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The benefits of pasture-raised dairy products: healthy, environmentally friendly and good for the animals.

The number of people who not only enjoy animal products to the full but also think of the animals themselves at the same time is increasing significantly. Thus, there are more and more vegetarians in Germany and also vegans who have committed themselves purely to a plant-based diet. In addition to love of animals, there is another good reason for buying pasture-raised dairy products: according to scientific findings, pasture-raised milk from cows that graze happily on pastures is healthier.

Quality of cow’s milk: depending on animal nutrition

Dairy products from pasture-raised cows Advantages at a glance

It is mainly the animals’ nutrition that has a great influence on high quality cow’s milk. The two decisive factors are fresh grass in summer and hay in winter. According to scientists, milk from cows fed in this way contains more than twice the amount of omega-3 fatty acids than from animals fed only corn as well as concentrated feed in the barn.

Dairy products from pasture are healthy for people and animals

If the milk comes from cows raised on pasture in summer and fed hay in winter, it is one of the top products. It is extremely popular with health-conscious people. In Austria, for example, the animals live on free-range pastures from around April to October. To achieve the high quality standards of the corresponding milk, the pastures have a wide variety of lush grasses and herbs.

The irreplaceable basis for hay production is permanent grassland. It has a strong filtering effect, which guarantees the protection of our groundwater. In addition, a significantly greater plant biodiversity is found in the meadows, and the soil is also sustainably secured for the future. Kerrygold dairy products come from Ireland, whose mild, rainy Gulf Stream climate ensures particularly lush pasture grass. This allows the cows to graze outside almost all year round, which gives Kerrygold butter and cheese, among others, their special quality.

Study on fatty acid composition of known dairy products from pasture-raised and conventional farms.

Cheese and nuts and honey for breakfast

Although there are also more and more farms in Germany that rely primarily on grass and hay for dairy animals, dairy products do not indicate how high the proportion of health-significant fatty acids is. A study at the University of Kassel, financially supported by Greenpeace, was the first to get to the bottom of this problem. The fatty acid composition of 15 fresh milk products from various dairies was examined. The focus was on both organic and conventional fresh milk sold throughout Germany.

It came from many different regions, and the study leaders also selected dairy products in particular that were advertised as being natural and regional. By using a special analysis method, it was possible to simultaneously determine the amount of corn in the total feed. The study results showed large differences in the omega-3 fatty acid content. The products were divided into three groups:

  • Milk from organic sources: more than 1 gram omega-3 FS/100 grams fat.
  • Milk from Irish pasture-fed cattle (such as Kerrygold’s products): more than 0.9 grams 3-FS/100 grams fat
  • conventional milk from southern Germany: between 0.8 and 1 gram Omega-3-FS/100 gram fat
  • Conventional milk with low contents

Similarly, organic products performed best in a study of the omega-3 content of 21 well-known yogurt as well as butter products.

Importance of omega-3 fatty acids for our body

Is organic milk really better to drink

Omega-3 fatty acids play a major role in human metabolism. Studies have also shown that omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system.

Products high in omega-3 fatty acids, made from milk from cows raised on pasture, are also associated with many other benefits for our health. It has antihypertensive and vasoprotective effects, including arteriosclerosis. The anti-inflammatory effect can improve allergies. Omega-3 fatty acids are also believed to have a protective effect against various types of cancer.

Other nutrients of pasture-raised milk and dairy products

Dairy products from cows from pasture Cheese

Basically, milk and dairy products are among the highest-quality foods because they are subject to numerous controls and contain countless nutrients, including, in addition to omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins

An increasingly popular dairy product from Iceland is the strained yogurt called Skyr . It goes with a high wealth of probiotics and protein, as well as a low sugar content. Skyr can be used as an ingredient in pancakes and hummus, for example.

Pasture-raised dairy products and their positive impact on our climate

Why cheese and milk from pasture-raised cows are so healthy

Pasture-raised dairy products are not only beneficial for our health, but also for the quality of life of the cows. Furthermore, they contribute to the improvement of our climate. Experts justify this aspect as follows: “High-performance cows” are fed primarily on concentrated feed, which usually consists of corn and soybean meal. Often the soy comes from overseas, as Germany imports soybeans from abroad on a reliant basis. In many supplier countries, rainforest has to give way for their cultivation, and in addition the long transports represent a burden on our climate.

Pasture farming is still considered a sustainable opportunity to preserve our green spaces . This means that not only do pasture milk products such as those from Kerrygold become significantly tastier and more aromatic – in addition, therefore, pasture farming also has great significance in terms of climate policy, because pasture soils store enormous amounts of carbon. At the same time, they are valuable CO2 sinks. Meadows and pastures store about one third more carbon per hectare in their upper soil layers than arable soils. This also applies to deeper layers: 196 tons of carbon per hectare can be found there, which is higher than the average forest soil with 191 tons of carbon per hectare. For arable land, it is only 149 tons C/ha.