Most of us have one in our life. You know, THAT guy (or gal) who likes to poke fun at us for “wasting our money” on organic, free range, wild caught and pastured products.
You know the one I’m talking about, right?
On good days, it’s easy to smile politely and brush him off. On bad ones, he sometimes manages to get under your skin and cause you to question your choices.
You start to wonder if eating these specially raised foods is REALLY a better choice. Or if you’re simply throwing away your hard earned cash.
I can assure you it is better, and worth the extra cost.
But if you’re anything like me, you’re going to need more than that. Besides, it would be great to finally stop your friend from ribbing you about it.
Don’t worry I’ve got you covered.
Following are just four examples of how these foods have proven their value.
1. Pastured milk proven better:
If you’ve been buying milk from grass-fed cows, keep it up. And if you were on the fence before, it’s time to make the switch.
A recent study by the University of Minnesota confirmed grass-fed dairy is healthier. The researchers found that cattle which dined on organic grass and legumes rather than factory-farm cattle chow had significantly higher levels of healthy fatty acids.
We’ve explained how important a healthy balance of omega-3s and omega-6s in your diet is before. You need both of these fatty acids. But the typical Western diet is far too high in inflammatory omega-6s which sends your risk for obesity, heart disease and diabetes skyrocketing.
And it turns out pastured milk had a nearly perfect one to one ratio of these necessary nutrients. But the conventional milk had an inflammatory 5.7 to one. The milk from the grass-fed cows had elevated levels of omega-3s and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), creating the far healthier balance.
- Grass-fed had 147 percent more omega-3s than conventional
- Pastured had 52 percent less omega-6s than conventional
- Grass-fed had 36 percent less omega-6s than organic
And the grass-fed milk had the most CLA by far, with more than twice as much as conventional and well over one and half times as much as organic.
2. Organic meats and dairy healthier:
The University of Minnesota dairy study isn’t the first time we’ve seen health benefits from avoiding conventionally raised livestock products, either.
Earlier studies have found that eating organic dairy and beef slashes omega-6 levels while raising omega-3 and CLA at the same time. In other words, exactly what we want to see.
A comprehensive review published in the British Journal of Nutrition crunched the data from 67 different t studies comparing organic and conventionally raised meat as well as 196 studies on organic dairy.
Organically raised meats easily beat the factory farmed products in omega-3 content, with 47 percent more. And organic milks had 46 percent more omega-3s than conventional dairy. Specifically they contained 58 percent more EPA and DHA which experts say Americans don’t get nearly enough of.
And, of course, omega-3s help slash disease linked inflammation, lowering your risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cognitive decline.
Organic dairy was also higher in vitamin E, iron, carotenoids and CLA.
And if your know it all friend asks why you can tell him it’s because organic cattle are allowed to munch on healthy grass.
3. Wild caught fish beat farmed:
Wild-caught salmon is fins and scales above its kissing cousin farmed salmon, for a number of reasons.
For example, a 2016 study published in the journal Nature: Scientific Reports found that farmed fish is woefully low in good fats. Compared to wild-caught the farmed fish had about 50 percent less omega-3s.
The reason? The cheapskate farming corporations switched from fish based feed to plant foods such as soybeans and corn. Meanwhile, in the wild, salmon snack on a variety of seafood including smaller fish, shrimp and plankton.
But that’s not the only difference between wild-caught and farmed fish. Experts say the levels of dioxins and other industrial pollutants tends to be far higher in farmed salmon. These creepy chemicals can mess with your immune system, wreak havoc with your hormones and even raise your risk for cancer.
In a study published in the journal Science researchers concluded, “Risk analysis indicates that consumption of farmed Atlantic salmon may pose health risks that detract from the beneficial effects of fish consumption.” In other words, skip the farmed and go for wild-caught instead.
Farmed fish are also pumped full of antibiotics to combat the diseases that tend to flourish in such close quarters. And since they don’t eat a natural diet, their flesh is an unappetizing gray. So the farmers feed them red dye, a synthesized version of the astaxanthin they would get in the wild, to make their flesh pink.
4. Organic produce produces more:
A huge meta-analysis of over 300 studies concluded that organically grown produce beats conventional farmed fruits and veggies hands down.
The study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, delved into the data on crops ranging from broccoli to carrots and apples to blueberries. And the organic produce consistently had higher levels of disease fighting antioxidants.
For example, the organic fruits and veggies had around 50 percent more flavonols and anthocyanins than the conventionally grown crops.
And the reasons why are fairly simple.
First poor farming practices have robbed the soil on conventional farms of much of their nutrients. Which means the foods grown in them are lower in those nutrients too.
And second, organic crops have to fend for themselves against pests and other threats the way plants do in nature. Which means they’re exposed to higher levels of stress, which triggers them to produce protective compounds. Those compounds also happen to be beneficial to us.
And then there’s the pesticide contamination to contend with whenever you choose to eat conventionally grown produce.
We’ve just scratched the surface here. But the bottom line is when you invest the extra cash in organic and other specially raised foods you’re investing in your own health. Don’t let your friend—or anyone else—convince you otherwise.