A friend asked me to look into the benefits of raw egg yolks before she started eating them. My family consumes raw egg yolks in our smoothies without any adverse effects. The eggs we use are from a small local farmer I have come to know very well. She has pasture raised, hormone free, antibiotic free, bug eating, sun loving chickens. The eggs are exceptionally fresh (literally only a couple of days old at most by the time that I purchase them). I do not consume eggs from the large health food stores like Whole Foods because I do not know the conditions in which the chickens were raised, how the eggs are prepared for sale (including pasteurization), and how old the eggs are. As for the whites that are unused when I make smoothies, I save them (no more than two days) and put them into a nut flour recipe, with two whites equaling one egg (see recipes link for nut flour use and smoothies).
Raw egg yolks have high levels of nutrients and are a healing food. Cooking egg yolks reduces the benefits. There are many, many internet sources citing the benefits of raw egg yolks, but many of them do not have the science and depth of knowledge to back them up the way that Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions and President of the Weston A. Price Foundation www.westonaprice.org, does.
Discussed below are some of the nutrients in and benefits of consuming eggs, including raw yolks, all excerpted from Nourishing Traditions. There is much more information in Nourishing Traditions than what I am excerpting below, and to receive the full benefit of Sally Fallon’s research, you should read it independently.
Eggs have provided mankind with high-quality protein and fat-soluble vitamins for millennia. Properly produced eggs are rich in just about every nutrient we have yet discovered, especially fat-soluble vitamins A and D. Eggs also provide sulphur-containing proteins, necessary for the integrity of cell membranes. They are an excellent source of special long-chain fatty acids call EPA and DHA, which play a vital role in the development of the nervous system in the infant and the maintenance of mental acuity in the adult – no wonder Asians value eggs as brain food. Egg yolk is the most concentrated source known of choline, a B vitamin found in lecithin that is necessary for keeping cholesterol moving in the blood stream. (p. 436)
Vitamin A also acts as an antioxidant, protecting the body against pollutants and free radicals, hence against cancer. Vitamin A stimulates the secretion of gastric juices needed for protein digestion, plays a vital role in building strong bones and rich blood… Dr. Price discovered that the diets of healthy isolated peoples contained at least ten times more vitamin A from animal sources than found in the American diet of his day [early 1900s]. The high vitamin A content of their diets insured them excellent bone structure, wide handsome faces and plenty of room for the teeth and ample protection against stress of all types. It is best to obtain vitamin A from natural sources like yellow butter, egg yolks, organ meats, fish, shellfish and cold liver oil (p. 37)
Why not Consume Raw Egg Whites?
The advice of Sally Fallon has served my family exceedingly well, and I will rely on it again. This is what Sally has to say on the Weston A. Price website:
We agree that it is fine to consume plenty of raw egg yolks, a custom found in many traditional diets, but consumption of raw egg whites on a regular basis can lead to digestive problems. The problem is… that raw egg whites contain enzyme inhibitors that can interfere with protein digestion. Whole eggs should be cooked--and it is fine to cook them any way you like them.
What About Raw Egg Yolks and Salmonella?
Sally Fallon states in Nourishing Traditions: “The blame for such problems lies squarely on crowded production methods that require extensive use of antibiotics in feed. Eggs from pasture-fed hens pose no danger provided they have been properly refrigerated” (p. 37)
A review of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) most recent research underscores that the problem is with factory farmed chickens, because the USDA only studies eggs from undernourished, overmedicated, never eaten a bug or seen the sun, living in filthy conditions chickens whose eggs have to be sterilized because of the terrible conditions under which they are produced http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/Risk_Assessments/index.asp#eggs.
How Many Eggs a Week Does My Family Eat?
We eat about three dozen a week. We use them for baking, smoothies, and a scrambled egg or omelet dinner. We have been eating this many for almost eight months. When we began, I wondered how all of these eggs would affect my health. Check out my Cholesterol post: Victory - Cholesterol. You can also read other posts reporting on how my family is excelling.
Still Need More Information?
As with any idea about which you are skeptical, do your own research to ensure that you making the best decision for you.