Are eggs healthy?
In a word: yes! And free range egg nutrition is even more impressive! Despite past misconceptions about the role of important nutrients like dietary cholesterol and fat, eggs are unequivocally a healthy whole food, and not to mention a complete protein, and the FDA agrees. For many years, eggs were villainized for their fat and cholesterol content amid growing concern about what a "heart-healthy diet" is comprised of. As a result of decades of misinformation, many Americans erroneously limited - or altogether avoided - eggs as part of their everyday nourishment. Although extensive research has debunked the myth surrounding eggs and health, many people are left wondering: are eggs good for you? Well, now you can wonder no more! Here are just a few reasons why eggs are a healthy choice:
1. Eggs are a whole food
Whole foods are defined as products that have not been processed or refined and are free from additives or added ingredients: think items like fresh produce, raw meat, and eggs. Although many processed foods are by no means harmful to your health, whole foods are an essential part of any diet.
2. Eggs are a complete protein
You may have heard amino acids referred to as the building blocks of protein. One large egg contains 6 grams of protein made up of all 9 essential amino acids, making eggs a complete protein and one of the world's healthiest protein sources. What does that mean, exactly? Well, not only can eating eggs help you on your journey to fulfill your daily nutrition needs (whether you're a vegetarian or an omnivore), but protein-rich foods take more time for the body to break down, so you can count on an egg-containing meal to keep you feeling fuller and satisfied for longer.
3. Eggs contain notoriously under-consumed nutrients
According to the FDA, "while about three-quarters of Americans meet the recommendation for the meat, poultry, and eggs subgroup, eggs provide choline and vitamin D, two nutrients with notably low intakes." In addition to aiding the normal function of cells (especially those involved with metabolism), choline promotes brain and memory development in infants. For this reason, eggs are specifically recommended as an important first food for infants and toddlers, as well as pregnant and breast feeding people according to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Vitamin D, which eggs are considered a good source of, works hand in hand with calcium to strengthen bones and teeth. Consuming eggs daily will also boost your intake of selenium, riboflavin, phosphorus, lutein, and zeaxanthin, and all from a natural source in a low-calorie package.
4. Eggs contain healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids
Despite its sullied reputation, fat is an essential part of any diet. Of the 5 grams of fat found in a large egg, the majority are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, often referred to as "healthy fats." These types of fat are particularly beneficial in weight and blood sugar management and are often touted for their role in diabetes prevention. Although many people have concerns about saturated fat (which should be noted increases HDL cholesterol, or what many doctors simplify as "good cholesterol,") a single egg contains less than 8% of the recommended daily value.
In addition to healthy fats, eggs are chock full of omega-3 fatty acids that help regulate blood clotting, inflammation, and genetic function, and even play a role in preventing heart disease, stroke, and other ailments. Omega-3 fatty acids are in the polyunsaturated fat family and are considered essential because the body can't produce them on its own.
5. In most cases, eggs don't raise cholesterol
It was once believed that even a moderate dietary cholesterol intake could increase one's risk for heart disease and stroke, but thanks to a thorough review by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee in the 2010s, it is now understood that moderate dietary cholesterol or egg consumption is not known to increase the risk for heart disease and its comorbidities except in people with a strong genetic risk for high cholesterol. Subsequent reviews and numerous studies have corroborated these findings, revealing no evidence that egg consumption elevates cholesterol in blood levels.
Are free range eggs better for you?
Because they come from free-roaming hens with access to sunshine and a varied, species-appropriate diet, free range eggs like ours are known to contain more omega-3 fatty acids than eggs from caged or even cage-free hens.
Egg nutrition facts breakdown
|Amount or DV%
|23% of DV
|22% of DV
|14% of DV
|10% of DV
|10% of DV
Curious about these nutrients and their functions? Let's dig in!
Key nutrients and vitamins in eggs
So many nutrients, such a small package! Considered a nutrient dense protein by the FDA, eggs are an absolute powerhouse when it comes to getting your daily needs. Here are a few of the key nutrients and vitamins you'll find in an egg:
One large egg contains 23% of the recommended daily value of choline, which is essential for nervous system and brain function.
One large egg contains 22% of the recommended daily value of selenium, a trace mineral that supports cognition, immune system functions, thyroid function, DNA synthesis, fertility, and more.
One large egg contains 14% of the recommended daily value of riboflavin (also known as vitamin B2), which aids the development of skin, the digestive tract, blood cells, and brain function.
One large egg contains 10% of the recommended daily value of vitamin D, which allows the body to absorb calcium, magnesium, and phosphate. Vitamin D is frequently under-consumed among Americans.
One large egg contains 10% of the recommended daily value of phosphorus, a mineral that activates enzymes, regulates blood pH, and keeps bones, teeth, and cell membranes in tip-top shape.
One large egg contains 6 grams of protein or 12% of the recommended daily value. Protein is often referred to as a building block of body tissue and an essential energy source.
One large egg contains 5 grams of fat or 6% of the recommended daily value. Fats play two key roles in the body: providing energy and aiding in the absorption of numerous fat-soluble vitamins.
One large egg contains 185 milligrams of cholesterol or 62% of the recommended daily value. The human body requires both LDL and HDL cholesterol to function, create hormones, and produce other nutrients. The majority of the cholesterol found in eggs is HDL, which is known for absorbing cholesterol and transporting it to the liver to be flushed from the body's system. In fact, this type of cholesterol can lower one's risk for heart disease.
So crack an egg!
If that's not evidence enough that eggs are a nutritious part of any healthy, well-balanced diet, we don't know what is! So go ahead and crack into our eggs for breakfast, dinner, or an anytime snack. Not only can you feel good about free range egg nutrition, but choosing a humane option like Nellie's means doing a good thing for our hens, farmers, and the planet.