PULLMAN, Wash.—Researchers at Washington State University found that organic milk contains higher concentrations of heart-healthy fatty acids than milk produced conventionally.
The university said the study is the first large-scale comparison of organic and conventional milk in the country. A team tested 378 samples from seven different regions over an 18-month period. Researchers found organic milk had more than twice the amount of omega-3 and omega-6 levels than conventional milk.
Lead study author Chuck Benbrook said the connection goes back to regulations requiring organic dairy farmers to graze their cattle for 125 days per year.
"Farmers understand that grass and forages are the healthiest feed for their cattle and that’s what they try to provide and the outcome of this shows up very clearly in the milk," he said.
The team also found that milk products can contain more of the omega-3 fatty acid than comparable recommended servings of fish.
"Conventional milk had about nine times more ALA than fish, while organic milk had 14 times more," said study co-author Donald R. Davis.
The study was published Dec. 9 in the online journal PLOS ONE.