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More Omega-3 In Organic Milk And Meat, Study

Update Date: Feb 19, 2016 12:08 PM EST

In the past few years, there has been a rise in the consumption of "healthy" food, with Omega-3 fatty acids and "organic foods" ranking high on the list. Scientists show that organic meat and dairy possesses 50 percent more Omega-3 fatty acids than other items, reports UN News.

"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. But much less is known about the impact on nutritional quality, hence the need for this study. 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," said Carlo Leifert, a professor at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, and leader of a team of two dozen researchers.

Published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the study discovered many variations between organic and conventional products, after it surveyed 196 papers on milk and 67 on meat.

Hence, a half-liter (one U.S. pint) of organic, full-fat milk or the equivalent dairy product, could give 16 percent of the required daily dose of long chain Omega-3. On the other hand, the conventional milk could offer just 11 percent.

"Western European diets are recognized as being too low in these fatty acids, and the European Food Safety Authority recommends we should double our intake," said co-author Chris Seal, also from Newcastle University.

Omega-3 benefits are linked of course to reductions in cardiovascular disease, while there is enhanced neurological development and function, as well as higher immune functions. Studies suggest that shifting to organic food would help to enhance the intake of some such important nutrients.

"Nutritionists do not agree on many things, but they all say we should double our intake of omega-3," said Leifert, according to BT.com.

"We have shown without doubt there are composition differences between organic and conventional food. Taken together, these studies "suggest that a switch to organic fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy products would provide significantly higher amounts of dietary antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids," Leifert added, according to U.S. News.

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