Quaker Hill Farm
In a 2003 study, researchers at Pennsylvania State University reported that birds kept on pasture produced three times more omega-3s in their eggs than birds raised in cages on a commercial diet. They also found twice as much vitamin E and 40 percent more vitamin A in the yolks of the pastured birds. That is a real nutritional difference!
What is current research showing about eggs?
Egg yolks are the richest known source of lutein and zeaxanthin, essential vitamins not found in your multi-vitamin tablet.
Eggs are gaining new respect from nutritionists, partly for their abundance of two carotenes --- lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidant vitamins are essential for the protection of the macula, an area of the retina that provides our best central vision. Eggs are the richest known source. "Macular degeneration," the term for damage to this area of the retina, is the leading cause of blindness in people over 55 years of age. Lutein and zeaxanthin protect the macula from the destructive effects of light. The deeper the yellow-orange color of yolks, the more lutein and zeaxanthin they contain and the more eye-protection they offer.
There is also new evidence linking lutein and zeaxanthin with a lower risk of colon cancer. According to a recent study, "Of all the carotenoids investigated, only lutein and zeaxanthin showed a protective effect against colon cancer, with an enhanced effect in younger people."
(Slattery, M. L., Benson, J., Curtin, K., Ma, K. N., Schaeffer, D., and Potter, J. D. (2000). Am J Clin Nutr 71, 575-82.)
Egg consumption doesn't appear to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke.
Cutting back on egg consumption has been widely recommended as a way to lower blood cholesterol levels and prevent coronary heart disease. Is this valid advice? Recently, researchers took a close look at the egg-eating habits and heart health of 118,000 men and women. The scientists reported that "we found no evidence of an overall significant association between egg consumption and risk of CHD [coronary heart disease] in either men or women." In fact, they found that people who ate from 5 to 6 eggs per week had a lower risk of heart disease than those who ate less than one egg per week.
(Hu, F. B., M. J. Stampfer, et al. (1999). "A prospective study of egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women." JAMA 281(15): 1387-94.)
Imagine what studies would show if scientists looked at the heart health of the lucky people who eat eggs from free-range hens!