What is raw milk?
Raw milk is the milk which comes straight out of the animal like cow and does not go through any kind of processing or heat treatment. Raw milk can be consumed directly and there’s no need to boil it. It’s completely safe and even more nutritious than the conventional boiled/pasteurized milk. Wait what? but doesn’t raw milk contain harmful pathogen and bacteria which makes you sick? don’t worry, by the end of this article you will know the answer to this question.
Many cultures across the world have thrived on animal based foods and raw milk is one of them. A Canadian dentist named Weston A. price visited multiple cultures around the world that were living in perfect health and their community was free of any kind of disease. He observed that those communities were primarily living on animal foods such as raw milk, organ meats like liver, high quality sea food, eggs etc. No matter where he went he always saw that every community’s health was built on traditional animal foods. What about milk? Every culture who used to consume dairy in the form of milk, cheese, yogurt, cream was always using in it in raw form.
Raw milk has shaped well built bodies in different cultures around the world. Pasteurization/ boiling was never a real thing before early 1900s. People almost always used to drink milk in raw form because it is one of the most nutritious and easily digestible food on the planet.
Pasteurization is a process in which the milk is heated at a very high temperature(usually at 72 degree Celsius) for sometime to kill the harmful bacteria present in the milk. Such kind of milk is called pasteurized milk. Pasteurization and boiling technically are the same thing so from now on we are going to use the term ‘pasteurized milk’ only.
The milk which you buy in packets or tetra pack from the grocery store has been gone through the process of pasteurization to increase it’s shelf life and make it easy to transport. Pasteurization is also done to kill the bacteria present in raw milk which can cause health hazards. However, there is a very big problem with this process. When milk is treated at high temperatures it fundamentally alters the nutritional value of the milk and denatures it, the milk then becomes hard to digest. Raw milk on the other hand contains enzymes which helps in it’s digestion and absorption. These enzymes present in raw milk are heat sensitive and get destroyed when the milk is heated.
Why raw milk is superior to pasteurized milk?
Fresh raw milk has been known since a very long time as a builder of health and a healing agent. Many different cultures across the world have valued raw milk as a food that builds strong bodies and cures many diseases. Russian and German physicians during the 19th century popularized the raw milk cure. They reported that they have treated hundreds of cases of asthma, liver diseases, neurological problems with a diet consisting exclusively of raw milk. In 1905 Dr. Porter published a book entitled ‘Milk diet as a remedy for chronic disease’. According to him raw milk is full of living elements and vital nutrients and any kind of heat treatment has a serious detrimental effect on milk’s nutritive value. He emphasized that the milk must be raw and pasteurizing it makes it unsuitable for human use. Porter also wrote that in his 39 years of experience with raw milk he has cured patients suffering from heart and kidney disease, brain and nerve disorders, blood clots, paralysis, tuberculosis, colitis, stomach ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome.
You may sill be wondering how can raw milk be so good? let’s take a deeper look at how pasteurization destroys the very nature of milk and keeping it raw is much better.
Heat denatures the natural properties of milk and renders its nutritive value. Raw milk contains enzymes. Enzymes are substances that are present in every cell of your body and perform every reaction needed to run your body properly. Breathing, metabolism, digestion, thinking, fighting off the infections and even taking a dump are all performed by enzymes. You kill the enzymes in your body and you kill yourself.
So, back to raw milk. Enzymes present in raw milk perform many functions like killing the pathogens and digesting the milk itself. For example; an enzyme called lactoferrin present in raw milk is very essential for killing off the pathogens such as TB bacillus and candida albicans and digesting the iron present in the milk. Lactoferrin is also very important for our immune system. This beneficial compound found in raw milk is destroyed when the milk is heated during pasteurization or boiling.
Raw milk contains many other enzymes such as lactase, galactase, lactoperoxidase, phosphatase, amylase and many others. These enzymes play a vital role in the assimilation of vitamins and minerals present in milk, support our immune system and also provide a powerful protection against pathogens. Pasteurized milk is largely devoid of enzyme activity.
Talking about nutritive value, it is largely deteriorated during pasteurization. Raw milk contains Vitamin A, D, E, K2, vitamin B complex, some amount of vitamin C and all the other essential minerals such as iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, selenium, copper etc. When the milk is heated most of the B vitamins and vitamin C are destroyed or denatured. Chemical and physical changes occur in the minerals which affects their absorption negatively. Many studies demonstrate that the nutrient absorption from raw milk is superior to that from pasteurized milk [1,2,3,4].
Health benefits of raw milk
Very easy to digest
Raw milk as discussed previously has a lot of enzymes and probiotics in it which regulate it’s digestion and absorption. It is very easy to digest and does not cause any stomach upset or digestive issues. Miraculously, people who are lactose intolerant have no issues digesting raw milk whatsoever. Some data demonstrate this fact[5,6,7]. This happens because raw milk has lactase enzyme in it which is the main player in the digestion of milk sugar lactose. Pasteurization destroys this enzyme making the milk hard to digest especially for the people suffering from lactose intolerance.
Good for allergies such as asthma
Builds strong immunity
Raw milk has infection fighting enzymes like lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase and immunoglobulins which helps your body to fight off the infections and building a strong immune system. A study of 900 European children demonstrated that consumption of raw milk during growing years reduced the risk of getting respiratory infections and fever.
Builds strong body
Raw milk is rich in bodybuilding nutrients like bioavailable calcium, phosphorus, zinc, protein and fats. On the other hand pasteurized milk has most of it’s nutritive value destroyed by heat.
Raw sheep milk is best when it comes to nutrient density. For instance, sheep milk has double the amount of protein, vitamin A, vitamin B1, B6, more vitamin C and E and minerals and it is also contains far greater quantities of butterfat compared to cow’s milk. Super healthy for nourishing the body.
Helps with arthritis
Raw goat’s milk has been shown to help with rheumatoid arthritis.
Helps with eczema and skin issues
This study conducted over 4000 European children associated consumption of raw milk with protection against eczema. Raw milk also offers high amounts of vitamin A, vitamin K2, calcium and other minerals which are vital for a healthy skin.
Safety of raw milk
Dr. Ron Schmid in his book entitled ‘The Untold Story of Milk’ tells us how raw milk is inherently safe. He writes in chapter 15 of his book that lactoferrin and lactoperoxidase are the two major components which form the backbone of this amazing ingrained safety system in raw milk. Both of these enzymes hold the capacity of killing the pathogens and especially lactoferrin has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Following are some of the citations from his book.
Further, he writes that pasteurization largely wipes out these protective factors, inactivating the various leukocytes, antibodies, enzymes and binding proteins, while reducing the activity of the medium chain fatty acids, lysozymes, oligosaccharides, hormones and growth factors and beneficial bacteria.
Dr. Ron also mentions a couple of studies which tested the antimicrobial properties of raw milk. In both the studies researches added fungal and bacterial pathogens to the raw milk and observed their activity, they found that the pathogen numbers declined over time and in some cases they were undetectable. The second research which was conducted by Organic Pastures and Dairy Company concluded that “Raw colostrum and raw milk do not appear to support the growth of salmonella, E. coli or Listeria monocytogenes”
So, in conclusion you need not to worry about getting sick from raw milk.
How to find right kind of raw milk?
By now we have discussed how raw milk is truly a superfood and is superior to store bought pasteurized milk. However, when it comes to sourcing the raw milk you need to make sure that your are getting it from the right place. Raw milk in general does not cause food poisoning and is completely safe to consume but when it comes from a sick animal it can cause problems. Find a dairy farmer who’s cows are living in a healthy and clean environment and he handles the raw milk with care and cleanliness. Ask him how the cows are doing or whatever cattle he owns. If you find that animals are sick don’t buy milk from him.
Milk appearance and texture is also important. In general, poor quality raw milk looks pale, watery and has less cream on the top. Good quality raw milk will appear dense, has lots cream in it and also tastes creamier and sweater than poor quality milk.
There are many health conditions like lactose intolerance, digestive problems, acne associated with commercial pasteurized, homogenized milk and it’s products. The solution lies in real milk which is raw whole milk from healthy cows and animals. Raw milk is one of the most easy to digest and nutrient dense food on the planet earth. Getting sick from it should not be a concern since, raw milk has it’s own protective mechanism which takes care of harmful pathogens.