Organic Food Can Boost Health; Milk and Meat Contain Higher Levels Of Nutrients And Omega-3 Acids Study Suggests

By Diane Ting, Parent Herald February 17, 08:06 am

Scientists found that organic milk and meat contain higher levels of nutrients that aid the heart, brain and immune system. The study claims that organic milk also contains more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than non-organic equivalents.

Organic foods are defined as products grown and produced without using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Organic livestock, on one hand, should have the animals be given outdoor access and organic feed.

Although the benefits of organic farming for animal welfare and the environment are clear, less is known about its impact on nutritional quality. "People choose organic milk and meat for three main reasons: improved animal welfare, the positive impacts of organic faming on the environment, and the perceived health benefits," according to Professor Carlo Leifert.

With this in mind, Leifert and his team conducted a landmark study suggesting that organic food can deliver real health benefits. The research, which was done by reviewing 196 studies on milk and 67 studies on meat, found clear differences between organic and non-organic milk and meat.

Organic alternatives contained an average of 50 percent more omega-3 fatty acids compared to non-organic products. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol according to Medical News Today.

Leifert said that a half-liter of organic full-fat milk would provide 16 percent of the recommended dietary intake of omega-3 acids compared to a non-organic milk of the same measure offering only 11 percent. Organic milk also contains 40 percent more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is known to promote weight loss and cancer fighting properties.

Organic milk also provides higher concentrations of iron, Vitamin E and carotenoids, which are naturally occurring pigment synthesized by plants. In addition, researchers found out that organic meat was lower in two saturated fats (myristic and palmitic acid) that are known to promote poor heart health.

Switching to organic food can be a good way to improve one's intake of important nutrients, according to Chris Seal, professor of food and human nutrition at Newcastle University. The comment comes after the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) suggestion of multiplying the intake of omega-3 acids by twice the typical amount.

"We can now say for certain that organic farming makes organic food different," according to Helen Browning, chief executive of the Soil Association. She also said that the research confirms that what you feed animals and how you treat them affects that quality of the food, as cited by Daily Mail

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