Does pasture-raised turkey meat contain more omega-3 fatty acids?

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Does pasture-raised turkey meat contain more omega-3 fatty acids?

With ample time spent foraging in a pasture with natural and mixed vegetation, it is very likely that the omega-3 content of turkey meat can be increased and that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats can be improved. Several recent studies have examined the diets of turkeys (and chickens) who regularly spent time in pastures with leguminous plants like clovers and vetch. These pasture-based diets were found to increase the level of omega-3s in turkey meat and also to lower the ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s. While the overall ratio of omega-6:omega-3 in conventionally fed turkey meat averages approximately 10:1 or higher, this same ratio was lowered to approximately 7:1 as a result of pasture feeding. For reasons involving nutrient balance and nutrient interactions, we definitely prefer natural pasture feeding of turkeys as a way to improve their health and fat quality instead of supplementation of their diets with omega-3 containing oils (like linseed oil). However, it’s worth noting that several recent studies have also shown the ability of omega-3 containing, oil-supplemented diets to increase omega-3s in turkey meat and to lower omega-6:omega-3 ratios. These supplementation studies tell us that turkeys are indeed sensitive to their dietary intake with respect to omega-3s and that this sensitivity shows up in the composition of turkey meat.

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