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Influence of Chia on Total Fat, Cholesterol, and Fatty Acid Profile of Holstein Cow’s Milk

Ricardo Ayerza (h) and Wayne Coates

Southwest Center for Natural Products Research and Commercialization,
Office of Arid Lands Studies, The University of Arizona,
250 E. Valencia Rd., Tucson, 85706 AZ, USA

A feeding trial was conducted with multiparous lactating Holstein cows to determine the effect that feeding chia (Salvia hispanica L.), an emerging oilseed crop which is rich in omega-3 alpha-linolenic fatty acid, would have on milk. Total fat, cholesterol and fatty acid profile were compared between two groups of cows fed a chia supplement, and a control supplement, over a period of 94 days. Milk production was not significantly different (P<0.05) between the two groups of cows. Cholesterol and total fat content were numerically lower in the milk obtained from the cows fed the chia diet, however no significant differences (P<0.05) were detected. Oleic, linoleic (omega-6) and linolenic (omega-3) fatty acids were significantly higher with the chia diet, than with the control diet, as was total polyunsaturated fatty acid content. No significant differences in saturated fatty acids were detected between treatments. Significantly (P<0.05) lower SFA:PUFA and SFA:omega-3 ratios in the milk were found as compared to those of the control diet. These improvements would make milk more acceptable to health conscious consumers, and could reverse the declining per capita consumption of milk that has occurred in recent years.

Key words: Linolenic, Omega-3, Milk, Chia

Abreviation key: PUFA = polyunsaturated fatty acids, SFA = saturated fatty acids.

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