Is Raw Milk Better for Me?
Milk comes from cows. It also can be gotten from goats. When the milk is harvested, it is white just like we see it in the store. There may be foam that forms on the top which is the fat from the milk.
In the modern process, raw milk is pasteurized and homogenized. In the homogenization process, the milk is strained through tubes to break up the fats into smaller, more even pieces so you don’t have that foamy layer on top. “Homo” means “same.”
After that the milk goes through pasteurization (so named after Louis Pasteur). This process heats the milk to a certain temperature in an attempt to kill any offending and dangerous bacteria. The process is long enough to kill bacteria but not long enough to change the taste of the milk.
Therefore, the question is: Is raw milk better for me? Here are the pros and cons:
Raw milk contains both good and bad bacteria. The bad bacteria seem to lower in concentration over time. This could be because the good bacteria are too much for the bad bacteria and get rid of them. In some pasteurized milk, the bad bacteria hang around longer even though the milk has been heated. The problem is that many of the good bacteria have been destroyed.
Raw milk is more promising for those who have lactose intolerance. The enzyme, lactase, that digests and breaks down lactose sugar is absent in those with lactose intolerance. In raw milk, there are bacteria present that can produce lactase enzymes to lower the lactose content of the milk. Your milk will taste a little sour, but it is less likely to damage you or your stomach.
Drinking raw milk is believed to help create a healthy immune system in children and adults. In our society, we are highly antibacterial, not only in health products but also foods. The lack of bacteria leads to an immune system that may breed “superbugs.” Raw milk from grass-fed cows contains bad and good bacteria but the body learns to fight off the bad ones, thereby increasing the strength of the immune system.
While there are good and bad bacteria in raw milk, the types of bad bacteria are too much to ignore. You could be exposed to Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli and Campylobacter, to name a few. All of these can make you very sick if you contract them.
There is only one con named here but it is a big one. These bad bugs can cause some nasty health problems. While pasteurization does lower the levels of good bacteria, it lowers the levels of bad ones too. And, all farmers aren’t necessarily using the same practices and pasteurization helps that.
Whether or not you try raw milk is up to you. For lactose-intolerant folks it could be worth a try to get a good taste of the cool refreshing drink.