Thursday, July 7, 2022

Flaxseed produces nutritious milk

Research undertaken by Oregon State University shows dairy cows that are fed flaxseed produce more nutritious milk.

The study, led by Gerd Bobe, found the milk produced by cattle that were fed flaxseed contained more omega-3 fatty acids and less saturated fat.

In a health-conscious market these results could be lucrative because studies have shown omega-3 might reduce the risk of heart disease, while diets high in saturated fat can increase that risk.

Researchers attempted to pinpoint the amount of flaxseed that would maximise the amount of omega-3 in milk and dairy products without negatively affecting their production and texture.

“We were looking for a sweet spot. Too much of a good thing can be bad, especially when trying to maintain consistency with dairy products,” Bobe said.

The study found that feeding cows up to three kilograms of extruded flaxseed improved the fat profile without negatively affecting the production and texture of the milk.

The results showed that by feeding cattle three kilograms of flaxseed a day saturated fatty acids in whole milk fat dropped 18%, poly-unsaturated fatty acids increased 82%, and omega-3 levels rose 70% compared to feeding no flaxseed.

Bobe said although flaxseed cost more than traditional cattle feeds, he hoped it could still be an affordable feed supplement for cows because products enriched with omega-3 could sell for a premium at grocery stores.

“Many consumers already show a willingness to pay extra for value-added foods, like omega-3 enriched milk.”

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