Raw Milk Benefits
Raw Milk Benefits
With the raw milk debate continuing to be a major talking point, we take a close look at the reported health benefits from raw milk and raw milk used in cheese production.
If you take a closer look at the reported benefits of raw milk it is easy to see why so many people are so passionate about this cause with some help from recent reports from cheese.slowfood.com
Raw milk is a complete food that has not undergone any treatment like skimming, homogenization, pasteurization, ultrafiltration, etc. It is a live food, and if stored properly and consumed within two to three days, it maintains all of its original nutritional properties: nutrients, vitamins, provitamins, enzymes and probiotic bacteria
High-quality raw milk is rich in vitamins and bacteria that help improve the immune system of children and adults. Specifically, it contains vitamin A, important for sight, cellular development, antitumoral activity and immune defenses, and vitamin D, necessary for cellular activity, brain development, the prevention of cancer and immune system development. It also contains proteins, the most important of which is casein, and sugars like lactose, as well as minerals like calcium and iron and many beneficial probiotic bacteria.
When milk is pasteurized, the vitamin A and D content is greatly reduced or even eliminated. Vitamin C is reduced by 60 to 70 percent and the group D vitamins by 40 to 80 percent. The proteins are also altered, compromising their digestibility and the milk's biological value. The calcium and iron are modified, as are the fats. A European study, conducted in 2007 showed that raw milk consumption was associated with a reduction in asthma (-26%), hayfever (-33%) and food allergies (-58%).
The biodiversity of microflora present in raw milk also brings beneficial effects to raw-milk cheeses, which contain higher quantities of probiotic bacteria (Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lb. casei, Lb. plantarum) than cheeses made with pasteurized milk. Other studies have shown how cheese made from the milk of pastured animals, particularly those grazing in hilly or mountainous environments, contains many more "good" fats (explanation of good fats in a pop up) than cheese made from milk from intensively farmed, indoor-raised livestock. These good fats (like conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3s) help prevent cardiovascular disease and even arteriosclerosis. During pasteurization, these fats are almost completely destroyed. Omega-3s are often added to milk after pasteurization, but the result is significantly inferior than with raw milk from pastured animals.
Finally, in addition to the safety and healthiness of raw milk, it is worth remembering that raw milk is synonymous with respect for the environment and biodiversity, and is the best way to promote the work of small-scale herders and artisans who work mostly in marginal rural areas (mountains, hills, etc.). Supporting raw-milk production means moving value from distribution to production, helping to differentiate supply and protecting consumers' right to choice.
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