When you’re making an omelet, and you’re cracking eggs into a bowl, a piece of eggshell may fall in. You may not even notice, but if the piece is big enough, you may feel an unusual crunch when eating your omelet, telling you that you have missed a bit of the eggshell. This can happen to anyone, and some might brush it off, but others wonder: what happens when you eat eggshells and are they safe?
If you eat eggshells, they will go down your digestive tract just like other foods. Eggshells are safe to eat, provide a source of calcium, and help prevent diseases. On the other hand, a big piece of eggshell may damage your esophagus. Additionally, eggshells can contain dangerous bacteria.
If you’re curious to know more, read the rest of this article. I will explain what happens when you eat bits of eggshell and how the stomach reacts to them. You’ll also learn about the potential benefits and risks of eating eggshells.
Is It Safe to Eat Eggshells?
If you notice tiny pieces of eggshells in your food and cannot fish them out, you may become alarmed and wonder if you must throw your food away. In reality, eating tiny pieces of eggshell is entirely safe. Even better, it may give you some extra minerals that you need.
Most people eat eggshells once in a while, whether they realize it or not. Whenever you crack an egg, there’s a possibility that small bits of eggshell can fall in there, and you won’t notice. Naturally, you never realize anything is different because it doesn’t make a difference in taste, and if it’s small enough, you won’t notice it in the texture of your food either.
More importantly, you never notice anything different because it doesn’t affect your well-being. In most cases, you won’t get sick in any way if you accidentally eat eggshells, especially if the food is cooked in high heat.
Now that you know that eating tiny bits of eggshell is normal and certainly no big deal, you might wonder what happens in your body once you swallow the eggshells. Does your digestive system take care of it like any other food, or does it simply pass through your system like an indigestible object?
Stomach acid can dissolve eggshells because they are made of calcium carbonate, which dissolves in gastric acid. If you eat a piece of eggshell, it will go through your digestive tract and will be broken down. It may also pass through the tract undigested if it’s too large and surrounded by food.
If you’re still unsure, you can try and see for yourself how eggshells behave in regular vinegar. There’s a very interesting experiment that shows how an entire eggshell can dissolve in vinegar in a week or so. Considering stomach acid is much stronger than vinegar, the eggshells will be dissolved even faster in your stomach.
However, as I mentioned above, there’s still a chance that they might just pass through the system undigested. This may happen because the piece of eggshell may be too big and surrounded by more food in the stomach. If there’s no time to dissolve completely before it leaves the stomach to go to the small intestine, it can’t be broken down anymore. Still, this poses no risk to you.
Not only are eggshells harmless for you, but they can help your body in several ways. It is important to remember that you would need to eat more than just a random piece of eggshell to profit from these benefits.
Let’s take a look at the main benefits of eating eggshells:
Eggshells contain plenty of vitamins and minerals that your body requires, so eating a significant enough amount of them may improve your health significantly. Eggshells contain nutrients such as:
This benefit is actually provided by the eggshell membrane rather than the shell itself, but they are almost always attached to one another. The egg membrane is the thin layer that separates the egg white from the shell, and it contains collagen and many other nutrients. These substances can all contribute to better joint health, although you must consume eggshells regularly to see a difference.
As I mentioned above, eggshells are mostly made of calcium carbonate, which makes them a great source of calcium. Calcium is crucial to the strength and general health of your bones. Eating eggshells can, therefore, help you prevent and even fight osteoporosis.
Eggshells contain significant amounts of magnesium, which is extremely important for your nerve and muscle health. Magnesium helps relax and repair nerves and brain cells, which is essential for your nervous system’s normal function. Additionally, magnesium plays a role in relieving cramped or sore muscles.
It may surprise you that your teeth and eggshells have very similar compositions. Because of this similarity, consuming enough eggshells can help heal cavities and repair your teeth naturally. This can even help reduce the number of times you have to visit your dentist.
Like anything else, eggshells may also pose risks if eaten in an unsafe way. While the shells themselves are entirely fine to consume by themselves, the circumstances in which you eat them may be somewhat risky.
For instance, if you eat a large and sharp piece of eggshell, you risk damaging parts of your digestive tract. The sharp edges of the eggshell can scratch your esophagus and cause pain and other issues. If you’re consuming the eggs intentionally, make sure they are blended into a fine powder. Otherwise, fish the eggshell out if you notice a large enough shard of eggshell.
Also, eggshells can contain bacteria and harmful contaminants on their surface, leading to food poisoning. If the eggshells don’t undergo any cooking in the heat, eating them raw may be risky. In particular, eggshells can be contaminated with salmonella, which is very dangerous as it can cause food poisoning.
How to Eat Eggshells
So, given all the benefits I mentioned, you may be tempted to try eating eggshells for health purposes. However, because of the potential risks, you may not be sure how exactly you can consume them. If you want to use eggshells for their nutritional benefits, you only need to follow a few simple steps:
- Choose organic, free-range eggs from your local farmers’ market.
- Boil the eggs and then peel the eggshells.
- Let the eggshells dry, and then bake them at a low heat for 10 minutes.
- Crush the eggshells into a fine powder using a blender or a mortar and pestle.
- Sieve the powder to make sure that no large pieces are left.
- Store the powder in a container and use it whenever you want.
You can eat the eggshells on their own like any other food, or you can blend them into your food or drinks. Including eggshell powder in a smoothie is a fantastic way to enjoy their benefits.
You may also like to read: Can You Put Eggshells in the Garbage Disposal?
Accidentally eating eggshells is pretty common, and it’s generally harmless. The piece of eggshell will go down your esophagus to your stomach, where it will probably be dissolved. What’s left of it will move with the rest of the food down the digestive tract.
Eggshells can be helpful for your health for several reasons, which is why you can consume them on purpose as nutritional supplements. However, you need to make sure they undergo heat to get rid of any bacteria. Moreover, you need to crush them into a powder so you don’t risk damage to your esophagus.