Saturday, January 29, 2011

The benefits of drinking raw milk



During my last trip to London a friend offered me some unpasteurized milk to drink. My friend had heard that I had trouble whenever I drank milk and suggested that my system might react more favorably to raw milk. 
 
She was right. 
 
Providentially I discovered that I knew someone who had a friend who had a cow, and every fortnight the cow has been faithfully providing me with fresh, unpasteurized milk. Yum!

The habit of pasteurizing milk began when cows were being kept in highly unsanitary conditions. It was a way to kill the diseases that were present in these cows who were not being looked after properly. However, for cows living in a healthy, clean, environments, the risk of disease is minimal and no greater than the risk in other animal products we routinely consume.

Many people who are lactose intolerant find that they can digest milk that hasn't been pasteurized. In the article "Raw Milk - Is it Healthier Than Pasteurized Milk?", the authors explain why this is. (And because most pasteurized milk has also been homogenized, I've also included their discussion about how dreadful homogenization is)
Many people in modern societies are said to be lactose intolerant and therefore unable to digest milk properly. Lactose is a milk sugar that requires the enzyme lactase to break down disaccharides in milk into glucose and galactose, which can then be digested.

The milk nutrition facts are that heat Pasteurization destroys beneficial bacteria, and enzymes in milk including lactase which otherwise aids in the digestion of milk. Thus many people who drink pasteurized milk devoid of lactase have problem digesting it, however this is not the case with raw milk!

Homogenization

Homogenization of causes the globules of milk fat to be evenly distributed throughout the milk. When milk is pasteurized dead white blood cells and bacteria form a kind of sludge, and the homogenization process spreads this sludge throughout the milk.

The process of homogenization involves squeezing the fat globules through a filter under high pressure. This breaks up the fat globules and it has been theorized also increases the amount of xanthine oxidase that reaches your blood stream.

Xanthine oxidase is a very reactive enzyme and early research pointed to the possibility that this enzyme was instrumental in causing damage to artery walls that characterizes heart disease.

Although the research has not been able to definitively link xanthine oxidase to heart disease, the available evidence does seem to warrant concern over the effects of homogenization on both regular and organic milk.

Raw milk is inherently healthier and more beneficial than milk that has been processed. Fats are very delicate structures and prone to damage by all kinds of processing. In light of this it would be best to avoid milk that has undergone this kind of processing.
So whenever possible, drink raw, unpasteurized milk because (a) the lactase enzyme has not been destroyed, and this helps the digestive system to breakdown lactos, and (b) because raw milk hasn't been homogenized; (c) there are a bunch of nutrients in raw milk that are cooked out of milk when it undergoes pasteurization.
 
Given the personal benefits I derive from drinking raw milk (to say nothing of the fact that it has SO much more flavor!), you can imagine my surprise when I learned that our freedom to consume this wholesome and natural drink could soon be in danger. Click on the video below to learn more.

 
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