What Are the Benefits of Organic Milk?

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Milk has important vitamins and minerals that promote good health. Milk is well-known as a rich source of calcium, magnesium, protein and phosphorous, among others.

Milk is useful for maintaining healthy teeth and bone. It’s also useful in the prevention of diseases like high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer, among others.

When it comes to consuming milk, you can choose regular milk or organic milk. What’s the difference between the two?

The Difference

Organic milk is obtained from cows which feed on food which did not rely on pesticides or chemical-based fertilizers. Secondly, the cows are not subjected to bovine growth hormones (BGH) to increase their milk production. Thirdly, no antibiotics are used to treat infections in cows. If there’s a need to do so, they’ll be sent back to the herd for a year to ensure that the antibiotics are expelled from their systems.

Also, there’s the grazing time factor. Cows are given access to pasture. This means come June 2011 USDA will be making it a requirement that cows must get 30 percent of their food intake from pasture and they must graze for at least 120 days a year.

Organic Milk Shelf Life

The first benefit of organic milk is that it has a longer shelf life. This is actually a commercial necessity because organic milk takes longer to reach the shelves of retailers in outlying areas as the milk is not produced nationwide.

To extend the shelf life of organic milk, the ultrahigh temperature treatment (UHT) is used. This is a process whereby milk is subjected to heat at 280 degrees Fahrenheit (138 degrees Celsius) from two to four seconds to eliminate any bacteria in it.

Pasteurization whereby milk is heated to a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius) for a minimum of 15 seconds doesn’t remove all the bacteria in the milk. Pasteurized milk has a shelf life of up to two weeks. Milk with UHT treatment can have a shelf life of up to six months.

So why isn’t UHT treatment not given to regular milk? It’s because the treatment makes the milk sweeter, which is not to everyone’s taste. Also UHT treatment lowers some of the milk’s vitamin content, affecting some of the milk’s proteins as well.

Additional Benefits

An article, How to be a Budget Organic by Cynthia Cass, MPH, RD, in the Prevention magazine of September 2008, reveals that organic milk contains 75 percent more beta-carotene than regular milk. It has also 50 percent more vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that boosts the immune system and keeps at bay cancer and heart disease.

Further, it contributes up to three times more lutein and zeaxanthin (antioxidants) and 70 percent more omega-3 fatty acids. Organic milk was also found to contain more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has been found to be helpful in lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes and building a stronger immune system.

If you swear by the health benefits of milk, then the benefits of organic milk should convince you to convert.


The Dairy Council: https://www.milk.co.uk/page.aspx?intPageID=73 – The Dairy Council -health benefits of milk

Scientific American: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=experts-organic-milk-lasts-longer – organic milk shelf life

Prevention Magazine September 2008 – information on additional benefits of organic milk.