Until the early part of the twentieth century, raw milk – natural, untreated milk straight from the cow – was considered a medicine for a plethora of chronic diseases. Even in the tropics, long before refrigeration was invented, raw milk was an essential and safe food source for many cultures. It was regarded as ‘white blood,’ a kind of ‘stem cell’ of foods, and people understood that in trying circumstances, you could live on it exclusively and remain perfectly healthy. After all, just as eggs contain all the nutrients needed to nourish a growing chick, raw milk contains all the nutrients needed to nourish a growing calf; it needs to be a near-perfect food.
Below is a list of reasons why raw cow’s milk enjoys such a positive, time-honored reputation. Throughout the list, comparisons will also be made with pasteurized and homogenized milk.
List of Health Benefits
A complete protein – Raw milk contains all 22 amino acids, including the eight ‘essential’ amino acids needed for the complete metabolism and function of protein. This makes raw milk a perfect protein source, and especially good for growing children and bodybuilders. The proteins in processed milk, however, don’t fare as well. The milk’s biological value is reduced by 17 percent because the heating process damages at least two of these amino acids (lysine and histidine). Moreover, this damage to the amino acids’ identity negatively affects their absorption rate in the body.
Rich in vitamins – Raw milk is rich in fat-soluble vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K – the entire vitamin spectrum. It is a particularly potent B-vitamin complex, with all the major B-vitamins, from biotin to B12, represented. In treated milk, though, vitamins A and C are completely destroyed (infants fed pasteurized milk exclusively actually develop scurvy), while pasteurization destroys approximately 38 percent of the milk’s all-important B-vitamins. Vitamins D, E, and K appear to survive the heating process.
Healthy fats – Raw milk contains all 18 fatty acids (saturated and unsaturated) that are metabolically available to us, including conjugated linoleic acid, a much-needed Omega-6 fatty acid. These fats – which our bodies cannot make themselves – aid cellular metabolism, the formation of healthy cell membranes, brain and endocrine system function, and much more. Processed milk, on the other hand, is a different story. While pasteurization is bad enough (it compromises the milk’s fat content), homogenization – a truly unnatural process that presses milk fats into smaller globules – actually oxidizes these fats, making them carcinogenic and toxic to the body.
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