In an ideal world, organic would just always mean healthier.
Often it does. Like in the case of many different kinds of produce, like apples and peppers, which are free of harmful pesticides. Or in the case of organic beef, which has no dangerous hormones or antibiotics.
But these days, it’s also used to trick health conscious consumers into buying things that are really no better than the original. Organic cane sugar is still just sugar, and has all the same health drawbacks.
Which brings us to the case of organic milk.
Is Organic Milk Worse For Your Health?
People avoid drinking regular cow’s milk for a variety of reasons. First of all, it tends to be full of growth hormones, antibiotics, and other chemicals. And secondly, it’s not actually clear that our bodies are able to absorb much of the calcium or other nutrients that it claims to contain anyway.
So people have turned to organic milk instead. Free of the additives, people thought they were doing a good thing for their health.
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The problem is, there are also fewer nutrients added. In particular, a study of organic milk in the UK found that organic milk had 33% less iodine.
Why Should You Care About Iodine?
Iodine is actually an essential nutrient that your body needs to function properly. Women who are pregnant need an abundance of iodine for the development of their baby’s brain, especially in the early stages of their pregnancy.
That means that women who switch to organic milk thinking it will be healthier, might actually be putting their baby’s development at risk. Research suggests that women with an iodine deficiency typically give birth to children with lower IQs.
Should You Switch Back?
Probably not. Ultimately organic milk is still the far healthier option. It even contains more omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E than the non-organic variety.
What is important is that you make sure to get enough iodine from other sources, especially if you are in the early stages of pregnancy. It actually isn’t all that common in food, but here are a few other good sources:
Other dairy products – organic yogurt with a probiotic is a particularly good option, as is cheese, especially when made with goat’s milk.
Organic berries – cranberries and strawberries are two of the best sources.
Sea vegetables – most of the world’s iodine is found in the sea, so you should try adding kelp, or Kombu to your diet.
Talking to your doctor about taking an iodine supplement is also a good option.
While organic milk containing less iodine might seem pretty minor, it just goes to show that you have to be very careful these days to make sure that what you are eating and drinking is actually good for you. You should always be on the lookout for a sneaky marketer trying to sell a “healthy” version of the same old thing.
To read more about organic milk in the UK, check out The Telegraph.
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