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How to choose the right milk for your family

Ron Marks, owner of Atlanta Fresh Artisan Creamery, explains the difference between milk produced by grass-fed cows versus grain-fed cows.

“Over 90 percent of the cows that produce milk in the United States are grain fed,” Marks says. “Most of those cows are living lives of quiet desperation in 4-by-12 milking parlor stalls. Organic standards call for cows to be out in pasture at least 40 percent of the time. So it really is much more of an improvement in the natural order of things.”

Because grass-fed cows are allowed to graze, their milk contains a higher quantity of healthy fats.

“Grass-fed cow milk is full of omega-3s versus the omega-6s you find in grain-fed cow milk,” Marks explains.  “It’s also loaded with beta carotene and vitamin E.”

Omega-3s are essential nutrients that help reduce inflammation and lower your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.  Beta carotene and vitamin E are antioxidants that can help lower the risk of cancer and heart disease.

“True grass-fed cow milk will not be white,” Marks says. “It will be green-to-yellowish in color. And that’s from all the beta carotene and the grass that’s in their diet.”

Marks says it is important to consider the source when choosing the right milk for your family.  

“We hope that when you go down the dairy aisle and see all of your choices that you make a responsible decision based on where your local milk is coming from, what has the best nutrition and what’s supporting your local farmers,” Marks says.

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