Foods That Contain CLA
Conjugated Linoleic Acid is a natural and an essential fatty acid which has a long list of health benefits. Though it is 100 % natural and beneficial for our body, that does not mean our body produces it. It comes from a variety of food sources and we are lucky to have an abundance of natural foods that contain CLA but they are not the only source as numerous supplements also contain CLA, but here we focus on the foods that contain CLA.
Which Foods Contain CLA?
Nature is generous enough to provide a long list of foods that are source stream of CLA, following is the list of foods that contain CLA.
Milk has an excessive quantity of CLA, especially if milked from grass bred cows. According to a report published in 2004, grass fed cows contains more concentration of CLA than the cows fed on the grain because there is a natural chemical found in grass that stimulates the production of CLA in the cow’s body. Remember CLA is found in the fat portion of the milk, so skimmed milk, low fat milk and no-fat milk will have a very small amount of CLA. On average a cow’s milk has 5.5 mg of CLA per one gram fat.
Cheese obtained from grass fed dairy animals contains a small concentration of CLA. A study done by Rowett Research Institute Aberdeen suggested that the animals fed on grass contain nearly 500 % of CLA than the animals fed on processed food and grains. Hence the dairy items obtained from these grass fed animals have higher concentrations of CLA. 3.5 kg of cheese per day will be enough to reach the desired level of CLA needed per day (3.5 kg only if you consume cheese for CLA and use no other food, supplement and pills etc).
Milk, being a primary source for producing butter, contains amount of CLA so butter automatically has concentration of CLA. Same is the case here, milk from grass bred animals has high level of CLA so the butter produced by the same milk will have better percentage in contrast to low fat butter and no-fat versions of butter.
Next food item from the dairy category is Beef. Beef is the biggest sources of CLA but the amount of CLA found in the beef depends upon the type of food the animals are raised by. According to a study published in “Journal of Animal Sciences” (1999), the grass fed cows have a high level of CLA as compared to the cows raised on corn. The reason behind this increased quantity is the presence of omega-3 fatty acids found in grass that is absent in corn and grain. A single gram of meat contains 4.3 milligrams of Conjugated linoleic acid.
Meat (Turkey, Lamb):
Apart from beef, dairy animals such as lambs and turkey are another major natural source of CLA. The dairy animals raised by grass have 300 % more amount of fatty acids than the ones fed by grain. The choice of animals for CLA intake largely depends upon the type of food the animals are fed.
Kangaroo meat has a high concentration of protein and a low concentration of fat, but has a very high concentration of CLA as compared to cattle. Back in 2004, Clare Engleke researched on bush kangaroo and found that it contains 5 times more CLA than the lambs.
Meat and dairy product are by far the biggest source of CLA but there are few types of mushrooms that contain the fatty acid. If you follow a strict diet plan or use vegan foods then button mushrooms are the best source to get the best of CLA.
Eggs laid by grass fed chicken are another major source of CLA. The fatty acid is found in the egg yolk. The best part of egg is that even after you fry, there is no effect on CLA. A regular intake of egg yolk is a good option to consume CLA. A moderate size egg yolk has 0.7 grams of CLA.
Apart from the dairy sources, plants have a major contribution in supplying CLA. Certain oils are a very good source of CLA.
When it comes to oils, the biggest source of CLA is safflower oil. The safflower oil contains a surprising 65 % of CLA, more than any other oil.
Sunflower oil is basically a vegetable oil, and vegetable oils don’t usually have large amount of CLA present in them.
Corn oil contains a small amount of CLA, the natural corn oil contains 2 % of CLA.
Other sources of Conjugated Linoleic Acid are
· Flaxseed Oil
· Poppy Seed Oil
· Linseed Oil
· Soy Oil
· Cottonseed Oil
· Wheat germ Oil
· Walnut Oil
· Hemp Oil
· Soybean Oil (not practically recommended anymore)
Some Unheard Facts about CLA:
CLA and Cooking:
Quite to every one’s surprise, CLA is highly stable when cooked. It is not affected by cooking and heating, according to a book titled Cancer Chemoprevention the cooking may result in increased concentration of CLA.
CLA and Caffeine:
CLA and caffeine enjoy a unique compatibility relation, why? Because caffeine excites and accelerates the usefulness and efficiency of CLA, which is really helpful in weight loss practice.
Natural Sources vs. CLA Supplements:
Although people prefer natural sources to consume CLA but many people recommend food supplements to meet the daily requirement of CLA. The reason behind this difference of choice is the amount of other fats present in natural sources (cheese, beef, milk, meat) that can result in weight gain. Although this opinion is a bit valid but only if the natural sources are used excessively. Following a proper diet plan proposed by physician will never result in weight gain even if you consume CLA by natural sources. Most people would blindly go for natural sources but athletes and body builders always prefer CLA food supplements to meet their requirements.
No matter what source you choose, CLA will always be beneficial. Do you have anything to add to foods that contain CLA? Comment below!