Michael Rahal, owner and designer of Rahal Farms in Fernvale, Tennessee, will tell you that eggs from his farm-roaming chickens are superior to eggs produced by caged chickens that are fed an all-grain diet. It turns out that Rahal isn’t biased in this claim; studies performed since the 1970s have shown that pasture-raised hens provide eggs with more vitamins and higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than their conventionally raised counterparts. Hens that roam a pasture have access to diverse food sources, which go directly into the eggs you consume.

At Rahal Farms, Michael Rahal is careful to rotate his grazing livestock and his ground-scratching chickens to ensure that all of his animals get the right nutrients to keep them healthy. First, he allows different livestock breeds to graze together, knowing that they each eat different plants in the field. Next, the chickens graze in the same area, scattering the natural fertilizer and eating insects full of complex proteins and nutrients. In comparison, hens in cages or even in cage-free environments don’t have access to pasture land, and are typically fed only grains.

The more nutrients an animal consumes, the greater the nutrients they yield in their eggs and milk. If you are trying to increase the nutrients in the whole foods you consume, seek out farm-raised products from farmers such as Michael Rahal.