Big points for organic milk: According to a new study from Washington State University, whole milk from organic dairies contain a better ratio of the fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6, which are great for heart health. (No word on whether organic cookies are healthier, too. Yet.)
“Never before had there been a study like ours, which was nationwide and also went on for 18 months,” said Donald R. Davis, study author and WSU research associate.
The study, published in the journal PLOS One, determined that conventional milk contains an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 5.8, and organic milk has a ratio of 2.3. The lower the ratio, the better for your overall health. Researchers tested almost 400 samples of organic and conventional milk all around the country to come up with these findings.
According to the New York Times, nutrition experts that omega-3 acids offer a number of different health benefits, but some experts disagree about whether or not omega-6 consumption should be reduced. In the olden days, people used to have about the same intake of both fatty acids — but today, the majority of Americans eat over 10 times more omega-6 than omega-3. This is most likely a result of all the fried food and vegetable oils that people eat, considering that's where omega-6 is usually found.
Charles M. Benbrook, a research professor at Washington State University’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, told the New York Times that even though omega-6 is essential, some studies say that the wide disparity is linked to many illnesses. An increase in consuming organic milk from the suggested three servings a day to 4.5 would, in turn, help lower the ratio and improve health across the board.
"All milk is healthy and good for people,” said Dr. Benbrook. “But organic milk is better, because it has a more favorable balance of these fatty acids."
But maintaining an organic lifestyle is expensive — even though it's important to get a healthy diet, and adding organic milk to the grocery list would be a good way to do that. Last week, Bustle reported:
According to new research, families who have healthier diets end up spending $2,000 more every year than those who don’t opt for nutritious meals. Specifically, diets that mainly consist of fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts reportedly raise food costs by about $550 a year for only one person.
These prices and food costs unfortunately keep a lot of families from staying healthy. “We have to make sure everybody has the possibility of buying a healthy diet [that] is reasonably priced and we haven’t done that now,” said Valerie Tarasuk, a professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto.