We are what we eat

Buying eggs used to be straightforward. They were sold by the dozen and priced according to size. The insides of eggs were all the same.

Let’s look at the generic egg from a free-range or ‘kampong’ chicken. In terms of food value, we understand eggs contain loads of protein and a whole bunch of vitamins and other wonderful essential minerals. That’s why we kept feeding our growing children with them. Eggs also contain as much fat and a significant amount of cholesterol so we should not be eating them excessively to avoid risks of heart failure and other health problems.

Then came designer eggs from chickens fed on corn, soya, flax seeds and other healthy stuff. These eggs cost about 50% more than the normal eggs but I’m not totally convinced that they really do pass on the nutritional value from the chicken feed to the consumer.

It is accepted that the quality of eggs depends on how the chicken is raised and what it feeds on. Eggs from free-range chickens are supposed to contain less fat and cholesterol and more vitamins. Chickens fed on polyunsaturated fats (naturally in seeds and nuts) and seaweed meal produce eggs with high Omega-3 fatty acids.

There must be at least 10 different types of eggs to choose from in the supermarket but there is one type that I question if it is worth paying for – cordyceps eggs.

Cordyceps is a Chinese medicinal herb and food supplement used to enhance immunity, strengthen the lungs and boost kidney functions. So chickens fed with a diet containing cordyceps are supposed to be stronger and healthier. It then follows that the eggs produced will be of a higher quality and possibly contain the essence cordycepin.

Wild cordyceps are worth its weight in gold as they are very rare and difficult to harvest. I doubt if an egg producer will bid thousands of dollars for cordyceps to feed the chickens.

There’s cultivated cordyceps from which cordycepin can be extracted. Cordycepin can also be manufactured synthetically.

So what is the value of goodness in an egg? How many eggs must one take to derive any benefit from the natural herb cordyceps?

I did a bit of research and found a patent for the use of cordyceps for egg production. From what I deduce, chickens fed on cordyceps or its extract are likely to produce eggs with lower cholesterol levels and there is a cordycepin transfer from the chicken to the egg but this is found predominantly in the egg yolk, which happens to have most of the fat in an egg. That means the consumer will be taking in both cordycepin and fat or skip the yolk to avoid the fat and miss the cordycepin.

Is it worth paying premium for this?

JY

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