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organic milk
omega three fatty acids
national organic program
artificial fertilizers
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What Is Organic Milk?
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What Is Organic Milk?

When it comes to plants, organic means that they're not sprayed with pesticides or treated with artificial fertilizers. For animal products, though, organic standards are a little more complicated. In order to be label their products as organic, most farms must be inspected and found to comply with the regulations of the National Organic Program.

First of all, according to these standards, cows that produce organic dairy must be allowed to graze for the growing season of each year. The rest of their food must be grown organically, and may not include any animal flesh. Secondly, the cows may not be treated with any artificial hormones, antibiotics or other drugs.

This is an important rule because conventional dairy practices can be very unhealthy for cows, and animals may even be given antibiotics regularly as a preventative measure. These chemicals can easily be passed on to humans through their milk. However, treatment for sick cows may not be withheld to preserve their organic status, so cows at organic farms also tend to receive better natural and preventative health care so they won't get sick in the first place.

All milk is high in calcium, vitamin D and protein. It is so rich in nutrients that milk and other dairy products make up one of the four categories of the USRDA food pyramid. Organic milk has all the dietary benefits of conventional milk as well as a few others. It is higher in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy omega three fatty acids. Of course, it is also free of traces of harmful chemicals – most importantly RBGH which is controversial but has been linked by some scientists with increased rates of breast, prostate and other cancers in humans.

Organic milk is quickly becoming more popular, and is now available in most large grocery stores. You can get whole, 2%, 1%, skim and even chocolate organic milk, as well as many other types of organic dairy products. While organic dairy can be more expensive than conventional dairy, the relative health benefits are well worth the increase in price. If you are trying to eat more whole foods but cost is a concern, it may be possible to buy dairy products from a small local farm that uses organic practices but has not gone through the extensive certification process.

There are also other questions to consider on the topic of how to buy healthy milk, such as whether you prefer raw or pastuerized.


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