Hen eggs don’t need any introduction, it’s safe to assume they are a staple in most households. After all, they are one of the most versatile and useful foods in existence. But there is a new kind of eggs that is gaining popularity lately - duck eggs. They are considered a delicacy throughout Asia and they started appearing more and more frequently on restaurant menus, at farmer's markets, and even in some supermarkets recently. Should you be interested? Definitely!
Externally, duck eggs can be recognized by their size and color. Duck eggs are about 50% larger than hen eggs and they come in a range of different colors - from white to pale blue and charcoal gray, depending on the breed of duck.
As mentioned above, duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs (an average duck egg weighs about 2.5 ounces/ 70 grams, whereas a large chicken egg is closer to 1.8 ounces/ 50 grams), but they are considered more nutritious as well. They're especially high in vitamin B12, selenium, protein and choline. If you’re an adventurous eater and are curious about this relatively novel egg variation - here is a breakdown of the nutritious value, potential benefits, as well as any possible side effects of eating duck eggs.
Vitamins and Minerals
Duck eggs contain a wide range of valuable vitamins and minerals including magnesium, calcium, iron, and vitamin A. But most notably, these eggs contain nearly an entire day’s worth of vitamin B12 - just over 60 percent of the recommended daily value! Vitamin B12 is essential for red blood cell formation, DNA synthesis, and healthy nerve function. Low levels of vitamin B12 can cause issues with balance and memory, as well as chronic fatigue.
Each duck egg contains more than one-third of the recommended daily value of selenium - an essential mineral, which has to be obtained through your diet. If you are not familiar with selenium, this amazing nutrient is vital to your health. Selenium helps regulate metabolic hormones, acts as a powerful antioxidant, and plays a role in fertility and helping to ensure healthy pregnancies.
Duck eggs are rich in choline, another essential nutrient, the main role of which is to help cells communicate with each other. It’s particularly useful in helping your body produce neurotransmitters that act as cell messengers and facilitate nerve communication.
Eggs of all kinds are known to be an excellent source of high-quality protein. Just like chicken eggs, duck eggs contain all of the essential amino acids the body requires in order to build protein, but in a slightly higher concentration than chicken eggs. In addition, these high amounts of protein make baked goods rise, which means duck eggs are an excellent choice for those who are looking to bake gluten-free.
Boost Calcium Absorption
Interestingly, the health benefits of duck eggs go beyond their nutritional value. According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, peptides in the whites of duck eggs can promote and enhance the body's ability to absorb the essential mineral calcium in your digestive system. Calcium is extremely important as it helps your body's muscles function properly and maintains the health of your bones and teeth.
Egg yolk is known to be a common allergen. In fact, it’s one of the most common food allergies in infants, although most children tend to outgrow egg allergies. Because the protein in duck and chicken eggs is similar but not identical, it is possible to have an allergic reaction to one type of egg but not the other. If you have a known or suspected allergy to a certain type of eggs it’s best to be cautious and check with your doctor before trying duck eggs.
Duck eggs are quite high in cholesterol - 619 milligrams per egg. Egg yolks have been shown to raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in some people, but they often raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels as well. There are mixed opinions on the issue - before 2015, the recommended daily value of cholesterol in food was limited to a maximum of 300 milligrams per day. However, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans no longer mentions such a limitation.
Even in light of the updated guidelines, some experts sill recommend reducing dietary cholesterol consumption especially if you have a family history of diabetes or heart disease. If you want to avoid cholesterol try consuming just the egg white because it contains little cholesterol and is still rich in antioxidants.