Monday, February 22, 2016

(Organic) Milk , It Does the Body Good

Could consuming organic milk and organic meat not only decrease the amount of pesticides you ingest but actually be healthier for your health?

It seems so!

A new review of close to 200 studies from Newcastle University in the UK  found that switching to “organic meat and milk would go some way towards increasing our intake of nutritionally important fatty acids.”

Before we go on, lets cover the basics:

What are fatty acids?

Fatty acids come from fat we eat that is broken down during digestion.  Fatty acids are called  “essential” fats because the body needs them for optimal health.  In fact, according to Daniela Toedtli Pagani, registered dietitian from Chicago IL,  fatty acids are  ‘essential’  “because our bodies cannot manufacture them and so, we must obtain them from food.”  

Why are fatty acids important? 

Daniela explains, “Studies show (an)  adequate intake of omega 3 fatty acids plays a role in reducing blood pressure, triglycerides,  reducing inflammation (associated with arthritis and asthma).”  

Fatty acids have also been shown to improved neurological development and function, including protecting against Alzheimers and age related brain decline and better immune functioning. 

They are especially important for childhood development since they “have  been shown to be vital for brain health (neurological development) and vision in children”.

What are the main sources of essential fatty acids?

Flax seeds, cold water fish (like salmon), algae and walnuts are all great sources of fatty acids, however the reality is that these foods are not in most people’s daily diet, especially young children’s.

Enter this new study and its findings….   

Essentially, Newcastle scientist have found a way to incorporate these healthy fatty acids, while eating foods most people, especially children, already eat/drink on a daily basis:   milk products and meat.  

They found that half a litre (or 16.9 fl oz or about 2 cups) 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).

Organic milk also was found to have ” higher levels of vitamins such as vitamin E and carotenoids and 40% more CLA in organic milk (CLA is a natural trans fat found in meat and dairy products, associated with weight loss. )

Why would organic milk and meat contain higher levels of these healthy fatty acids? 

  Newcastle University’s Professor Carlo Leifert,  lead author of the study explains that “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.”  (in contrast most conventional milk and beef come from cows subsisting on grain)

Choosing organic whole milk and organic meat could actually better for your health than non organic options.

Ideally, in order to get all the essential fatty acids your body needs, make sure your diet is rich in both organic milk as well as other healthy sources of essential fatty acids like walnuts and seafood.

A note about iodine and milk
Interestingly, the study did find that conventional (non organic) milk does have  74% more iodine than organic milk.   

Many people think that low iodine is a good thing, however the human body needs iodine to make thyroid hormone. This is especially important during pregnancy, infancy, and childhood, since the thyroid hormone is essential for the brain and nervous system to develop normally.  Most people’s diet is actually really low in iodine (indeed, many table salts do not contain iodine).

 If you are on a pure organic diet, make sure your salt has iodine or make sure you are taking a supplement.

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