Saturday, September 11, 2010

raw milk befits

My friend Cindi asked: "I just found a farm down the street from me with raw milk and raw milk products. what does that mean? Is that better for you?"

The short answer is YES, raw milk is great. The proviso is that you need to be sure that your dairy is following good sanitation procedures and that they are testing for pathogens on a regular basis.

Health benefits:
  • One study from 2006 in England and shows that raw milk consumption substantially reduced allergies and asthma in children
  • When you pasteurize milk the heat process destroys a lot of enzymes and good bacteria in the milk. These are beneficial to our health and the only way we can get them is through raw dairy
  • Homogenizing milk forces the fat globules into small particles and prevents the cream from rising to the top. (Honestly in huge dairy business they skim the vast majority of the cream anyway to sell separately at a high price.) This process heat the milk for a second time and many folks feel it changes the flavor and the nutritional value
  • Because unheated milk has all the enzymes and bacteria (important for lactase to break down the milk sugar), many people who think they are lactose intolerant can actually drink raw milk without a problem

  • Raw milk is noticeably higher in Vitamin C than pasteurized milk. A recent study in 2009 found that all of the DHA (dehydroascorbic acid) and 20% of the ascorbic acid disappeared due to processing
  • When milk is heated there is also a reduction in calcium bioavailability
  • Raw milk contains a lot of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid - an essential fatty acid which can help fight cancer)
  • More than half of the Vitamin D in raw milk is destroyed in processing which is why commercial milk is fortified

I'm going to be honest and tell you that there is a lot of controversy surrounding raw milk.  Lots of pressure comes from commercial dairy operations to force the FDA to shut down raw dairy farmers.  There are folks who are huge fans of raw milk and just as many who are opponents.  I actually find this interesting because there are some large commercial operations (such as Organic Valley) that are now selling raw cheese in the grocery stores.  Raw cheese has to come from raw milk.  So how are the small producers in the wrong?  But I digress...

As I stated above, you need to be sure that you can trust your farmer, that they are running a clean operation.  If you're comfortable with what they offer then raw milk can be a very healthy addition to your diet.

If you want more information check out:

A Campaign for Real (Raw) Milk
Real Raw Milk Facts

photo courtesy of Nicholas Bullosa

No comments: