Quail Eggs Are a Healthy Alternative to Chicken Eggs Worth Trying

You may think quail eggs only have value as a garnish as they're so tiny, but they're actually filled with nutrients. In fact, a serving of quail eggs actually has much more vitamin B2 and iron compared to chicken eggs. Quail egg calories and protein content are similar to those of chicken eggs per serving, making them a healthy food that you can integrate into your diet in many different ways.

Quail eggs are tiny; you can eat five eggs and that's still just a single serving. (Image: Neydtstock/iStock/GettyImages)

Quail Egg Nutrition

Quail eggs have a variety of vitamins and minerals and are high in cholesterol. In each serving (which is roughly five quail eggs or 50 grams), you can usually find a variety of vitamins:

  • Vitamin A: 5.5 percent of the daily value (DV)
  • Vitamin B2 (or riboflavin): 23 percent of the DV
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 9 percent of the DV
  • Vitamin B9 (or folate): 8 percent of the DV
  • Vitamin B12: 9 percent of the DV

You can also find small amounts of B vitamins like vitamin B1 (thiamin), B3 (niacin) and B6 and vitamin E in each serving.

Each serving of quail eggs also has several minerals:

  • Iron: 10 percent of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 12.5 percent of the DV
  • Zinc: 5 percent of the DV
  • Selenium: 23 percent of the DV

You can also find small amounts of calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese in each serving. Quail eggs also contain healthy essential fatty acids, like omega-3 and omega-6. Each serving of quail eggs provides you with 13 percent of your DV for protein.

Despite the high protein content and variety of nutrients, quail egg calories are fairly low. In each serving of quail eggs, calories equal just 4 percent of the daily value if you follow a 2,000-calorie diet (79 calories). Like all animal products, nutritional values can vary. The types of grains and seeds that quails consume as feed can influence the nutrition of both their eggs and meat.

Consumption of Quail Eggs

As tiny pheasant-type birds, quails have traditionally been considered a delicacy. However, their popularity as a meat has increased in recent years, which has resulted in quail eggs also being more commonly consumed. Although the small size of the eggs makes them fiddly and challenging to cook compared to other egg varieties, quail eggs can be more sustainable to produce than chicken eggs.

Quail eggs are consumed around the world, but in Western cuisines, they're rarely used as more than a garnish. However, these eggs are popularly consumed in Asian countries in a variety of forms like boiled, baked, pickled and grilled. They can be cooked in the same ways that chicken eggs are by integrating them into stews or curries, like Kada Mutta, or simply made into tiny Scotch or deviled eggs.

Quail Eggs Benefits

Quail eggs are not only thought to be nutritionally valuable but beneficial to overall health. According to a 2013 study in the International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, eating quail eggs supports healthy organ function throughout the body and may help prevent disease.

Their consumption is thought to be beneficial for cognition and the nervous, immune and digestive systems. They're also thought to help with the removal of toxins and various types of stones, like kidney, liver and gallbladder stones. Quail eggs benefits include counteracting anemia as they can increase hemoglobin in the blood.

Quail Eggs vs. Other Eggs

Quail eggs are some of the smallest eggs most commonly consumed. Whether your eggs come from chickens, ducks, geese or turkey, virtually any other bird has eggs that are substantially larger than quails. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, popularly consumed chicken eggs typically range in size from 35 grams (1.25 ounces) for peewee eggs to 68.5 grams (2.42 ounces) for jumbo eggs.

The American Heart Association recommends one egg per day as part of a healthy diet. This typically refers to large eggs, which are roughly 50 grams in size, and, coincidentally, the same size as a standard serving of quail eggs. However, one 50-gram chicken egg and the equivalent amount of quail eggs are not the same from a nutritional perspective.

Chicken and quail eggs share many of the same nutrients, and many of these are present in similar amounts. However, quail eggs have much more vitamin B2 (riboflavin): There's 23 percent of the DV in each serving compared to 14 percent in chicken eggs.

There's also twice as much iron in quail eggs: 10 percent of the DV compared to 5 percent in a serving of chicken eggs. The commonly consumed chicken eggs also have benefits, though. They contain more healthy fats like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and are lower in cholesterol.

Quail Egg Cholesterol

With the wide range of nutrients they have, quail eggs benefits for your health are fairly obvious. However, quail eggs have a much larger amount of cholesterol compared to other popularly consumed eggs. For instance, compared to a chicken egg, which has 211 milligrams of cholesterol, a serving of quail eggs has 422 milligrams of cholesterol.

Not too long ago, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans limited cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams per day. This meant that with 422 milligrams of cholesterol per serving, eating a single serving of quail eggs would cause you to far surpass the recommended limit for cholesterol. However, new research now indicates that dietary cholesterol doesn't have as much of an impact on the cholesterol in your blood as once believed. The updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans have since removed the limits on cholesterol intake.

When consumed in moderation, the cholesterol found in quail eggs and other animal foods shouldn't be harmful to your health. However, if you are concerned about consuming too much dietary cholesterol, it's mainly found in egg yolks. You can always eat the egg whites, rather than the whole eggs, which are still a good source of protein and other nutrients.

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