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You are what your beef eats

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We’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat.” But in today’s food industry it’s no longer enough just to watch what you eat. You’ve got to go beyond “beef — it’s what’s for dinner” to “what did your beef have for dinner” to reap the biggest benefit from the top of the food chain.

That’s because scientists have real proof that organic varieties of meat and milk, harvested from animals never pumped full of growth hormones and antibiotics and raised on natural diets, can improve your health far and above their conventional counterparts.

When the organic food argument first began, there were doubters who questioned whether the additional cost of organic products amounted to any real health value. A large scale analysis of more than 260 papers has made it evident it does — in many new ways…

One of the most significant new benefits researchers are linking to the consumption of organic meat and milk is a powerful boost in essential omega-3 fatty acids. Meat and milk from grass-fed animals, they’ve learned, have 50 percent higher concentrations of omega-3s than that which is produced by commercial livestock operations.

“Omega-3s are linked to reductions in cardiovascular disease, improved neurological development and function, and better immune function,” Chris Seal, professor of food and human nutrition at Newcastle University, said.

As Seal pointed out, omega-3s are a hugely important part of your daily diet. But until these findings were released, the go-to advice for getting more of these essential fatty acids focused mainly on fish oil or high quality krill supplements. Unfortunately, both have their drawbacks with fish oil often being contaminated with antibiotics and pollutants, and krill proving problematic for those with shellfish allergies. But now there’s another option…

“Getting enough in our diet is difficult,” Seal said. “Our study suggests that switching to organic would go some way towards improving intakes of these important nutrients.”

But, the extra nutrient value of organic meat and milk doesn’t end with omega-3s. The new research reveals a few other exciting health benefits you can reap…

It turns out that organic animal products are simultaneously lower in myristic and palmitic acid — two saturated fats linked to heart disease.

Organic milk, meanwhile, contains much higher levels of fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin E. It also contains much higher concentrations of carotenoids, powerful plant-derived antioxidants shown to protect against several types of cancer. Compared to the milk you’ll find in most dairy aisles, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) was also observed in 40 percent higher quantities in organic milk. CLA is an omega-6 fatty acid which has been shown to improve body composition and promote healthy weight loss.

If you’re like me, your last trip to a national “organic” grocery chain may have turned you off to the idea of buying organic. But after swearing off big organic, I found a great way to get healthy grass-fed meat, natural poultry and wholesome natural milk in my diet. The trick is pretty simple: Go straight to the source.

Do some online searches and make a few calls to local farmers and dairy producers in your area. Or visit the nearest farmers market and strike up a few conversations with vendors. You’ll find that there are plenty of folks producing natural food in your area, many of whom would be glad to invite you out to check out their farming operations before you decide to buy their products.

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