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Grass-fed dairy is good for you: Try some Kerrygold for St. Patrick's Day

Kerrygold cheese and butter are made from milk from grass-fed cows.
Kerrygold cheese and butter are made from milk from grass-fed cows.

St. Patrick, widely recognized as the man who brought Christianity to Ireland -- and rid the country of snakes, according to legend -- has his feast day on March 17. In the fifth century, Patrick was captured and sold into slavery in Ireland as a young man; after he escaped, he returned to Ireland to minister to the people. Among Christians, Patrick is famous for using a shamrock to explain the mystery of the Trinity (one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) to the Irish people.

Once observed only by Christians -- and primarily those of Irish descent -- St. Patrick's Day has become a marketing opportunity for retailers across the United States. Grocery stores everywhere put up annual displays featuring Irish products, including tea, scone baking mixes, and Irish dairy products.

Perhaps the best known Irish dairy products are made by Kerrygold: butters and cheeses from grass-fed cows. It brings the Allentown Family Health Examiner great joy to remark that these grass-fed dairy products are healthful treats. Cows that eat grass, rather than grains such as corn and soy, are living the way ruminants are designed by nature to live. Besides being better for cattle, pasturing these animals yields a richer product that contains more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than grain-feeding (even when the grain is organically grown).

Most Americans' diets are imbalanced in many ways, one of which is consuming too many omega-6 fatty acids and too few omega-3 fatty acids. One way to remedy this imbalance is to choose more omega-3-containing foods, such as salmon and grass-fed dairy and beef products. Experts agree that "dietary supplementation with CLA can have a beneficial effect on ... inflammatory and oxidative stress." With products ranging from salted butter to gouda-style "Blarney Castle" to the classic "Dubliner," Kerrygold grass-fed dairy products are a healthful indulgence to enjoy this St. Patrick's Day.