Raw milk is, quite simply, milk that comes straight from the cow. It is unpasteurized and unhomogenized. This means raw milk contains all of its natural enzymes, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals – making it what many refer to as a “complete food”. Nothing has been added and nothing has been removed.
Raw milk has been one of the most nutritionally consumed, complete foods, in the human diet for many centuries. If it had always made people sick, we would have stopped drinking it long ago.
In the past very few people were allergic to raw milk – unlike today’s processed milks. Few people were allergic to the raw milk because of the active enzymes present.
Not many people are aware that clean, raw milk from grass-fed cows was actually used as a medicine in the early part of the last century.
Nutrients like probiotics, vitamin D & immunoglobulins (antibodies) found in raw milk naturally boost the immune system & reduce the risk of allergies in both children & adults. Enzymes found in raw milk help with digestion but are often reduced or destroyed during pasteurization, which can contribute to lactose intolerance.
Most foods have some levels of natural sugar, including raw milk, which has the type called lactose. The natural sugar in milk is balanced with other nutrients.
Lactose, or milk sugar, is the primary carbohydrate in cow’s milk. Made from one molecule each of the simple sugars glucose & galactose. People with lactose intolerance for one reason or another (age, genetics, etc) no longer make the enzyme lactase and so can’t digest milk sugar. Raw milk, with its lactose-digesting Lactobacilli bacteria intact, may allow people who traditionally have avoided milk to give it another try.
Butter-fat is in milk for a reason. Without it the body cannot absorb & utilize the vitamins & minerals in the water fraction of the milk.
Approximately two thirds of the fat in milk is saturated. Saturated fats play a number of roles in our bodies: from construction of cell membranes & key hormones to providing energy storage & padding for delicate organs, to serving as a vehicle for important fat-soluble vitamins.
All fats cause our stomach lining to secrete a hormone (cholecystokinin or CCK) which, aside from boosting production & secretion of digestive enzymes, it lets us know we’ve eaten enough. With that trigger removed, non-fat dairy products & other fat-free foods can potentially help contribute to over-eating.
Raw milk is one of the highest sources of minerals & electrolytes, which many people don’t get enough of. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of these minerals is lost during high heat pasteurization.
Pasteurization is a process, named after a French scientist Louis Pasteur in 1862. Pasteurized milk is milk which has been heat-treated to kill pathogens, which can cause disease.
Pasteurization not only kills the enzymes & any bad bacteria but also friendly bacteria such as Lactobacillus. This means that the digestion of the various nutrients such as proteins, fats & sugars then has to be carried out by the body without any assistance from the naturally occurring enzymes & bacteria in the milk, & because of their absence additional undue stress is places on the pancreas
Valuable enzymes are destroyed (lactase, galactase, phosphatase & many more) in the pasteurization process. Without them, the milk is very difficult to digest. The human pancreas is not always able to produce these enzymes; over-stress of the pancreas can lead to diabetes & other diseases.
In addition to killing off bacteria, pasteurization also changes the structure of the milk, breaking down the proteins that can be used by our bodies as antibodies to fight off illness & infection.
In addition to killing potentially harmful bacteria, pasteurization also kills the many beneficial microorganisms found in milk. Raw milk drinkers say these “good bacteria” can aid in digestion & overall health. These bacteria can help our bodies to more efficiently break down the food we eat & get the most nutrients from them. Plus, milk is high in lactic acid, a natural acid that is able to keep “bad bacteria” in check, as long as the milk comes from a healthy cow.
The purpose of homogenization is to break down fat molecules in milk so that they resist separation.
Homogenization is a high-pressure process that breaks down fat into tiny particles – however, fat subjected to high heat & pressure becomes oxidized & rancid.
Homogenization is a technique used to make milk uniform is texture. It breaks up the fat in the cream fraction into very small particles. The tiny globules of fat which result from this process allows an enzyme called xanthine oxidase to get into the body. So in non-homogenized milk the fat globules that contain the enzyme are too large to get through the intestinal wall & into the bloodstream, they pass through the body without doing any damage. Not so after the milk has been homogenized because the particles are then small enough to squeeze through the intestinal linings.