I don’t know about you, but I remember when I was a kid and I loved to steal my mother’s raw cookie dough from the bowl (oops, the cat is out of the bag).
She would turn away for a minute and the theft was easy and swift. However, one time I was caught red-handed with a mouthful of her delicious chocolate chip dough and my fun came to a screeching halt.
She put some serious fear in me when she told me that eating raw cookie dough, which contained raw eggs, would make me very sick. When I confessed that I had been stealing the cookie dough for a very long time and hadn’t once felt sick, she said I had just gotten lucky. The next time, she promised, would bring me great anguish!
Today, I don’t eat raw cookie dough because I now know better for different reasons; however, I do enjoy raw eggs… at least one egg a day, for that matter.
If the thought of consuming raw eggs makes your stomach queasy, you are not alone. It may be that you were raised like me, with a distrust of raw eggs, or perhaps the media — with all its talk of salmonella — has scared you away from enjoying this amazingly potent nutritional powerhouse. In fact, raw eggs, when consumed from the right source, are not only safe but also good for you!
Yes, raw eggs are safe
One caveat here, you have to get your raw eggs from a reliable source. I am not talking about the store-bought, mass-produced eggs that come from unhappy hens. I am referring to eggs from organic, cage-free or free-range hens.
Hens that are not cooped up indoors, with no air or light, fed crappy grain and not allowed any time in the great outdoors. These hens are sick, their living conditions are sick and subsequently their eggs are sick.
In reality, the risk of poisoning from salmonella from even store-bought eggs is unlikely. The paranoia over salmonella poisoning started in the mid to late 1980s during outbreaks of egg-associated outbreaks of salmonella in the northeastern United States. After dozens of people died from poisoning, hen house owners changed the way they managed hen houses and the risk was substantially decreased.
A study from the U.S.Department of Agriculture in 2002 noted that only 2.3 million of the some 69 billion eggs produced each year are actually contaminated with salmonella. That equates to 0.003% or 1 in every 30,000 eggs.
Keep in mind that most of the bad eggs come from chickens kept in very unhealthy conditions. If we were to look only at eggs from healthy chickens (organic and free-range), even fewer than one in 30,000 eggs would be contaminated.
In addition, what you might not know is that salmonella is a microorganism found all over the place and is actually more likely to proliferate on cooked food kept in the fridge. When infection does occur, it generally causes only minor gastric upset, unless it occurs in individuals with a compromised immune system, such as elderly persons who take or have taken a number of antibiotics. In a healthy person, salmonella poisoning is easily treated with potent probiotics every half hour until the symptoms dissipate.
According to David McSwane, co-author of Essentials of Food Safety and Sanitation, “Salmonella, like a lot of food-borne bacteria, are what we think of as opportunistic organisms, in that they really don’t compete very well with a lot of other bacteria and microbes that are not only in nature, but also are in the human intestinal system.”
Why I consume raw eggs
So, hopefully I have now put your fears to rest and you are ready to learn more about why consuming one or two raw eggs daily is a good thing for your health. Here are just some of the reasons why I consume raw eggs daily.
Cooking eggs changes the composition of fats and proteins. The chemical shape of the egg protein is altered when exposed to heat and this can cause allergies. Interestingly enough, many people who stop eating cooked eggs and switch to raw eggs find that their egg allergies disappear.
Raw eggs are loaded with vitamin B12 and folate
Raw eggs are loaded with essential vitamins, such as vitamin B12. One egg contains 0.2 milligrams of riboflavin or vitamin B12, which is needed to help the body break down fats, carbohydrates and proteins.
In addition, B12 also keeps blood and nerve cells in good working order. Raw egg yolks are also rich in folate, which guards against anemia, especially in pregnant women. Eggs also contain choline, which has been found to help in memory preservation.
Raw eggs contain fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K
Fat-soluble vitamins are highly important in your body. Vitamins A, D and K work together with each other and with other essential minerals including magnesium, calcium and zinc. According to research, optimizing vitamin D levels can cut your risk of cancer in half.
Egg yolks contain antioxidants
Just two raw egg yolks contain almost twice the antioxidant properties found in an apple. This is due to the presence of two amino acids, tryptophan and tyrosine. In addition, yolks are also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that protect from age-related macular degeneration — the most common cause of blindness.
Proteins and minerals
Eggs are an awesome source of protein. One egg contains about 6 grams of protein, which is needed for your body to repair cells and produce new ones. One egg yolk also has more than 66 mg of phosphorus and 22 mg of calcium. Each of our 37 trillion cells needs phosphorus to function.
Of course, everyone knows that we need calcium for our bones and teeth. A whole egg contains selenium, a mineral that is incorporated into proteins to make antioxidant enzymes (selenoproteins). In addition, small amounts of iron, zinc and copper are also found in eggs.
Egg yolks are rich in cholesterol
Wait a minute, you might say, “Isn’t cholesterol bad for us?” Cholesterol is a type of fat that is crucial to the body’s proper functioning. It is needed for the production of cell membranes, and also carries nutrients, such as CoQ10, beta carotene and vitamin E, which are essential to the mitochondria (energy center) of the cells. Cholesterol is also integral in cognitive function, as well as to support hormonal stability and the production of vitamin D.
Egg yolks contain biotin
Egg yolks contain one of the highest concentrations of biotin found in nature. So, contrary to what you might think, ditching the yolks and eating the whites is not the way to go. If you only consume raw egg whites, you will most definitely develop a biotin deficiency unless you take a biotin supplement. Biotin is needed for the formation of fatty acids and glucose. Both of these are used as fuels by the body and are critical for the metabolism of carbohydrates and amino acids.
Two ways I eat my raw egg yolks
I am not going to suggest that you be like Rocky and drink your egg yolks on their own. There are, however, some clever ways to consume this nutrient powerhouse. I like to blend one egg with a little goat’s milk or an avocado along with a touch of raw honey.
You can also mix them in with your favorite smoothie. Mine is almond milk, a frozen banana, cocoa powder, pure vanilla, natural peanut butter and two egg yolks. Talk about a great way to start a busy day!
Tip: Before eating your eggs, wash them with soapy water. If there is any salmonella, it will most likely be on the shell from chicken feces. Therefore, washing the egg reduces your chance of being infected.
— Susan Patterson
Susan is the Content Director at The Alternative Daily, a Certified Health Coach, Certified Metabolic Typing Advisor and Master Gardener. With an extensive knowledge of whole foods and wellness, Susan enjoys educating others on how to live healthy and sustainable lives. She presently lives off grid in the middle of the New Mexican high desert with her three children and numerous animals.