Researchers from Newcastle University have published a study in the British Journal of Nutrition detailing their review of 196 previous studies on milk and 67 papers on meat to establish that the organic and conventional constituents of both milk and meat differ greatly – in terms of amount of fatty acid, antioxidants, and levels of certain minerals beneficial to the health.
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The researchers indicate from the new study that consuming more organic meat and milk will increase the amount of fatty acids and other essential minerals available to us.
Professor of Food and Human Nutrition at Newcastle University, Chris Seal, noted that “Omega-3s are linked to reductions in cardiovascular disease, improved neurological development and function, and better immune function,” and that western European diets are too low in Omega-3 fatty acids even though the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) calls for more of it to be consumed, even in double portions.
Professor Seal revealed that “getting enough in our diet is difficult. Our study suggests that switching to organic would go some way towards improving intakes of these important nutrients.”
The researchers analyzed lots of previous studies from around the world on the subject and came away with the understanding that organic meat and milk possess nutritionally acceptable amounts of fat levels than conventional meat and milk.
It must however be noted that turning to organic milk and meat will increase Omega-3 fat amount in the body but never the amount of calories and bad saturated fat. For example, half a litre of organic full fat milk (or equivalent fat intakes from other dairy products like butter and cheese) provides an estimated 16% (39 mg) of the recommended, daily intake of very long-chain omega-3, while conventional milk provides 11% (25 mg).
Several other benefits associated with changes in fat profiles are decrease in myristic and palmistic acid found in organic meat and reduced ratios of Omega-6 against Omega-3 in organic milk. Higher levels of fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin E and carotenoids and 40% more CLA in organic milk were also observed.
The authors of the study were also able to show that outdoor cattle grazing and feeding on low concentrate dairy diets complying with organic farming standards were linked to acceptable desirable fat profiles in organic milk.
Meanwhile, organic milk and dairy product and vegetable consumption have been found to lessen the chances of developing some diseases, including eczema in babies.
“People choose organic milk and meat for three main reasons: improved animal welfare, the positive impacts of organic farming on the environment, and the perceived health benefits,” said Professor Carlo Leifert of Newcastle University and leader of the studies. “But much less is known about impacts on nutritional quality, hence the need for this study.”
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But that is not all, Leifert noted that “Several of these differences stem from organic livestock production and are brought about by differences in production intensity, with outdoor-reared, grass-fed animals producing milk and meat that is consistently higher in desirable fatty acids such as the omega-3s, and lower in fatty acids that can promote heart disease and other chronic diseases.”