Discovering Designer Eggs?
I recently saw an advertisement for "omega-3 eggs." Supposedly, the yolks of these "designer" eggs contain more omega-3 fatty acids than those of regular eggs. Is this for real or just hype?
The designer eggs you saw advertised are for real. Egg farmers have produced these omega-3 eggs by fortifying chicken feed with a meal made from algae (some of these chickens are also fed flax seeds). These new eggs taste better than regular eggs -- and they're better for you, too. They do cost more, but I think they're worth the extra money.
Most commercially bred chickens stay confined in cages and eat standard feed. The new eggs are more like the ones chickens produce when they're allowed to scratch around for their feed. Until the introduction of the designer product, only free-range chickens produced eggs with significant levels of omega-3 fatty acids. We need omega-3s for brain growth and development, and omega-3s may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, arthritis, high blood pressure, tumor growth, and diabetes. The best sources of omega-3s are oily, cold-water fish such as salmon, herring, and sardines.
Changing chicken feed can also increase the amount of vitamins D and E in eggs. One brand of eggs currently on the market boasts six times more vitamin E than regular eggs. A Finnish researcher recently called for tripling the vitamin D in chicken feed, which could raise the amount of vitamin D in eggs by sevenfold.
Such changes would make eggs much more nutritious than they already are. Egg whites are a great source of protein, and egg yolks contain an astonishing array of essential vitamins and minerals, including iron and vitamins A, D, E, and K.
As far as cholesterol is concerned, the eggs you eat are far less harmful than the saturated fat in butter, cream, cheese, and red meat. While you shouldn't take this as a license to eat all the eggs you want, most people can eat an egg a day as long as they don't cook it in butter or mix it with cheese, cream, or other fatty foods. This Easter and Passover, try celebrating the holiday with some of the new designer eggs.