Organic Milk Consistently Better Quality

Posted Mon, 01/24/2011 - 10:00am by Camilla Cheung

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A UK study published in the Journal of Dairy Science indicates that organic milk may be the best milk to choose for your health. Not only does organic milk have more healthy fatty acids and less saturated fat than conventional milk, organic milk also stays at a more consistent level of quality throughout the year independent of weather and other conditions.

The samples taken by the research team showed that conventional supermarket milk had lower amounts of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and higher amounts of unhealthy saturated fats, indicators that cows had a diet low in grass, and that their diet was sometimes supplemented by unhealthy saturated fat products. In addition, the use of nitrogen fertilizers on conventional farms suppressed the growth of clover, a healthy part of a dairy cow's diet. The quality of conventional milk varied widely between farms, and during years with unusually wet and cool summers, dropped considerably.

Meanwhile, researchers found that the results for organic milk were more encouraging. The organic milk samples showed higher amounts of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, healthy unsaturated fats such as CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), and lower amounts of saturated fat. Researchers said that this indicated organic dairy cows were being allowed to forage more, eating more grass and clover, which led to healthier milk.

The scientists also surmised that with increasingly unusual climate changes in the UK, the weather would become wetter, and with greater rainfall, it would be difficult to maintain feed for the livestock throughout the year. The results of the study suggested that organic farmers have struck upon a method to weather these changes, while producing milk that is consistently high in quality.

In the meantime, the study also indicates that for consumers, choosing organic milk, or at least milk where cows are allowed to graze and forage for much of their food, is a healthy choice. Choosing truly organic milk can help you to cut down on saturated fats and increase your intake of healthy nutrients, such as omega-3s, linoleic acid, Vitamin E, and more.

One concern many people may have is that milk that is marketed as organic on grocery shelves may not truly be organic — with the rise in popularity of organic products, fraudulent products have also arisen. For the most peace of mind, choose milk from a small farm that you know and trust, if possible, or do a quick web search on the brand name to see if any negative incidents have occurred with the brand in the past.



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