If you're looking to add some variety to your breakfasts or simply want something fancy for your next brunch, give duck eggs a try. They're larger than chicken eggs and higher in calories -- 130 calories vs. 72 calories in a large chicken egg -- and provide several essential nutrients. Duck eggs are very high in cholesterol, however, so they should be consumed in moderation and avoided by individuals sensitive to dietary cholesterol.
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The Basics: Macronutrients
A duck egg's calorie content comes from a mix of protein, fats and carbohydrates. Each egg contains 9 grams of quality protein, which your body can use to support your immune system and maintain healthy skin. This makes up roughly 15 percent of the daily protein intake for an average 150-pound person, according to guidelines published by the Iowa State University Extension. A duck egg also contains 9.6 grams of fat -- a concentrated source of energy -- as well as 1 gram of carbohydrates.
Duck eggs boost your vitamin intake and provide considerable amounts of vitamins A and B-12. The vitamin A from your diet promotes new cell development to keep your tissues healthy and also maintains good eyesight. A duck egg contains 472 international units of vitamin A -- one-fifth of the recommended daily intake for women and 16 percent for men. The vitamin B-12 in duck eggs keeps your nerves healthy and promotes red blood cell function. Each duck egg boasts 3.8 micrograms of vitamin B-12, more than your entire daily recommended B-12 intake. It also contains small amounts of several B-complex vitamins, as well as vitamins D and E.
Duck eggs also offer nutritional value because of their selenium and iron content. Selenium supports healthy immune function and helps you make thyroid hormones. Iron helps your red blood cells carry oxygen and plays a role in energy production. Each duck egg contains 2.7 milligrams of iron -- 34 percent of the recommended daily intake for men and 15 percent for women -- as well as 25.5 micrograms of selenium, or 46 percent of your intake requirement. Duck eggs also contain small amounts of zinc, phosphorus and calcium.
Drawbacks: Cholesterol Content
Duck eggs' high cholesterol content means you should consume them in moderation. Each egg contains 619 milligrams of cholesterol, which is more than twice the daily recommended limit, or more than three times the limit for those suffering from high cholesterol or heart disease. A high cholesterol intake can negatively affect your blood cholesterol levels. Limit your cholesterol intake when eating duck eggs by limiting your portion size to one egg and pairing it with cholesterol-free ingredients, such as vegetables and fruits. If you're sensitive to dietary cholesterol, you might want to avoid duck eggs entirely.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Egg, Duck, Whole, Fresh, Raw
- Iowa State University Extension: Protein
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fats and Cholesterol: Out with the Bad, In with the Good
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B-12 (Cobalamin)
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin A (Retinol)
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Iron
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Selenium
- Colorado State University Extension: Dietary Fats and Cholesterol
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Egg, Whole, Raw, Fresh