Why Organic Milk Is Good For Your Preschooler

Milk is considered an essential part of a child’s diet. However, regular milk may contain additives that can cause health problems. So, why not switch to organic milk?

By Priya Kathpal

Why Organic Milk Is Good For Your Preschooler

In most households in India, it is a tradition for children to start their day with a glass of milk. In fact, milk is almost synonymous with growing up; it is also an essential part of a child's diet, as it provides vital nutrients to the body.             

Animal milk is often referred to as a complete food, because it contains proteins, high levels of calcium, vitamin B12, riboflavin and phosphorous.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), children should consume milk and milk products daily as they provide vital nutrients for growth and development; more so, when babies are totally weaned off breast milk or formula. 

But, in recent times, the source of milk, its quality and certain issues like adulteration have made people apprehensive. In fact, parents these days worry about the safety of conventional milk and look for alternatives for their little ones.

Is regular milk unsafe? 

“Every other day, we come across news reports on adulterated milk and how cows are injected with antibiotics to improve their yield. For a parent, that’s a nightmare. I was always worried about the safety of regular milk. So, when I found a store that sells packaged, certified organic cow’s milk, I decided to switch keeping my family’s health in mind,” says Bengaluru-based mom, Malini. 

A study on 'Detection of Adulteration in Milk Samples from Different Regions of Thuraiyur District in Tamil Nadu, India', published in the International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences in 2017, found that the tested milk was adulterated with neutralisers (usually added to pass off milk that is old or of poor quality, as fresh), sodium chloride and a few other adulterants.   

Earlier in 2011, the National Survey on Milk Adulteration conducted by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), revealed that almost 70 per cent of milk sold in urban areas contained water, urea, detergents, skimmed milk powder, etc. 

Therefore, if one is able to source organic or farm fresh milk and is 100 per cent sure about the quality of the milk, it is always a better option, compared to regular milk. 

Organic milk contains more omega-3 fatty acids

Apart from the concern about quality of milk, you may offer your child organic milk because of a few nutritional benefits.     

According to a study titled, 'Organic Production Enhances Milk Nutritional Quality by Shifting Fatty Acid Composition', done by researchers led by Charles M Benbrook of Washington State University, organic milk contains around 50 per cent more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventional milk. 

The researchers did a review of around 196 papers from across the world on milk and they found differences between organic and conventional milk both in the composition of fatty acid and the presence of some essential minerals. These findings were published in the British Journal of Nutrition. 

Why consider organic or farm fresh milk?

There are several reasons to choose organic or farm fresh milk for your child:

  • High amounts of omega-3 fatty acids including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)  promote positive brain and eye health. 
  • Omega-3 helps reduce symptoms of attention deficits in children and aids the treatment of autoimmune disorders. An abundant intake of omega-3 during the first year of one's life has been linked to reduced risk of several autoimmune diseases that includes type 1 diabetes and asthma in children.
  • High antioxidants present in organic and farm fresh milk boost the immune system, which helps fight illnesses and reduces the risk of lifestyle diseases in adulthood. This helps prevent and slow down cell damage by free radicals.
  • Since organic or farm fresh milk is loaded with healthy bacteria, it reduces the symptoms of eczema and improves the health of the digestive system.  

.How much milk should a preschooler have?

A preschooler should have about 400ml of milk per day (this includes any milk product as well). Anything more than this could hinder the absorption of other nutrients from various sources like grains, pulses, vegetables or fruits.

Milk is loaded with nutrients and should comprise a part of the daily diet of children. However, care should be taken to ensure the source and quality are not compromised. Switching over to organic milk may be beneficial not only for the health of your child but also for your family.

The author is a nutritionist and founder at Nutrify. 

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