Science Says: Organic Meat Is Better for You

published Feb 18, 2016
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Considering how nebulous an “organic” label can be, structuring your grocery budget around the available options isn’t always easy. However, a recent study might provide some helpful direction. Using a statistical technique called meta-analysis, researchers in Europe found that organic meat and milk contain 50 percent more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally raised alternatives.

The higher levels of omega-3s present in the food have a lot to do with what the animals are fed. No, this doesn’t mean that the omega-3 levels of conventionally raised animals are depleted, but it does mean that organically raised animals end up with higher levels than their conventionally raised counterparts. “It’s not something magical about organic,” reported Charles M. Benbrook, an author of the study. If conventionally raised animals were left to graze as a major part of their diet, they too would have higher levels of the heart-healthy fats.

But the fact of the matter is that they don’t.

One of the particularly interesting things about these findings is that they make increasing omega-3 intake for fish-averse eaters easier and more approachable. It even combats one big criticism of urging people to eat more fish, which — if everyone were to listen — would leave oceans and rivers dry.

What do you think about the findings? Does this encourage you to eat more organic meat and dairy, or are you not feeling completely sold on organic?