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When you are faced with adhering to a strict diet upon being diagnosed with cancer, even the eggs you choose are an important consideration along with all the other foods. So, what are the best egg and the differences between cage-free, free-range and pasture-raised eggs?
Medical News Today recently released an article written by Amanda Barrell and reviewed by Katherine Marengo, LDN, R.D. on the differences between eggs. There are different methods of egg production that refer to the differing levels of animal welfare standards that farmers use on their farms.
Cage eggs are produced by farmers that keep their birds in battery cages with between three and eight birds. This protects the hens from predators and allows the farmer to keep an eye on the welfare and air quality of the hens. It does, however, stop hens from participating in natural behavior, such as dust bathing, walking, and foraging. Nor can they nest or roost and do not display signs of comfort, such as flapping their wings, stretching, shaking or wagging their tails. These animals can be at risk of becoming caught between wires or experiencing foot damage due to overgrown claws.
Enriched cages have more features, such as perches, nesting boxes or scratching areas. These vary in size and the birds can engage in natural behavior. They usually have no access to outside spaces.
The cage-free eggs come from hens that can move freely but may not have access to outdoor areas. They are fed a natural diet and are able to show the natural behaviors that caged hens cannot. There are no clear definitions for what a cage-free system should look like. The main feature is that they have a larger area to move freely and exhibit their natural behaviors.
The United Egg Producers Certified cage-free mark is a program to define cage-free. The American Humane Certified program states that cage-free hens must have at least 1.25 square feet of floor space and access to perches and nesting boxes.
Free-range eggs have the extra space and also access to an outside area. The Food Alliance Certified defines these eggs as coming from birds that do not live in cages and have natural daylight for at least 8 hours per day as well as space to nest, perch land dust bathe.
Pasture-raised have regular access to outdoor space with grass or vegetation. Animal Welfare Approved offers the highest level of animal welfare. They must have at least 6 hours a day of access to vegetation-covered pasture and 108 square feet of pasture. The more space it takes to keep the hens, the more expensive it is to produce the eggs. So, pasture-raised eggs are by far the best and most expensive.
There are little nutritional values of the different methods, but some in the mineral content. They have found a higher magnesium content in free-range eggs and organic eggs had a lower phosphorus zinc content. Beta-carotene levels are higher in free-range eggs and beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A, with many health benefits.
The animal rights organizations say that pasture-raised and free-range eggs are the best choices. Choosing the right egg is only part of a recommended diet, especially for someone fighting the war against cancer. Diet is extremely important.
Dr Fredda Branyon