If you have recently purchased poultry or eggs, then you are aware of the fact that the most expensive products are labeled “cage-free” or “free-range”. You may be thinking, “Why do these products cost more?” Part of the reason for the higher value is because they cost more to produce, however, these eggs and meat are healthier all-around. Free-range chickens are allowed constant access to the outdoors, with plenty of fresh vegetation, sunshine and room to exercise. These chickens are not given chemicals of any kind. Free ranging allows chickens to forage for their own food, which is a natural instinct. When chickens are allowed to roam free, and they are exposed to fresh air and sunshine, they are gaining natural nutrients. Chickens who are able to forage for themselves have a well-rounded, healthier and more diverse diet than chickens that are fenced in. Overall, free-range chicken is healthier. All the bugs, grass and seeds that these chickens are foraging for are full of nutrients, although, free-range chickens still need commercial feed for a well-rounded diet. For chickens to produce the most healthful and flavorful meat, as well as eggs, they need to be able to eat a variety of green plants seeds and bugs.
Image via Wikipedia
Free-range chicken follows the following characteristics:
· No antibiotics ever used
· No hormones ever used
· No pesticides or herbicides every used in the soil or the feed
· No artificial ingredients whatsoever
· Juicier meat
· Exceptional source of protein
· Living in a stress-free environment
· Come from farms that produce sustainable farming and sound environmental practices.
Free-range eggs come from a free-range chicken. Free-range eggs produced the following results opposed to eggs from a caged chicken:
· 1/3 less cholesterol
· 1/4 less saturated fat
· 2/3 more vitamin A
· 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
· 3 times more vitamin E
· 7 times more beta-carotene
Besides the obvious nutritional benefits, free-range chicken and eggs simply taste better! The major difference between free-range and caged birds is the diet they consume everyday. Ultimately, you are what you eat. The free-ranged chicken’s diet is all natural and varied while the caged chicken eats only what is placed in front of them. Commercial fed chickens also have a much shorter life span than free-range chickens because they are impacted by stress, illness and general disease. Some producers abuse the term “free-range” when in fact all they have done is open a door to allow their chickens to range in an outdoor area of bare dirt or concrete, with no pasture in sight. When shopping for chicken, you should confirm that your meat comes from “true” or “pastured” or “grass-fed” free-range conditions. Unfortunately, you can’t tell how the chickens live by reading the package in a store. For the most accurate information on how your chicken was raised, find a local farmer who raises poultry on pasture.
Overall, the health benefits of eating poultry are plenty:
· High in protein
· Prevents bone loss
· Promotes heart health
· Rich in phosphorus
· Metabolism booster
· Rich in niacin
· Promotes eye health
With so many nutritional benefits, there is no reason not to eat poultry and feel good about doing so. Stop into Tiff’s today and create your own Start From Scratch free-range and hormone free chicken sandwich!
Image via Tiff’s Burger