Today we are back on the subject of omega 3 fatty acids. It turns out that cows fed a forage based diet (so mostly grass) produced milk with a better omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acid ratio than conventionally fed and organic fed cows.
First things first, why does the omega 3 to omega 6 ratio matter? It seems that many years ago we used to have a diet with a ratio of approx. 1:1 but since consuming a western diet the amount of omega 6 has increased a lot, some even say it is now 1:20. Apparently this can cause problems such as obesity and heart disease. (Previous Omega 3 blogs).
In a paper published in the journal Food Science and Nutrition, researchers compared the fatty acid profiles of milk produced by cows fed a nearly 100% forage diet to that of “cows under conventional or organic management”. They found that the grassfed milk had an omega 3 to omega 6 ratio value of 1 while conventionally managed cows had a ratio of 5.8 and organic managed cows a ratio of 2.3 (a value close to 1 means more omega 3 than 6 and therefore better).
They do state that they supplement the cows with some kelp powder which of course is high in omega 3 fatty acids so that might help with their ratio, but I don’t consider that a bad thing. It is also a good source of iodine which is something that can be missing from our diets if we don’t eat enough of the sea’s bounties.