The incredible, healthful egg

Published 10:38 pm Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Choosing between great flavor and good health can be a tricky business. But, when you choose eggs, you don’t necessarily have to choose.

Eggs can offer a tasty, healthy and budget-conscious option for easy, satisfying meals for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.

“We eat a ton of eggs in our house,” said Alison Scott, who owns Full Quiver Farms on Manning Road in Suffolk, where she, her husband and their nine children raise chickens and other farm animals. “The eggs are good for so many different meals, for many different reasons.”

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At the top of the good qualities are health benefits. One large egg has only 70 calories, but it includes 13 essential vitamins and minerals, along with high-quality protein and antioxidants, according to the Virginia Egg Council.

“They’re also supposed to be great for brain development in children,” Wilson said.

Eggs from chickens that are raised in an open pasture also have a better balance of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are considered to be healthy fats, Wilson said.

“Studies have shown an increase Omega-3 fatty acids in pastured eggs,” Full Quiver’s Web site states.

Wilson explained the increase in Omega-3 takes place because the birds are able to absorb more chlorophyll by eating greens and more vitamin D because they’re in the open.

“They run about the pasture, eat grass, clover and grasshoppers,” the Wilsons say on the Web site. “They’re healthy and strong and lay eggs that display that same vitality in appearance, taste, and healthiness. Our hens are moved frequently to new pasture to keep pathogens in check and to provide necessary rest periods for the grass.”

The price difference between store-bought and pastured eggs is about $1.20 a dozen, according to Virginia Egg Council, and the Wilsons’ sell a dozen for $4.

“When comparing standard servings of high-quality protein foods, eggs cost less than other protein sources,” according to a VEC press release. “A dozen large eggs weighs about 1.5 lbs. If a dozen eggs cost $1.20, then the price is a mere $.80 per pound.”

And while the Wilsons’ may cost more, “many people want food from a farmer they can trust and put a face on,” Scott Wilson said. “It’s important to people to know where their food is coming from. And once they taste them, that seals the deal.”

Whether you are looking for the health and taste benefits from buying pastured eggs or a lower-cost, store-bought egg, both can be used to create scrumptious meals any time of day.