The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
I bought a half-gallon of very fancy organic milk from Whole Foods the other day—the kind from cows that feed only on grass and that's capped with a thick layer of cream. It cost nearly $6, which gave me a fair bit of sticker shock, but such milk really does taste a whole lot better. The milk was joined in my grocery cart by a grass-fed skirt steak, also organic, which cost around $15 a pound. Choosing to spend the extra money on such foods is largely a matter of taste and environmental sustainability for me. But it turns out that my purchases could be healthier than your dairy or meat product wrested from a conventionally raised cow, according to two new papers (on dairy and on meat) published by the British Journal of Nutrition.
The scientific papers find that organic meat and dairy have higher levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids—as much as 50 percent more. Additionally, organic meat was shown to contain slightly less of two saturated fats that have been tied to cardiovascular problems and organic milk was shown to have higher amounts of iodine, selenium, iron, certain carotenoids, vitamin E and conjugated linoleic acid—all healthy stuff. It's the latest scientific review to suggest that eating organic is healthier than a diet based on conventional foods.
Both grass-fed meat and milk have long been touted for their higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, but what's interesting about the new research—which involved reviewing 196 previously published studies on dairy and 67 on meat—is that it's not the organic designation, per se, that makes the difference.
“It's not something magical about organic," Charles M. Benbrook, a coauthor of the studies, told The New York Times. “It's about what the animals are being fed."
Namely, they're eating grass instead of grain and often doing so outside instead of cooped up in a barn. Grasses contain higher levels of omega-3s than feed corn and other grains and the fatty acids simply move up the food chain. Since 2010, the USDA has required cattle that produce either organic milk or beef to spend at least four months a year on pasture.
“For once, this is a pretty simple story," Benbrook said.
This article was reposted with permission from our media associate TakePart.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The Centers for Disease Control has emphasized that washing hands with soap and water is one of the most effective measures we can take in preventing the spread of COVID-19. However, millions of Americans in some of the most vulnerable communities face the prospect of having their water shut off during the lockdowns, according to The Guardian.
Aerial photos of the Sierra Nevada — the long mountain range stretching down the spine of California — showed rust-colored swathes following the state's record-breaking five-year drought that ended in 2016. The 100 million dead trees were one of the most visible examples of the ecological toll the drought had wrought.
Now, a few years later, we're starting to learn about how smaller, less noticeable species were affected.
Natthawat / Moment / Getty Images
Disinfectants and cleaners claiming to sanitize against the novel coronavirus have started to flood the market, raising concerns for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which threatened legal recourse against retailers selling unregistered products, according to The New York Times.
The global coronavirus pandemic has thrown our daily routine into disarray. Billions are housebound, social contact is off-limits and an invisible virus makes up look at the outside world with suspicion. No surprise, then, that sustainability and the climate movement aren't exactly a priority for many these days.
By Molly Matthews Multedo
Livestock farming contributes to global warming, so eating less meat can be better for the climate.