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Soybean, linseed oils in cows' diet improve milk quality, researchers affirm

Publicado em 07 maio 2021

Brasilia [Brazil], May 8 (ANI): Brazilian researchers show that the inclusion of soybean and linseed oils in the diet of dairy cows made the fatty acid content of their milk even healthier for human nutrition. It also increased the proportions of omega-6 and omega-3, which in the right balance play a key role in preventing cardiovascular diseases.

Cardiovascular diseases are one of the world's main public health problems. In Brazil, they are among the foremost causes of death. Each year some 300,000 Brazilians have heart attacks, dying in 30 per cent of cases, according to the Health Ministry.

Research led by Arlindo Saran Netto, a professor at the University of Sao Paulo's School of Animal Science and Food Engineering (FZEA-USP) in Pirassununga, Sao Paulo state, shows that consumption of these oils by dairy cows reduced the level of saturated fatty acids in their milk and increased the level of unsaturated fatty acids, which help reduce LDL, known as "bad cholesterol".

An article published in the journal PLOS ONE, reports the results of the research, which was supported by FAPESP (FUNDACAO DE AMPARO A PESQUISA DO ESTADO DE SAO PAULO research foundation). The study was one of a series led by Saran Netto for more than five years with the aim of improving food quality and developing novel types of milk and meat.

"The quality of the milk available on the market is good. In our research, we aim to create more opportunities to make sure milk benefits human health in novel ways. Many consumers want to go on a specific diet," Saran Netto told Agencia FAPESP.

The study showed that supplementing the cows' feed with these two oils resulted in an omega-6/omega-3 ratio of 2.7:1 in their milk. Given the opposing effects of the two fatty acids, a healthy diet should be properly balanced.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends between 5:1 and 10:1, but 50:1 could result from a diet consisting mostly of ultra-processed food with little fish and vegetables, causing an imbalance and heightening the risk of heart disease and cancer.