Organic Milk Packs a Punch

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Remember the buzz earlier this year when a Stanford research paper claimed organically grown foods offered no real health advantages?

A lot of folks had issues with that conclusion—namely because lots of us do consider ingesting fewer pesticides and fungicides a pretty significant “health advantage!”—but now, there’s a new data point in the whole discussion of organic versus conventional.

A recent study published in the journal PLOS-One found that organic milk contains significantly healthier fats than its non-organic counterpart. 

According to researchers, organic milk contains 62 percent more omega-3 fatty acids, which have been associated with protection against heart disease and stroke, and potentially against cancer and autoimmune conditions, too. Conventional milk contains more omega-6s, around which evidence is less clear.

What is agreed upon is that, while both are important to our health,we should be eating more omega-3s and less omega-6s.

So, what’s behind the higher levels of omega-3s in organic milk? It’s likely a result of the cows’ diet: government requirements for organic labeling insist that dairy cows must spend a certain amount of the time in the pasture, eating grassy plants that are high in omega-3s. Most conventional milk comes from cows that are fed corn, which is high in omega-6s.

If you’re thinking about making the switch from conventional to organic milk, though, be sure to go for the good stuff: to get the benefits of your organic milk, you should chose whole: skimming off the fat also skims off the omega-3s.

photo credit: Sabrina Cassiano / Creative Commons

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