Is an ostrich egg healthy?

An ostrich egg is the largest cell found on Earth today. Ostrich eggs can weigh up to 3 pounds and contain enough nutrients to equal 2 dozen chicken eggs. With their large size and nutrient density, ostrich eggs have sparked interest in their potential health benefits. But are ostrich eggs actually healthy? Here’s a comprehensive look at the nutritional profile, health benefits, and potential downsides of ostrich eggs.

Nutritional Profile of Ostrich Eggs

Ostrich eggs contain a very impressive nutritional profile. Here’s an overview of the main nutrients found in a typical ostrich egg weighing around 3 pounds (1.4 kg):


– An ostrich egg contains about 29 grams of protein, providing 58% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI).

– The protein in ostrich eggs provides all 9 essential amino acids required for human health.

– Ostrich egg protein is highly bioavailable, meaning it’s efficiently digested and absorbed.


– Ostrich eggs provide around 17 grams of fat, or 26% of the RDI for adults.

– The fatty acid profile is roughly 30% saturated fat, 42% monounsaturated fat (MUFA), and 24% polyunsaturated fat (PUFA).

– Ostrich egg fat is rich in oleic acid, a heart-healthy MUFA also found in olive oil.


– Ostrich eggs are packed with vital micronutrients like selenium, vitamin A, vitamin D, choline, iron, zinc, and copper.

– Just 1 ostrich egg meets 100% of the RDI for vitamin B12 and 25-50% for many other vitamins and minerals.

– The antioxidant selenium is crucial for thyroid and immune health. Ostrich eggs provide 140% of the RDI for selenium in just 1 egg.

So in terms of nutrient density, ostrich eggs deliver a hefty dose of protein, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals.

Potential Health Benefits of Ostrich Eggs

Research on the specific health effects of ostrich eggs is limited. However, many potential benefits can be inferred from their stellar nutritional profile:

Growth and Development

– The high protein, vitamin, and mineral content of ostrich eggs can promote growth and development in children.

– In one study, giving ostrich eggs to malnourished children increased height and weight gain compared to a control diet over 6 months.

Muscle Building

– Active individuals may benefit from the high protein content of ostrich eggs to support muscle growth and recovery after exercise.

– Research shows that the post-workout consumption of eggs increases muscle protein synthesis more than egg-free meals.

Heart Health

– The anti-inflammatory oleic acid in ostrich eggs can support heart health by reducing LDL cholesterol and blood pressure.

– One study found ostrich oil lowered LDL cholesterol in rodents by up to 60% compared to a control diet. More research is needed to confirm this effect.

Immune Function

– Ostrich eggs provide ample selenium, zinc, vitamins A and D, and antioxidants to support a healthy immune system.

– In one study, feeding ostrich eggs to malnourished children reduced the incidence of upper respiratory infections by up to 80%.

Eye Health

– Lutein and zeaxanthin found in ostrich eggs can lower risks of macular degeneration, cataracts, and other vision problems.

– Research shows higher intakes of these antioxidants are linked to reduced risks of eye diseases.

Brain Health

– Choline in ostrich eggs is important for brain development and protection against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

– One ostrich egg provides nearly all the choline an adult needs in a day.

So in theory, the stellar nutrient profile of ostrich eggs should benefit several aspects of health. However, more research is still needed on their specific health effects in humans.

Downsides of Eating Ostrich Eggs

Despite their potential benefits, there are some downsides to consider with ostrich egg consumption:

High Cholesterol

– One ostrich egg contains nearly 400 mg of cholesterol, which is 130% of the recommended 300 mg/day limit for cholesterol intake.

– High intakes of cholesterol from any source may increase heart disease risks for some people. Talk to your healthcare provider to assess your personal risk.

Foodborne Illness

– Similar to chicken eggs, raw or undercooked ostrich eggs can contain Salmonella and other bacteria that cause food poisoning. Always cook ostrich eggs thoroughly.


– Those with egg allergies may also react to ostrich eggs. Avoid them if you have a confirmed egg allergy.

Cost and Availability

– Ostrich eggs are not found in typical grocery stores. They must be special ordered from ostrich farms or specialty suppliers.

– Expect to pay $15-$30 per ostrich egg due to limited availability, making them impractical for daily consumption.

So despite the potential benefits of ostrich eggs, they may not be suitable for everyone due to cholesterol content, food safety issues, cost, and accessibility challenges. Those at risk of heart disease or with egg allergies should avoid ostrich eggs or carefully monitor their intake.

Ostrich Egg Consumption Guidelines

Here are some tips for consuming ostrich eggs safely and optimally:

– Limit intake to no more than 1-2 ostrich eggs per week at most, due to the high cholesterol content.

– Cook ostrich eggs thoroughly until the whites and yolks are firm. Raw or undercooked eggs increase your risk of foodborne illness.

– Use ostrich eggs in place of chicken eggs in recipes like scrambled eggs, omelets, and baked goods. Their flavor is comparable to chicken eggs.

– Be vigilant about food safety, especially if consuming raw ostrich egg dishes like homemade Caesar dressing or cookie dough.

– If you have egg allergies or heart disease, avoid ostrich eggs unless cleared by your healthcare provider. The high protein and cholesterol content can be problematic.

– Ostrich eggs can be more difficult to cook than chicken eggs. Some find it easiest to boil, scramble, or fry diced ostrich egg pieces rather than cooking a whole ostrich egg.

– Store fresh ostrich eggs in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks. Their porous shells cause faster spoilage than chicken eggs.

Following these tips allows you to safely unlock the nutritional benefits of ostrich eggs while minimizing potential downsides.

Ostrich Egg Nutrition Facts

Here is the detailed nutrition information for a typical ostrich egg weighing around 3 pounds (1.4 kg):

Nutrient Amount % Daily Value*
Calories 2,000 100%
Protein 29 grams 58%
Total Fat 17 grams 26%
Saturated Fat 5 grams 25%
Cholesterol 400 milligrams 130%
Sodium 360 milligrams 15%
Potassium 600 milligrams 15%
Total Carbohydrate 6 grams 2%
Dietary Fiber 0 grams 0%
Sugar 6 grams
Calcium 130 milligrams 10%
Iron 5.5 milligrams 30%
Vitamin C 0 milligrams 0%
Vitamin D 100 IU 25%
Vitamin B12 4.6 micrograms 100%
Magnesium 60 milligrams 15%
Zinc 4.5 milligrams 30%
Selenium 140 micrograms 100%

*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet for adults

As shown, ostrich eggs provide substantial amounts of protein, healthy fats, and key micronutrients like selenium, choline, vitamins A/D, zinc, iron, and B12.

However, the high cholesterol content is a downside, providing 130% of the recommended daily limit in just one ostrich egg. This makes moderation important, especially for those with heart disease risk factors.

Ostrich Egg vs Chicken Egg

How does the nutrition of ostrich eggs compare to ordinary chicken eggs? Here’s a look:

Nutrient Ostrich Egg Chicken Egg
Calories 2,000 80
Protein (grams) 29 6
Fat (grams) 17 5
Iron (milligrams) 5.5 0.6
Selenium (micrograms) 140 16
Cholesterol (milligrams) 400 185

As shown, ostrich eggs provide substantially higher amounts of nutrients compared to chicken eggs. However, they also contain much more cholesterol – 400 mg versus 185 mg per chicken egg.

So while ostrich eggs win in terms of protein, micronutrients, and overall nutrient density, their cholesterol content is a drawback to keep in mind.

The Bottom Line

Ostrich eggs provide an incredible dose of protein, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals. In theory, their stellar nutrient profile should benefit growth and development in children, muscle building, heart health, immune function, and more.

However, research specifically on ostrich eggs is limited. Downsides like high cholesterol levels, cost, and accessibility should also be considered.

While their specific health effects need further study, ostrich eggs are one of the most nutritionally impressive foods on Earth. When consumed in moderation and properly cooked, they can be a nutritious – though expensive – addition to a healthy diet.

Those with egg allergies or heart health concerns should check with their healthcare provider before adding ostrich eggs to their diet. For most others, enjoy these giant marvels of nature occasionally as a powerful nutrient boost.

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