Monday, January 3, 2011

Organic Milk - Worth the Price and Effort?

 Milk does a body good, but organic milk might do it better. In addition to coming from happier cows (they're given access to fresh air and pastures), organic milk and dairy products are defined as much by what isn't in them as what is. Here are the top three reasons to go organic.
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1. No bovine growth hormone - Organic dairy cows are not given recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). This hormone causes cows to increase milk production but may also pose a health threat to the animals and to humans. Dairy products from cows treated with rBGH show higher levels of IGF-1, which is a factor in the growth of breast, prostate, and colon cancers, according to the Center for Food Safety.

2. Free of harmful pesticide residue-  Organic dairy cows eat an all-organic diet, which minimizes their exposure to pesticides. Studies have associated repeated exposure to pesticides—which are fat-soluble and passed to humans through the fat in dairy products—with an increased risk for cancer.

3. Less risk of antibiotic resistance - Organic dairy cows are not treated with antibiotics. The antibiotics given regularly to most cows can be passed to humans through dairy products, and prolonged exposure can lead to resistance—meaning an antibiotic may not work during an actual illness.

 Organic milk is pricey. Is it worth the premium?

A: Yes. In fact, it's not surprising that dairy products are often the first foods shoppers buy when converting to organic. Frequently, parents find out about growth hormones in conventional dairy products — and they certainly don't want to expose their kids. Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH, also known as rBST) has been associated with an increase in certain cancers, such as prostate, breast, lung, and colon. Although there isn't clear-cut proof that rBGH causes cancer, substantial evidence links rBGH with increased IGF-1, a hormone associated with higher cancer rates, says Martin Donahoe, MD, a member of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. Organic dairy is free of these hormones.
You might also buy organic dairy products to avoid antibiotics — which conventional cows are given prophylactically — and concentrated servings of chemicals originating from a dairy cow's diet. As with organic beef cattle, organic dairy cows are not allowed to eat feed that has been grown with pesticides. Many toxins — such as pesticides — are lipophilic, or “fat-loving,” so they accumulate in the animals' fatty tissues and are then released into their milk. Toxins can then pass into any products made from that milk, including butter, cheese, and yogurt.

Q| Are there any nutritional differences between conventional and organic dairy?

A: Organic dairy and meats have higher concentrations of beneficial fats called conjugated linoleic acids (CLAs), according to Alan Greene, MD, author of Raising Baby Green (Jossey-Bass, 2007). These fats may reduce the risk of eczema and help boost overall immunity, among other health perks.

Thanks, Delicious Living