiting the number of external inputs in production;
- Limiting the use of chemically synthesized inputs and
- Preferring the biological processes based on ecological systems…
So for the clarity of understanding - “Organic” or “Bio” does not always mean that no harmful substances have been used or that hens have been freely running around laying their eggs…
There are also eggs which have been fortified with Omega-3s – this is always marked on the package in order to inform the consumers.
Wish you wise choices and always prefer the eggs from hens from your own garden or from your neighbor !