Eggs are a protein-packed, nutrient-rich, and affordable breakfast food that can help you get fit and healthy without breaking the bank. Here are 10 amazing facts about eggs you need to know.

1. Brown Vs. White Shells

An egg’s shell color doesn’t indicate the quality or nutritional value of an egg, but rather the breed of the hen that laid it. Hens with white feathers tend to lay white eggs and hens with red feathers tend to lay brown eggs.

2. What Yolk Color Means

The color of an egg yolk is determined by a hen’s diet. Like shell color, it has nothing to do with an egg’s nutritional value. If you crack open your egg to discover a dark yellow yolk, the hen was probably fed green vegetables. A medium-yellow yolk would indicate a diet of corn and alfalfa while a light-yellow yolk could be the result of eating wheat and barley.

3. Long Shelf Life

The next time you buy a carton of eggs, notice that the package comes with a Sell By date rather than an expiration date. Your eggs should be edible for a 3-4 weeks after that date, so don’t toss them in the garbage until then. If you’re not sure an egg is still good, take a big whiff of it after cracking. Your nose will be offended by an unpleasant odor if it is no good.

4. Sky High Demand

The average American eats 250 eggs per year, which translates to a total annual consumption of 76.5 billion eggs in the U.S. I eat a three-egg omelet every morning, so that means I eat roughly 1,095 eggs per year (whoa!). 

5. Translating the Label

Cage-free — These hens are free from the confines of a cage, but this doesn’t mean they are frolicking in an open field with the sun overhead. More often, they are free to roam a barn or warehouse, but their living conditions can vary widely.

Natural — Anyone can use the term “natural” to describe their eggs, so this means nothing.

Free-range — This means hens are free to roam the outdoors at some point, but there is no regulation specifying how long is necessary, so there is no way to know how long the hens are actually outside.

Certified Organic — Hens have some access to the outdoors and are fed an organic vegetarian diet that excludes any pesticides, animal by-products, or genetically modified foods.

6. Forget About Cholesterol

An egg contains 2/3 of your recommended cholesterol intake, but it turns out this isn’t a big deal. Studies show that regular egg consumption does not increase risk of heart disease.

7. Lots of Nutritional Bang for Little Buck

Eggs contain a high dose of protein (help you build muscle) and healthy fats (help you feel full and satisfied) at little caloric cost. You will also benefit from antioxidants that fight cancer and reduce the effects of aging.

8. Unlimited Cooking Options

The only thing that limits you with the cooking of an egg is your imagination. You could scramble some eggs for a quick-and-easy healthy breakfast. You could upgrade to an omelet by chopping some veggies and adding mozzarella cheese with a dash of hot sauce. Or you could make an egg sandwich with spinach and tomato. You could also boil a few eggs, sprinkle them with a bit of salt and pepper, and cut them up for a tasty addition to your salad.

9. Why Don’t They Hatch?

A hen must mate with a rooster in order to fertilize an egg. Grocery store eggs, for obvious reasons, are laid by hens that haven’t mated.

10. What an Egg!

Harriet the hen laid the world’s largest egg in 2010, measuring a hefty 9.1 inches in diameter.

I hope you enjoyed these facts about eggs. How do you prefer to eat yours?

This is just a short list of 10 things you can do with your empty cartons: 10 Amazing Uses for Carboard Egg Containers You Have Never Thought About

Featured photo credit: chelsey.baldockvia Flickr

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