To Your Health: Is organic milk better for you?

MilkMore and more people are turning to organic milk.

But is shelling out more dough for organic milk worth it?

It might be.

A study out this week suggests that organic milk does have added benefits, though experts say more research is needed for a fuller picture.

Findings published in the journal PLOS One showed organic whole milk had substantially more heart-healthy fatty acids than conventional milk.

The study’s lead author, Charles M. Benbrook, a research professor at Washington State University, told the New York Times that drinking whole milk “will certainly lessen the risk factor for cardiovascular disease.”

“All milk is healthy and good for people,” he said, “but organic milk is better because it has a more favorable balance of these fatty acids.”

The fatty acids he’s referring to are omega-3s, which are also found in fish and flaxseed. The report concluded that organic whole milk actually offers more omega-3s than fish per recommended serving.

The benefits only apply to whole organic milk, though, not the reduced fat variety. And adding whole organic milk to your diet might mean you have to shave calories elsewhere.

The news comes as sales of organic milk are on the rise, though the organic variety still makes up a fraction of total milk sales.

As an aside, it’s important not to confuse organic milk with raw milk.

Organic milk is produced using organic dairy production practices: Feed must be organic, animals must not be overcrowded and must be given periodic access to the outdoors, and antibiotics and other medications can’t be used as routine preventative measures.

But organic milk is still pasteurized, which removes bacteria and extends shelf life.

Raw milk, which isn’t sold in your neighborhood grocer, is not pasteurized or homogenized. And many experts warn against drinking it because of the risk of food-borne illness.

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