"All I want is a tall, cold glass of milk." Do you often find yourself saying this? I know that I do. Oftentimes, I find that no beverage can compare to a cold glass of milk. Maybe this is a nostalgic want from drinking milk as a kid? I don’t know, but I know I find myself wanting milk often. But one thing has changed, I don’t want the type of milk I grew up with – you know the type you buy from the grocery store. Instead, I crave the flavor of unpasteurized milk – aka: raw milk.
The benefits of raw milk are controversial. And while there are arguments for and against it, I do prefer raw milk (really a raw diet in general), over the milk at my town’s grocery store. I believe, and some studies show, that raw milk offers an abundance of health benefits. As a matter of fact, raw milk was used as medicine for a larger part of the 20th century. In certain cases, it has even been known to treat serious illnesses and diseases.
An Overview of Raw Milk
Quite surprisingly, raw milk is considered a living food filled with vitamins, bacteria (beneficial types), and enzymes. This can’t be said for UHT milk that has been pasteurized. Raw milk isn’t destroyed as a result of heating, and its natural state offers a high degree of vitamins and nutrients.
Moreover, most raw milk is grass-fed – what does this mean? It means that the cows that produce milk only graze on grass and not grains. Cows are herbivores and grass-fed cows have an increased amount of fat-soluble nutrients in the milk that they produce.
So what are the benefits of raw milk?
Benefit #1: Filled With Helpful Bacteria
There are two types of bacteria: ones that help your body and the kind that hurt your body. Fortunately, raw milk contains the good kind. Beneficial bacteria can aid in strengthening your immune system as well as helping you function with more energy throughout the day. Note, pasteurized milk does not contain helpful bacteria as they are automatically destroyed throughout the pasteurization process.
Benefit #2: Abundance of Enzymes
Raw milk offers an abundance of food enzymes. These include phosphate, lipase, and lactase. Not only will these help you remain healthier but they will also help increase the efficiency of your digestive system. Since these enzymes are sensitive to heat, they won’t be able to survive the pasteurization process associated with regular milk.
Benefit #3: Full of Vitamins
Raw milk is filled with natural vitamins, each of which can strengthen certain aspects of your health. It’s filled with Vitamin C, something that can increase immune system strength and help prevent your body from experiencing disease and illness. Vitamin E is also very abundant in raw milk – there is about 50% more of it in raw milk than in regular milk. As we previously mentioned, these vitamins are very sensitive to heat, and it is often difficult for them to survive the extreme heat exposed to them during pasteurization. These natural vitamins will help you live longer, healthier, and stronger.
Benefit #4: Sustainable Practice
Producing raw milk is much better for the environment than producing pasteurized milk. Pasteurized milk usually creates a variety of environmental pollutants due to things like:
- Milk being delivered at long distances
- Pesticides used in the grains to feed cows
- Manure and fertilizer entering aquatic ecosystems
Raw milk would not require pesticides, long-haul deliveries, and would actually improve the soil fertility. Much better than pasteurized milk, don’t you think?
Though unpasteurized milk has a variety of benefits, it is not to say that it’s 100% safe. Just as with other animal by-products there is the risk that unpasteurized milk may become contaminated with harmful bacteria that could make you sick. Though the chances are very slim, you need to be careful choosing who and where you purchase raw milk from. When choosing a raw milk farmer, make sure you ask them detailed questions regarding how their raw milk is produced. You can view a detailed list of questions and expected answers in a guide created by Dr. Amanda Rose from Traditional Foods.
I don’t think it will be uncommon for more and more individuals to consume raw milk on a regular basis. This is especially true as people begin to learn the benefits of raw foods and walk away from the fear that raw milk is dangerous. What I do know for sure is that I’m an advocate for raw milk, and I think it tastes great!
What is your opinion on raw, unpasteurized milk? Are you for it or against it and why? Tell me in the comment box below.