My granny used to say, “You will never go hungry with eggs in the house!”, and as anyone with a growing family to feed will know, this is one saying that stands the test of time! Keeping your own chickens for eggs in your backyard or urban garden, is a fantastic way to provide a wide variety of sweet and savoury dishes, giving you the added benefit of knowing exactly where your food is coming from.
According to Ben Greenfield, health expert and best-selling author, when compared with conventional eggs, free range eggs have been found to have more vitamin A and E, and twice the level of omega-3 fatty acids. On top of this, free range eggs have also been shown to have less cholesterol and saturated fats.
Irish people really value the quality of free range eggs, and 2016 figures from the Irish Egg Association show that 40% of us buy free range eggs, compared with the EU average of 20%.
There are many advantages of having access to fresh eggs on a daily basis and here are the four fantastic health benefits of free range eggs for your family.
- Packed with Protein: The humble egg packs a real protein punch for its size! We all know protein is needed for the day to day working of the body but did you know that two eggs provides almost one third of the daily protein requirement of an average woman and nearly one quarter of an average man’s requirement
- Tons of B Vitamins: Many of the B vitamin group can be found in eggs. According to Bord Bia, these include important vitamins like B2 needed for energy production and vitamin B12 which is involved in cell replication, and healthy blood and nerves.
- Excellent source of A & E vitamins: We rely on vitamin A for healthy vision, bone growth, reproduction and the immune system. Vitamin E is an interesting one as it has several functions. It works as an antioxidant, preventing cell damage associated with aging and certain diseases. Some studies show it can slow the progression of heart disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease and generally enhance the immune system in older adults.
- High in Omega 3: Omega 3 is described as an essential fatty acid because the human body does not produce it, so therefore it must be sourced from food. It is important in brain function, as well as normal growth and development. There are about 109 milligrams of omega-3 essential fatty acids for every 100 grams of eggs, and even more in free-range eggs.
And of course, by rearing your own chickens for eggs, you are avoiding the many pesticides, hormones and antibiotics that can make their way into eggs which are produced conventionally. You are also providing a much more enjoyable home for your hens, with a natural diet that will be sure to add to the nutritional value of your eggs.
If you would like to find out more about rearing your own hens in your backyard or urban garden, visit the Learning Centre.