Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for good health, playing an important role in maintaining heart health, combating the effects of arthritis and developing healthy brains in unborn children.
OMSCo, the UK Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative, is now calling on the Food Standards Agency to recognise the health benefits of organic milk. Sally Bagenal, Chief Executive of OMSCo, said, "Sir John Krebs has said in the past that there is no proof of the health benefits for organic food and drink, now it unequivocally exists. We are inviting the FSA to start recommending organic milk as part of a healthy diet."
The research, led by Dr Richard Dewhurst found that samples of milk from organic cows contained at least 64% more Omega 3 than conventional milk. Dr Dewhurst said; "Our previous research has shown that milk from cows fed clover can contain up to 240% more Omega-3 fatty acids than milk from cows fed grass and concentrates1. Organic dairy farmers feed much higher levels of clover because they use it as an alternative to using synthetic chemical fertilisers to ensure lush pastures."
Omega 3 fatty acids have to be obtained from food as they cannot be made in the body. Nutritionist and State Registered Dietitian, Sian Porter said; "Most people in the UK do not have an adequate intake of Omega 3 fatty acids and need to increase the amount of Omega 3 rich foods in the diet. The best source is oily fish, but research has shown that only a third of the population eats oily fish regularly. Drinking just half a pint a day of organic milk as part of a healthy balanced diet gives a useful additional source of this Omega 3 fatty acid, as it provides approximately 10% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of essential n-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid. Eating a matchbox sized piece of organic cheese will give you up to 88% of your RDI of this Omega 3 fatty acid."
Sally Bagenal added, "Evidence is accumulating that organic milk is more nutritious and safer than conventional. We know that organic food is less likely to contain pesticide and antibiotic residues. In 2000, research found organic milk contains higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)2 which helps boost your immune system, and now this research by IGER shows that organic milk is a better source of Omega 3 essential fatty acids than conventional milk."
1. Dewhurst R J, Fisher W J, Tweed J K S and Wilkins R J (2003). Comparison of grass and legume silages for milk production. 1. Production responses with different levels of concentrate. Journal of Dairy Science, vol. 86, pp. 2598-2611
2. Flachowsky G (2000) Content of Conjugated Linoleic Acid in Beef from Organically Raised Cattle. Ernahrungs-Umschau, vol. 47 p. 272
04 March 2004