Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Chicken rich in omega 3?

Last night I finally managed to get a Hugh fix by catching up on all the River Cottage Spring programmes - a little behind I know but with the weather as it is at the moment, it was a lovely warm reminder of what summer should be like. As always, chicken featured prominently in the show, and just as I was about to whizz through it thinking "yes yes I know about the free range chickens" (and I buy them too) - I paused as he was investigating the nutritional content of a range of birds.
The Professor conducting the experiment was looking in particular at the omega 3 and overall fat content of battery chicken, versus corn fed chicken, versus free range organic. What I hadn't known was that chicken used to be naturally rich omega 3, before they were intensively reared and levels of omega 3 fell by 80%. Apparently, its the exercise that comes from scatching about in the grass for bugs and eating them that builds the good fat reserves, so was interested to see the outcome. Surprise, surprise free range organic came out with the highest amount of omega 3 - would HFW ever present something less competlling - but also much lower in total fat (about 25% I think). So not only is choosing free range chicken good for your conscience, but it is also good for your health!


  1. Hi, It just goes to show that you really are what you eat. I remember about 15 years ago, before we were made so aware of Organic Free Range produce. I was at University and bought an Organic Free Range Chicken leg. What lured me into spending the extra money I couldn't really afford, was the sheer size and the colour of it. It was amazing. On tasting it I commented how it tasted exactly like chicken used to when I was a child, it actually had a flavour and melted in the mouth with that beautiful smell of roast chicken.In the days before it was mass produced and had the correct amount of nutrional value you would expect from a chicken!

  2. Actually, the omega-3 fat in free range chicken comes from the grass. In ocean raised salmon, the omega-3 fat comes from eating the algae. Animals can't create essentially fatty acids, they have to get them from plants. They are present in a good amount in grass, but not it corn or soy animal feeds.