I try to buy organic dairy products and I recommend that my patients do the same based on an educated guess that healthier cows are going to produce healthier milk. A new study suggests that’s true.
Researchers from Newcastle University in England carefully selected and analyzed 170 published studies from over 20 years comparing the nutrient content of organic fresh full-fat cow milk to that of conventional. They published their results in the British Journal of Nutrition.
The key takeaway is that organic milk has a higher concentration of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential anti-inflammatory fats. They’re “essential” because we can obtain them only through food or supplements since the human body cannot synthesize them.
The three most popular types of omega-3 fats include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahaxaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). (Fortunately they’re most often referred to by their acronyms!)
Together these omega-3 fats do all of the following and more:
- Fight inflammation
- Decrease the risk of coronary heart disease and sudden death
- Lower blood triglyceride levels
- Stabilize mood
- Support a healthy nervous system
- Provide necessary ingredients for normal eye and brain development
It turns out that organic milk was higher in all of the above fatty acids plus conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been shown to fight cancer, obesity, heart disease and diabetes in animals.
Studies on butter and cheese were not included in this meta-analysis, but the researchers assume that organic varieties will have higher levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats compared with conventional since turning fresh milk into butter and cheese does not alter the fat composition.
These findings support those from previous studies.
Click here for more information on this study and others comparing organic versus conventional meat, dairy and crops.