Raw milk has a lot of controversy surrounding it. Some believe it is a nutrient-dense superfood, others a life-threatening beverage for hippies. Whether or not you chose to drink raw milk is a personal decision however, please be informed before you do so that you can make a wise decision.
What is Raw Milk Exactly?
Raw milk is literally the way the milk comes out of the cow. It has not been pasteurized (heated to kill pathogens) or homogenized (processed to suspend fat globules) in any way, shape, or form.
Is it Safe to Drink Raw Milk?
Raw milk that has been produced under sanitary conditions is a safe and healthy food. BUT, It is important that the cows are healthy (free of hormones and anti-biotics) and do not have any infections. They should be eating mostly grass, hay or silage, with only a small amount of grain, if any. The milk should be full-fat milk, as many important anti-microbial and health-supporting components are in the fat. And finally, once the cows are milked under sanitary conditions, the milk must be chilled down immediately.
What Exactly Makes Raw Milk Safe?
Raw milk contains many innate components that kill pathogens and strengthen the immune system such as; antimicrobials (e.g T-lymphocytes, immunoglobulins and antibodies), special fats (MCT’s), enzymes, B12-binding protein & beneficial bacteria – to name a few. These components are largely inactivated by the heat of pasteurization. So powerful is the anti-microbial system in raw milk that when large quantities of pathogens are added to raw milk, their numbers diminish over time and eventually disappear!
Are there any health benefits to consuming real unpasteurized milk?
There are many health benefits to consuming unpasteurized milk! Raw milk is a nutrient-dense food packed with live enzymes, probiotics, minerals, and vitamins. Grass-fed healthy cows produce milk high in calcium, vitamins A, D and K2, B-vitamins, vitamin C, CLA, omega-3 fatty acids and betacarotene.
Early studies showed that children consuming unpasteurized milk had greater resistance to disease, better growth and stronger teeth than children consuming pasteurized milk. Animal studies indicate that raw milk confers better bone structure, better organ development, better nutrient assimilation, better fertility and even better behaviour than pasteurized milk. Raw milk consumption has even been linked to the alleviation of the symptoms of asthma and allergies. Furthermore it provides beneficial effects for health issues such as osteoporosis, arthritis, digestive disorders, fatigue, weight loss and even cancer.
What About Lactose Intolerance?
Many people experience digestive and other problems when they consume pasteurized milk, but have no trouble with unpasteurized milk. The Weston A. Price Foundation conducted an informal survey of over 700 families, and determined that over eighty percent of those diagnosed with lactose intolerance no longer suffer from symptoms after switching to unpasteurized milk.
Its Up to You
Yes, there is a risk involved when drinking unpasteurized milk but it is small… about 1 in 6 million. This refers tothe chance of developing a serious illness from drinking raw milk that requires hospitalisation.
Consuming raw milk has several positive benefits that, for many people, may outweigh the possible risks. Always consider both the positive and negative aspects before making a decision for you and your family.