By Dr. Joseph Mercola
with Rachael Droege
|Who is Lucy Lock? You will be seeing much more of Lucy as she will be starting a regular column at Mercola.com.|
I was happy to see a published story that documents how some families have become aware of the health benefits of raw milk and are switching to it, despite the warnings of public health officials who are ignorant about the serious damage that pasteurization does to the quality of the milk.
Less than 1 percent of the milk consumed in America is raw, which is most unfortunate as raw milk is a highly health-promoting food. Public health officials warn that raw milk poses the risk of transmitting bacteria such as listeria, E. coli and salmonella, but pasteurizing the milk kills these bacteria while extending the milk's shelf life, which also happens to be more profitable for the dairy industry.
While it is certainly possible to become sick from drinking contaminated raw milk, it is also possible to become sick from almost any food source. But it seems that raw milk has been unfairly singled out as a risk, when only a very small risk exists. This excerpt from the Weston A. Price Foundation Web site further states my point:
Except for a brief hiatus in 1990, raw milk has always been for sale commercially in California, usually in health food stores, although I can remember a period when it was even sold in grocery stores. Millions of people consumed commercial raw milk during that period and although the health department kept an eagle eye open for any possible evidence of harm, not a single incidence was reported. During the same period, there were many instances of contamination in pasteurized milk, some of which resulted in death.
Fortunately, even though the sale of raw milk is legal only in a limited number of states, more and more people are realizing its benefits and finding their own legal sources. Here are a few of the major reasons why more people are choosing to drink their milk raw.
It Has More Nutrients
Raw milk is an outstanding source of nutrients including beneficial bacteria such as lactobacillus acidolphilus, vitamins and enzmes, and it is, in my estimation, the finest source of calcium available.
The pasteurization process, which entails heating the milk to a temperature of 145degrees to 150 degrees F and keeping it there for at least half an hour and then reducing the temperature to not more than 55 degrees F, completely changes the structure of the milk proteins (denaturization) into something far less than healthy. While the process certainly destroys germs and bad bacteria, it also destroys the milk's beneficial bacteria along with many of its nutritious components.
Pasteurizing milk destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin, denatures fragile milk proteins,destroys vitamin B12, and vitamin B6, kills beneficial bacteria and promotes pathogens.You may notice that raw milk left out will sour naturally but pasteurized milk will rot. This is because the beneficial bacteria in the raw milk helps to keep putrefactive bacteria under control. Pasteurized milk, however, does not have any of the beneficial bacteria left to keep it from rotting.
Then, of course there is the issue of the antibiotics, pesticides and growth hormones and the fact that nearly all commercial dairy cows are raised on grains, not grass, like they were designed to. This will change the composition of the fats in the milk, especially the CLA content.
People Feel the Health Benefits
Pasteurized cow's milk is the number one allergic food in this country. It has been associated with a number of symptoms and illnesses including:
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Iron-deficiency anemia
- Skin rashes
- Colic in infants
- Increased tooth decay
Raw milk, on the other hand, is not associated with any of these problems, and even people who have been allergic to pasteurized milk for many years can typically tolerate and even thrive on raw milk.
Raw milk is truly one of the most profoundly healthy foods you can consume, and uou'll feel the difference once you start to drink it.
It Tastes Better
As with any food, fresher is always better and this applies to milk as well. Freshraw milk is creamier and better tasting than pasteurized milk that has a shelf-life of several weeks. Ultra-high-temperature milk can be stored without refrigeration for about six months.
Even people who have never liked the taste of milk find that raw milk has a soothing,pleasant taste that they can't resist.
Obtaining raw milk can be a challenge but it is well worth the effort to seek out. You can go to www.realmilk.com for some help, but if you are unable to find any through that site I would suggest contacting a dairy farmer and asking him or her to buy the raw milk directly.
It is technically illegal to sell in many states but many people tell them they are using the milk for their pets. Alternatively, another strategy that has stood nearly every legal test is the cow-share program. One merely purchases a small ownership of a cow for $10 or $20 and then the farmer is able to sell you the milk from the cow as you are part owner and it is perfectly legal to drink raw milk from your own cow.
If any of the information in this article surprises you, I encourage you to look through the links below for further information.