Oilseed Supplements to the Diet of Cows Could Make Dairy Healthier

A study at the University of Reading has found that altering the diet of dairy cows has an effect on the amount of saturated fats in their milk.
Cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer in the UK, and it is currently recommended to reduce the amount of saturated fats in our diets to help to prevent this. Dairy products are one of the main ways saturated fats get into our diet, so reducing the amount of them in milk will go a long way to reducing cardiovascular disease.
The three year project involved two separate studies. In the first, 22 commercial dairy farms fed their cattle with feed that had been supplemented with three types of oilseed for a month. The saturated fat content of the milk the cows produced dropped by an average 5%, while monounsaturated fats were boosted by 9%.
Monounsaturated fats have been found to have links with lower blood cholesterol and lower insulin resistance, meaning it helps prevent both heart disease and the onset of type 2 diabetes, when used as a substitute for saturated fats.
Using a different supplement in a second study, the researchers found that they could cut saturated fats by almost 30%, but this had the side effect of boosting trans fats which greatly increase bad cholesterol.
If this system was implemented nationally, it could potentially see the production of dairy foods that are healthier, and make dieting and improving our health easier for all of us.

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