Is Organic Milk Healthier? Organic Milk vs. Regular Milk

Medically Reviewed on 8/25/2022
Is Organic Milk Healthier
Organic milk has a slightly higher concentration of nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid

Organic milk has been in high demand as a nutritious and safe alternative to other types of milk on the market. 

According to emerging evidence, organic milk has a slightly higher concentration of nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid. 

However, it is unclear whether these differences in nutritional composition are significant in terms of health benefits.

What is organic milk?

Organic milk refers to milk products derived from livestock raised using organic farming or sustainable farming methods. For example, some organic milk products come from cows grown in a natural environment and fed only natural grasses. 

Technically, organic milk must meet three basic requirements in order to be labeled organically sourced—no use of:

  • Artificial chemical substances (pesticides, chemical fertilizers, preservatives, colorants, artificial sweeteners, MSG, etc.)
  • Growth hormones
  • Antibiotics and GMOs

Although organic milk has all of the benefits of regular milk, it has some added advantages.

6 potential benefits of organic milk

1. More omega-3 fatty acids

Organic milk has a higher concentration of omega-3 fatty acids—about 71% more than regular milk. This is likely due to the fact that organic cows are fed more red clover, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are required for proper growth, and a lack of omega-3 has been linked to an increased risk of several health problems, including heart disease, arthritis, and cancer.

2. Omega-3 to omega-6 ratio

Organic milk has a better omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio. Although omega-6 fatty acid is necessary for growth, too much of it can be damaging. Organic milk has a good balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

3. Source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)

Organic milk contains 500% more CLA than conventional milk. CLA is necessary for muscle development, increased metabolic rate, and disease resistance. CLA has also been shown in recent research to be effective in the treatment of cancer. Because the human body cannot produce CLA on its own, the majority of your consumption comes from milk or milk derivatives.

4. More antioxidants

Organic milk contains more antioxidants than regular milk, such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin both help prevent a variety of eye diseases, including cataracts, UV damage, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.

Organic milk also contains more vitamins E and A. Vitamin E protects your body from free radicals which can cause damage to your cells and increase the risk of accelerated aging and disease. Vitamin A helps with infection resistance, bone growth, and tooth formation.

5. Higher in nutrients

Aside from the well-known nutrients of calcium and vitamin D, organic milk is very high in DHA, protein, vitamins B2 and B12, and several minerals

6. Good for the environment

Organic farming promotes biodiversity and sustainability by incorporating land-care methods.

In organic farming, only particular fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides are used, the majority of which are non-synthetic. It also encourages the use of methods such as composting, crop rotation, and cover crops. Crop or pasture rotation minimizes soil erosion and nitrous oxide emissions. Additionally, crop diversification improves soil quality.

Animal welfare is also important to organic and grass-fed agricultural methods. Grass-fed accreditation for a farm assures that the diet for milking cows is well controlled. On grass-fed farms, milking cows are fed 95% grass-based feed.  


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How long does organic milk last?

Organic milk lasts longer due to the ultrahigh temperature (UHT) treatment method, which is a method of preserving milk that involves heating the milk to 280 F for 2-4 seconds. 

This gives it a shelf life of 40-60 days after opening, compared to 15-17 days for regular milk pasteurized at a lower temperature. UHT milk does not need to be refrigerated and can potentially be stored on the shelf for up to 6 months.

Organic milk that has been UHT-treated also tastes sweeter because UHT burns some of the natural sugars in the milk through a process called caramelization.

Is organic milk worth it?

Organic milk is more expensive than regular milk. Moreover, although organic milk is considered somewhat healthier, the marginal increase in benefits may be negligible if you are on a budget. 

Regular milk still contains plenty of nutrients.

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Medically Reviewed on 8/25/2022
Image Source: iStock image

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