Conjugated Linoleic Acid, more commonly known as CLA, is an essential fatty acid that is most often found in meat and dairy products that come from ruminants. Conjugated linoleic acid is produced by the microorganisms that live in the stomachs of ruminants and it is passed on to the dairy and and meat products produced from those animals.
Health Benefits of CLA
Conjugated linoleic acid is thought to be beneficial in fighting against cancer as well as for use as a supplement for body builders. It has also been marketed as a beneficial supplement for people who are trying to lose weight. So far, there has been limited scientific research done to provide strong support for the heath claims, however, the research that has been done so far has been positive.
Sources of Conjugated Linoleic Acid
For those who want to add conjugated linoleic acid to their diet most pharmacies and health food stores offer CLA in a capsule form. This is an easy way to incorporate CLA into a diet. However, with the amount of vitamins and other medications that are already prescribed, Though there are some benefits but some people don’t want to add in another pill (Read this to find some best conjugated linoleic acid supplement manufacturers and product reviews). The good news is that there are natural food source of CLA that those people can eat to increase their intake of CLA. The following are great food sources for incorporating more CLA into your diet.
Beef and Lamb – because CLA is produced by the microorganisms in a ruminant’s stomach, meat from ruminant animals is an important source of conjugated linoleic acid. Beef and lamb are both ruminants, and adding these meats to your diet will increase your CLA intake.
Dairy products – butter and milk that comes from ruminants, like goats and cows, are another important source for CLA. These are foods that are easy to incorporate into the diet and can even be eaten by those who are vegetarian, although not by those who are vegan.
Eggs – while chickens and ducks are not ruminants, there has been research done showing that if egg-laying animals have CLA in their own diets, then CLA will also be found in the eggs that they lay. Even better is the fact that the CLA withstands the high temperatures that come with cooking the eggs. This is not as good of a source for CLA as meat and dairy products because there is the condition that the egg-laying animal actually have CLA in their diet, which may be difficult to confirm for the average shopper.
An Important Note
There is one fact that is really important to note when trying to incorporate CLA into your diet through natural food sources. What the animal is fed is incredibly important in determining the amount of CLA in the foods that are derived from them. When looking to eat meat and dairy products for the CLA benefits be sure to only choose products from animals that are on grass fed diets.
The research has shown that meat and dairy products from animals that are grass fed have approximately 500 times the amount of CLA in them then those from animals that are corn fed or on other diets. So when shopping for meat and diary products be sure that you are reading the labels and that you are choosing products that are coming from grass fed animals.