Ever wondered if shelling out extra for pastured eggs is really worth it? You’re not alone, the marketing on a carton of eggs can be confusing and nuts at times. With all the buzz around different egg types, it’s easy to get scrambled trying to make the healthiest, most ethical choice. Before you make your next grocery run, we’ve got the complete low-down on pastured eggs to help you decide if they’re the right pick for your cart—and your conscience.

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What Does Pastured Mean?

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Pastured refers to a farming method where chickens are raised outdoors, with access to natural environments where they can roam, forage, and graze on grass, insects, and worms. The chickens typically sleep inside but have access to the outdoors during the day allowing them to express their distinctive behaviors.

How It’s Different From Cage Free

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While the chickens aren’t confined to cages, they still live indoors in this model. Often in large flocks with limited space and without access to the outdoors. Cage-free environments offer more freedom of movement than conventional battery cages, but they don’t provide the enriched, natural environment that pastured systems do.

Why They’re Worth The Splurge

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A study involving 14 flocks across the United States whose eggs were tested by an accredited Portland, Oregon, laboratory revealed a list of amazing benefits comparing pastured eggs to conventional eggs.

1. Deep Golden Yolks

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Opening a free-range or cage-free egg reveals a typical yellow yolk, while a pasture-raised egg often surprises with a golden to orange yolk. Pasture-raised hens feast on a varied diet that changes with the seasons, influencing the yolk color—lighter in summer and deeper in winter. You are what you eat and that’s no different with humans or chickens.

2. Twice the Omega-3s

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Pasture-raised eggs pack over twice the omega-3 fatty acids and boast a significantly lower omega-6 to omega-3 ratio than standard eggs. This rich profile makes them an excellent source of beneficial fats.

3. Seven Times More Beta Carotene

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Beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, plays a crucial role in maintaining eye health, supporting the immune system, and promoting healthy skin. Pastured eggs, known for their nutrient-rich profile, are a valuable source of beta carotene due to the diverse diet of hens raised on pasture. This not only enhances the nutritional value of the eggs but also contributes to their distinctive rich yolk color.

4. More Vitamin D

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Vitamin D, known as the sunshine vitamin, is very hard to get through foods. Only a select few contain amounts worht noting but eggs happen to be one of them. Pasture raised eggs were found to have three to six times the amount of vitamin D.

5. More Vitamin E

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Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body’s cells from damage, supports the immune system, and aids in maintaining healthy skin and eyes. Pastured eggs are a noteworthy source of vitamin E and have three times more than their counterparts, thanks to the varied and natural diet of hens that forage on pasture.

6. More Vitamin A

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Vitamin A is essential for maintaining good vision, ensuring the normal function of the immune system, and aiding in the health of skin and mucous membranes. Eggs from pasture-raised hens were shown to have 2/3 more vitamin A.

7. Far More Choline

Pasture-raised eggs contain significantly more choline—a vital B vitamin—compared to standard commercial eggs. Choline is key for brain development, muscle control, memory enhancement, maintaining cell membrane health, and has notable anti-inflammatory properties. With about 90% of the U.S. population, including up to 95% of pregnant women, not getting enough choline, and our bodies’ limited ability to produce it, incorporating choline-rich foods like pasture-raised eggs, which offer about 215 mg of choline per yolk, into our diet is essential for health.

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Why Pastured Eggs Even Beat Organic Eggs

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Pasture-raised eggs outshine their organic counterparts in nutrition. Organic eggs are great, avoiding pesticides and hormones, but they miss out on the diverse diet pasture-raised chickens enjoy. Eggs are often labeled “vegetarian fed” but this isn’t something to be proud of. Chickens are not meant to be vegetarians. When left alone, they eat bugs, worms and all sorts of insects in nature. This natural diet enriches eggs with more nutrients. So, while organic is good, pasture-raised is the top pick for those seeking the most wholesome option.

Upgrade Your Eggsperience With 15 New Ways To Eat Eggs

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Tired of the same old egg routine? Eggs are a kitchen workhorse, but sometimes our dishes get stuck on repeat. These 15 recipes crack the code on leveling up your egg game. They go beyond breakfast, spanning savory to sweet for unique and creative ways to enjoy the incredible edible egg.

See them here: Upgrade Your Eggsperience With 15 New Ways To Eat Eggs

Top 10 Most Common Food Safety Mistakes People Make At Home

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Navigating kitchen safety can sometimes feel like walking through a minefield of dos and don’ts. Let’s shed some light on the common food safety mistakes that sneak into our daily routines. By understanding and adjusting these small, often overlooked actions, we can significantly improve our food handling practices and keep our kitchens and families safe.

See Them Here: Top 10 Most Common Food Safety Mistakes People Make At Home

10 Best Frozen Veggies To Keep In Your Freezer At All Times For Easy Meals

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Keeping the right frozen veggies on hand is like having a secret weapon for easy meal prep. This list is a carefully selected lineup of the best frozen vegetables that promise to turn your everyday cooking into something effortlessly delicious. From the sweet char of fire roasted corn to the versatile goodness of chopped spinach, these freezer staples ensure you’re always ready to whip up something tasty.

See them here: 10 Best Frozen Veggies To Keep In Your Freezer

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Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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