Are Omega-3 eggs a better option?
Eggs are consumed by a lot of people as a breakfast option and are considered to be one of the most nutritious foods. There are different types of eggs available in the market. The regular white eggs, such as the pastured eggs (where the hens are allowed to roam freely eating their natural food), and the omega-3 eggs (where the hens are fed flaxseeds).
What are omega-3 eggs?
These are produced by hens which are fed on a diet containing flax seeds and fish oil. These eggs contain the essential fats DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid). These fats are known to protect us against heart disease. When the hens eat flaxseeds, some of the ALA gets converted into DHA in their bodies and both ALA and DHA gets passed on into the egg. Now for some facts. All the omega-3 is contained in the egg yolk. So, if you are eating only egg whites, you are actually throwing out the omega-3 and not really benefiting.
The amount of DHA in one yolk is about 80 to 100mg and the ALA is only about 350mg – compared to fatty fish (180 gm serving), one big piece will give you 3.6gms of DHA + EPA. (Eicosapentaenoic acid is good for the heart). If you eat fatty fish once a week you will get approximately 500 mg (EPA+DHA) a day. Flaxseeds contain 2.4 gms or 2400 mg of ALA per tablespoon. Three walnuts contain about 1,280 mg of ALA. So, if you consume fatty fish once a week and 2 tbsp of flax seeds everyday you will get more than your daily requirement of ALA on a daily basis.
The Bottom Line
If your goal is to increase the omega 3 in your diet, you don’t have to spend so much. A couple of tablespoons of flaxseed daily, and fatty fish (like mackerel, Indian salmon, salmon, trout) once a week is all that you need to meet your daily requirements. However, it is important to note that pastured eggs are more nutritious than regular white conventional eggs. They have a higher level of vitamin A and E and are lower in cholesterol and omega-3 eggs have a higher amount of ALA and DHA as compared to regular eggs.
So, your best choice is pastured eggs, followed by omega-3 egg as your second-best choice, and if both of these are out of bounds for you then the regular conventional eggs are still a very nutritious and a healthy choice.
(As published in Hindustan Times dated September 02, 2019)