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A new analysis shows organic milk and meat have 50% more Omega-3 fatty acids than non-organic produce.
While the opinion is divided over whether organic foods are healthier than conventional options, a new study that analysed data on milk and meat has found clear differences between organic and conventional milk and meat.
In the largest study of its kind to date, an international team of experts led by Newcastle University, UK, reviewed 196 papers on milk and 67 papers on meat. The study analysed fatty acid composition and concentrations of certain essential minerals and antioxidants.
Key findings were in their fatty acid composition, and the concentrations of certain essential minerals and antioxidants.
Firstly, according to Chris Seal, Professor of Food and Human Nutrition at Newcastle University, both organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced products. Also, Omega-3s are linked to reductions in cardiovascular disease, improved neurological development and function, and better immune function.
Secondly, according to the analysis, organic meat had lower levels of myristic and palmitic acid. The long chain saturated fatty acids are known to raise LDL cholesterol levels and contribute to cardiovascular diseases.
Another interesting fact about the results of the research is that conventional milk had 74% more iodine. Accordingly, half a liter of milk would supply 53% of and 88% of the daily recommended intake from organic and conventional milk respectively.
The more desirable fat profiles in organic milk can be attributed to outdoor grazing and low concentrate feeding in dairy diets, as prescribed by organic farming standards, says the study. The information about iodine content is important as it can help to avoid excessive or inadequate intake, state the researchers.
The findings are published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
The same team previously worked on a global study of organically produced crops which found they had up to 60% higher levels of antioxidants than conventionally grown fruit and vegetables.
Study leader, Professor Carlo Leifert, declared that the research indicated that people could increase their omega-3 intake by choosing organic, or they could maintain their intake of the important fats but eat less meat if they switched.
Nutritionists do not agree on many things, but they all say we should double our intake of omega-3.
However, taken together, the studies underline that meat and milk suggest a switch to organic fruit and vegetables. It is now scientifically proven that meat and dairy products would provide significantly higher amounts of dietary antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.