A lot has been said about the health benefits of eating eggs. They are cheap, versatile source of protein, packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. We’ve scrambled, poached, baked and whipped them into everything from soups to custards. But what about the shell? Are they just waste and useless?
Decades past, eggshell powder processed from eggs has been used as a natural calcium supplement. Eggshells are roughly 40% calcium, with each gram providing 381–401 mg. Half an eggshell may provide enough calcium to meet the daily requirements for adults, which is 1,000 mg per day.
We may be losing a lot on a valuable source of calcium when we discard our eggshells. Many have seen an eggshell but many don’t really know what this seemingly waste can do for us.
- An eggshell is the hard, outer covering of an egg. It consists mostly of calcium carbonate, a common form of calcium. The rest is made up of protein and other minerals.
- Calcium carbonate is the most common form of calcium in nature, making up seashells, coral reefs and limestone. It is also the cheapest and most widely available form of calcium in supplements.
- Eggshells also contain small amounts of other minerals, including strontium, fluoride, magnesium and selenium. Similarly, these minerals may play a role in bone health just like calcium.
- Eggshell membrane mainly consists of protein in the form of collagen. It also contains small amounts of chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine and other nutrients.
- Loaded with calcium, eggshell is good for the growth and development of new bones.
- Eggshells help to regulate the heart rhythm, promoting muscle functioning and controls the level of magnesium, phosphorous and potassium in the blood.
- It helps protect and remineralize the tooth enamel.
- The eggshell membrane serves as an alternative therapy for joint connective tissue disorders, such as lupus, gout, arthritis and back pain.
- Eggshell reduces the risk of osteoporosis, a health condition characterised by weak bones and an increased risk of bone fractures.
- Helps decrease pores. Regular use of the eggshell mask can help shrink the pores on the face.
- Eggshell helps to prevent the signs of ageing on the skin.
How to Prepare Eggshell Powder
- Gather used organic eggs shells.
- Drop them into boiling water for about 5minutes, to clean them and reduce the risk of Salmonella or other bacterial infections.
- Remove the shells from the water and spread them on a baking sheet to dry overnight.
- Bake the eggshells at about 250 degrees to dry them further and eradicate any living organism left.
- Grind the dried, baked eggshells in a coffee grinder or a blender that grinds them very finely into a powdery substance. Mortar and pestle can also serve.
- Store the powder in an airtight container to keep out moisture. Do not refrigerate.
Once you have your eggshell powder, you can add it to a variety of foods for maximum utility. This includes coffee, yoghurt, smoothies, nut butter, bread, spaghetti, pizza, fried meat etc. A slight gritty texture may, however, result in some meals.
A half teaspoon of eggshell powder per day supplies 400–500 milligrams of additional bioavailable calcium.
Also, the alkaline nature of the eggshells balances out the coffee’s acidity, resulting in a smoother, mellower flavour without coffee’s bitterness.
Oftentimes, we downplay the eggshell as a food source, missing the high quantity of quality calcium contained in each shell. We ought to reconsider its place at the table. So the next time you crack open an egg, think twice before tossing that shell.
Note: Moderate your intake and do consult a health professional. Excessive intake of calcium may cause health problems, such as kidney stones, and potentially raise the risk of heart disease.