Raw milk is fresh, unprocessed and comes straight from the cow, sheep or goat. It has not been heat-treated or pasteurized.
You may have heard of the health benefits of drinking raw milk but you could also be concerned about the possible risks. Is raw milk really safe? Do the reported health benefits live up to the hype? Lets take a look at the pros and cons of drinking raw milk so that you can make the best decision for you and your family.
Raw milk has a higher nutritional content than pasteurized milk
The pasteurization process destroys beneficial enzymes and reduces vitamins and minerals. The resulting product can be difficult to digest for many people.
Studies have demonstrated that pasteurizing milk greatly reduces the vitamin B and vitamin C content. There is also a decrease in manganese, copper and iron after heat treatment.
Unpasteurized milk is significantly higher in these important vitamins and minerals.
Raw milk contains more healthy fats
Importantly, raw milk comes from cows that graze on fresh pastures, and grass-fed animals have been shown to have higher levels of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and essential fatty acids in their milk.
These healthy fats help to strengthen the immune system, increase muscle growth, prevent insulin resistance and boost your metabolism.
Raw milk has more beneficial bacteria and enzymes
Because raw milk is a living food, probiotics are found in small amounts. These beneficial bacteria can be greatly increased when you ferment raw milk to make kefir or yogurt. Research also shows that raw milk contains antimicrobial activity not found in pasteurized milk.
Enzymes found in raw milk, in particular the enzyme lactase needed to digest milk proteins, are greatly reduced or destroyed by pasteurization. People who are lactose intolerant often find that they can easily tolerate raw milk for this very reason, because the enzyme lactase is present in the milk and it helps to predigest the proteins.
Raw milk helps to reduce allergies in children
Naturally higher in antibodies and vitamins like vitamin D that work to boost the immune system, raw milk can help reduce allergies. The beneficial enzymes in raw milk that aid in digestion, coupled with this powerful immune boost has been shown to reduce allergies and asthma in children.
Overall raw milk has many superior health benefits to pasteurized milk—it is easier to digest, boosts the immune system, provides more vitamins and minerals and can help to reduce lactose intolerances and allergies.
Is Raw Milk Safe to Drink?
Unfortunately, raw milk has been portrayed in the media as dangerous and unsafe to drink. It is true that there is the risk of contracting foodborne illnesses caused by harmful bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. However, other foods can also be contaminated with these harmful bacteria, not just raw milk, so it is important to put the risk into context.
The risk of contracting a foodborne illness through drinking raw milk is very low.
People contract foodborne illnesses each year from eating eggs, shellfish, fruit, meat, poultry and fish. Outbreaks from dairy are in fact mild compared to other foods, as Dr Axe explains:
“The risk of this happening is very, very low. In fact, according to medical researcher Dr. Ted Beals, MD, you are 35,000 times more likely to get sick from other foods than you are from raw milk! (01) The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) reports that an estimated 48 million foodborne illnesses are diagnosed each year.Of these 48 million illnesses, only about 42 (about 0.0005 percent!) each year are due to consumption of fresh, unprocessed (raw) milk. (02)”
Know where your raw milk comes from
When buying raw milk it is important to find a reputable source and if possible visit the farm yourself and talk to the farmer. Some important points to consider:
- Is the milk tested regularly for pathogens?
- Are the cows grass-fed?
- Are the cows given antibiotics or growth hormones?
- Are the cows clean and well cared for?
- Are high standards of sanitation in place?
Consider the quality control and hygiene practices of the farm and store your raw milk in glass or food-grade stainless steel for maximum protection.
In the U.S. literally millions of people each year are enjoying raw milk. If you are thinking of making the switch to raw milk empower yourself by understanding not only the health benefits but also any possible risks. Perhaps most importantly of all, get to know your supplier.
If you would like to try raw milk or to find out more visit: http://www.realmilk.com