Organic Milk Is Better For You
If you’ve read my book, “True Nutrition-European Secrets for American Women,” you know I’m a big fan of organic food.
I’ve always believed that natural is better. Organic foods are produced using traditional methods, which means no artificial additives—and in the case of dairy cattle—a diet that includes free grazing in green pastures, as nature intended.
The differences between organic and conventional milk made headlines recently. Reported in the online journal, PLOS ONE, the study’s title tells you just about everything you need to know about this landmark research: “Organic Production Enhances Milk Nutritional Quality by Shifting Fatty Acid Composition: A United States–Wide, 18-Month Study”.
Fatty acids are essential nutrients. By definition we need them to function. And we can’t make them in our bodies, so we have to get them from the diet.
There are two important types: omega-6 fatty acids, and omega-3 fatty acids. In recent decades, it’s become increasingly clear that most Americans get far too many omega-6s and far too few omega-3s. We need both, but in roughly equal amounts. The reasons are simple. The body uses omega-6s to promote inflammation, while the omega-3s are crucial to help the body reverse the effects of inflammation. Omega-3s are also indispensable parts of nerve cell membranes. So the brain literally doesn’t work right without them.
Organic milk has up to two-thirds more omega-3 fatty acids than milk from factory-farmed dairy cattle. The difference surprised researchers, and suggests that organic, in this instance, is clearly better for you than conventional milk. One caveat: You have to drink whole milk to reap the rich omega-3 benefits of organic milk. Skim or 1% organic milk will have had most of its fatty acids removed.
Benbrook CM, Butler G, Latif MA, Leifert C, Davis DR (2013) Organic Production Enhances Milk Nutritional Quality by Shifting Fatty Acid Composition: A United States–Wide, 18-Month Study. PLoS ONE 8(12): e82429. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082429