In the UK, demand for raw, unpasteurized milk is growing as increasing numbers of people spread the word about its health benefits and rich, refreshing flavor.
The Food Standards Agency maintains that raw milk can contain illness-causing pathogens, but that hasn’t stopped its fans from traveling miles to purchase a liter. In England and Wales, raw milk sales are restricted to farmer’s markets and farm shops, and must contain a label warning of the risk.
Much of the increase in popularity has stemmed from anecdotal reports about raw milk’s healthy properties, which may:
- Strengthen your immune system
- Improve digestion
- Combat arthritis and arterial stiffening
Further, because raw milk is not pasteurized, it is loaded with beneficial gut bacteria and digestive enzymes. Pastuerizing milk, on the other hand, destroys much of the nutrition in milk, according to raw milk proponents. Other beneficial properties of raw milk include:
- It contains 10 percent more B vitamins and 25 percent more vitamin C than regular milk.
- It’s rich in CLA, a superfat that promotes weight loss and may fight cancer.
- It contains the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose. Because of this, people who are lactose-intolerant can enjoy raw milk.
- It contains more omega-3 fats, and they’re not corrupted by heat treatment.
Although opponents say the risk of drinking raw milk is great, farmers point out that raw milk is made to a strict standard, and that their cows are healthier than those on commercial farms.
Think about it: healthier cows mean healthier milk, says Celia Haynes, a farmer who specializes in unpasteurized milk and cream.
Sources: Belfast Telegraph November 6, 2007