What is Raw Milk?

Unless you have been living under a rock, it is very likely that you have herd, read, and discussed the benefits of drinking raw milk. Currently a huge food trend in America, raw milk has been and continues to be widely consumed in most parts of India. While raw milk is said to have many health advantages, several individuals have suffered dangerous consequences from consuming contaminated raw milk.

Any food product that is completed unprocessed and treated has a higher propensity to spoil when under unfavourable conditions. Here are some important points to keep in mind when making the decision to add raw milk to your daily diet.

  1. Raw Milk does not cure lactose intolerance. Lactose Intolerance is caused by the absence of the enzyme lactase in an individual’s digestive tract. This enzyme when present breaks down the protein lactose, present in raw and pasteurised milk, into glucose and galactose for the body to absorb.
  2. Raw Milk does not have pathogen killing abilities. There is no scientific evidence to prove that the microflora and antimicrobial compounds present in raw milk is capable of killing pathogens. The only tested and proved way to kill vegetative pathogens is through pasteurisation.
  3. Raw milk does not cure allergies, terminal illness and / or autoimmune diseases. Those with a compromised immunity system like people suffering from autoimmune diseases, pregnant women, terminal ill patients and children under the age of five should not consume raw milk as they are more susceptible to contracting a virus, disease and / or sickness form it.
  4. Raw Milk does not cure Osteoporosis. There is no scientific literature to substantiate the claim that raw milk can in any way help cure or curb our propensity to develop osteoporosis. Studies show that pasteurisation does not in any way affect the concentration of calcium or its bioavailability in milk.
  5. Raw Milk need not be nutritionally superior to pasteurised milk. The process of pasteurisation does little to change the concentration of nutrients present in milk. The only vitamin affected by pasteurisation is Vitamin C, but milk is an insignificant source of it.
  6. Raw Milk is not a probiotic. In order to be beneficial to humans, probiotic microorganisms must be non-pathogenic and of human origin. Bifidobacteria is present in raw milk and humans, however in cows it exists in the GI track and therefore in its faeces. This means that the presence of it in Raw Milk is an indication of faecal contamination.

One of the biggest advantages of Raw Milk is that it is natural in every way. Its butterfat is rich in healthy fats and it has natural sugars, vitamins and minerals, all of which are virtually untouched. Due to this it is easier to make probiotics like Kefir and Yoghurt from raw milk. Most tetra packaged milk on the other hand go through heavy amounts of processing. This processing strips milk of it nutrients, fats and easily digestible components while increasing our consumption of chemicals, preservatives and harmful additives.

The most important piece of information to take home with regard to raw milk is to monitor the facility providing it. The health of the product is directly dependent upon the skill of the individual(s) running the facility, extracting  the milk and maintaining sanitation. Due to its high perishability improper packing, fluctuating temperatures, contamination, etc. can ruin an entire batch. Therefore, it is important to find the right vendor you can trust, educate yourself as much as you can and be vigilant when consuming anything that can cause adverse effects to our health.

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