Eggs, those versatile oval wonders that find their way onto our breakfast plates in countless ways—scrambled, fried, poached, and more.
But have you ever wondered, nestled between your sunny-side-up and your bacon: Do eggs have calcium? The short answer is yes. But you may be surprised at the quantities and how you can utilize them best for yourself, your plants, and your pets!
In this article, we’ll break down the calcium content of various parts and types of eggs. Furthermore, we’ll take a look at the best way to utilize calcium and how you can use the rich eggshells too!
What Is Calcium and Why Do Our Bodies Need It?
Calcium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being. It is the most abundant mineral in the human body, primarily found in our bones and teeth.
However, calcium is not limited to providing structural support alone. Calcium is involved in numerous vital functions in the body.
Firstly, it helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth, providing the structural framework that supports our body and protects our organs.
Additionally, calcium plays a critical role in muscle function, including the contraction and relaxation of muscles, which is essential for movement and everyday activities.
Calcium is also necessary for proper nerve transmission, ensuring the communication between nerve cells and enabling various bodily functions.
It assists in blood clotting, allowing wounds to heal and preventing excessive bleeding.
Moreover, calcium is involved in regulating enzyme activity, supporting hormone secretion, and maintaining a normal heartbeat.
Our bodies constantly require a supply of calcium to function optimally. When we don’t consume enough calcium in our diet, our body extracts it from our bones, leading to decreased bone density and an increased risk of osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weak and brittle bones.
To ensure an adequate intake of calcium, it is recommended to include calcium-rich foods in our diet. And that’s where eggs come in!
Do Eggs Have Calcium?
Eggs do contain a small amount of calcium, but the concentration is relatively low compared to other calcium-rich foods. The calcium content in an egg is mainly found in the eggshell, with trace amounts present in the egg white and yolk.
Here’s a breakdown of the calcium content in different parts of an average-sized egg (50 grams).
The eggshell is the outer protective layer of the egg. It is primarily composed of calcium carbonate.
The calcium content in an average eggshell is approximately 750-800 milligrams (mg).
However, it’s important to note that consuming eggshells is not common or recommended due to sanitary reasons and the potential presence of contaminants.
The egg white, also known as the albumen, is the clear, viscous portion that surrounds the yolk.
While the egg white does contain some minerals, including trace amounts of calcium, the calcium content is quite low.
An average-sized egg white (that’s about 33 grams) contains about 2-3 mg of calcium.
The egg yolk is the yellow, nutrient-rich center of the egg. It contains various vitamins, minerals, and fats.
However, the calcium content in the egg yolk is minimal as well. An average-sized egg yolk (of about 17 grams) contains approximately 20-22 mg of calcium.
Do All Kinds of Eggs Have the Same Amount of Calcium?
The calcium content in eggs can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the egg and the species of the bird.
Size of Egg From the Same Species
The size of a chicken egg can impact its calcium content.
Larger eggs tend to have slightly higher calcium levels compared to smaller eggs. However, the difference in calcium content based on size is relatively minor.
The majority of the calcium in a chicken egg is concentrated in the eggshell, which remains fairly consistent regardless of egg size.
Different Species of Eggs
Eggs from different bird species can have varying calcium content.
Chicken eggs are commonly consumed and are a primary source of eggs for many people. As mentioned earlier, the calcium content in chicken eggs is primarily found in the eggshell. The calcium levels in chicken eggs are similar across different breeds.
Chicken eggs contain roughly 49mg of calcium per 100 grams.
Quail eggs are significantly smaller than chicken eggs but are known for their rich nutrient profile. While the overall calcium content in quail eggs is lower than that of chicken eggs, the calcium-to-egg ratio is relatively higher due to their smaller size.
Quail eggs contain about 64mg of calcium per 100 grams of egg.
Duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs and have a higher overall nutrient content, including calcium.
Duck eggs contain more calcium than chicken eggs, making them a relatively richer source of this mineral.
Duck eggs also contain roughly 64mg of calcium per 100 grams of egg. But obviously, one duck egg is much larger than one quail egg. So, you’d require a lot more quail eggs to get to 100 grams than duck eggs.
Can You Utilize Calcium From Eggshells?
Yes, it is possible to extract calcium from eggshells, and there are two common methods to do so: boiling the eggshells and turning them into a powder.
Keep in mind that boiled eggshell water is primarily used for gardening purposes. The eggshell powder could potentially be used as a calcium supplement.
But before we take a look at these methods, it’s crucial to understand why it’s not commonly done.
Risks Involved – A Word Of Caution!
While eggshells can be a potential source of calcium, there are several risks and considerations associated with ingesting eggshells for calcium supplementation.
Eggshells, like the egg itself, can be a potential source of bacteria such as Salmonella. Proper handling, cleaning, and cooking of eggs are essential to minimize the risk of contamination.
However, even with precautions, there is still a small risk of bacterial presence on the shells. Ingesting contaminated eggshells can lead to foodborne illnesses.
They are also, obviously, primarily composed of calcium carbonate, which is not easily digestible by the human digestive system. Consuming large or sharp pieces of eggshells can potentially irritate the gastrointestinal tract, leading to discomfort, constipation, or other digestive issues.
Furthermore, ingesting excessive amounts of calcium without proper monitoring can disrupt the delicate balance of minerals in the body.
Calcium supplements, including those derived from eggshells, should be taken with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare professional to ensure appropriate dosage and avoid calcium imbalances.
Considering these risks, it is generally recommended to obtain calcium from other dietary sources that are easier to digest and have a lower risk of contamination, such as dairy products, leafy greens, fortified foods, or calcium supplements specifically formulated for human consumption.
If you are interested in using eggshells as a calcium supplement, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to discuss potential risks, appropriate dosage, and any individual considerations specific to your health condition or dietary needs.
Method 1: Boiling the Eggshells
If you want to extract calcium from eggshells using the boiling method, the process looks like this:
1. Collect clean and dry eggshells from consumed eggs.
2. Crush the eggshells into small pieces or grind them in a blender to increase the surface area.
3. Place the crushed eggshells in a pot of boiling water. Boil the eggshells for about 5-10 minutes to kill any bacteria.
4. Remove the eggshells from the water and allow them to cool separately.
5. The calcium-rich water can now be used for gardening purposes.
Method 2: Turning the Eggshells Into Powder
The eggshells can be crushed into a fine powder and used as a calcium supplement or added to foods like smoothies, baked goods, or soups. The process looks like this:
1. Once the boiled eggshells have cooled, rinse the eggshells thoroughly to remove any remaining residue.
2. Spread the crushed eggshells onto a baking sheet and place it in an oven preheated to a low temperature (around 200°F or 95°C).
3. Bake the eggshells for about 10-15 minutes to dry them out completely.
4. Once dried, remove the eggshells from the oven and allow them to cool.
5. Grind the dried eggshells into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle or a food processor.
7. Store the powdered eggshells in an airtight container.
Other Uses for Calcium-Rich Egg Shells
Aside from being used for culinary purposes, calcium-rich eggshells have several other practical uses.
Crushed eggshells can be a fantastic addition to your garden or houseplants. They contain calcium, as well as trace amounts of other minerals like potassium and magnesium, which can benefit the soil.
The sharp edges of crushed eggshells can act as a natural deterrent for slugs, snails, and other soft-bodied pests. Create a barrier by spreading crushed eggshells around vulnerable plants to keep these critters at bay.
Empty eggshells can serve as biodegradable containers for starting seeds. Rinse and dry the shells, then fill them with potting soil and sow your seeds.
Once the seedlings are ready to be transplanted, gently crush the shell and plant the entire thing in the soil, as the shell will break down and provide additional calcium to the growing plant.
Calcium Supplement for Pets
Ground eggshells can be a valuable source of calcium for certain animals. If you have pets like birds or reptiles that require calcium supplementation, you can sterilize and grind eggshells into a fine powder.
Sprinkle a small amount of this powder on their food to provide them with the necessary calcium.