SHOULD WE DRINK COWS MILK?
Is Milk really good for us?
There is a lot of controversy around whether milk is good for us or not! Growing up I had a sensitivity to dairy products, if I ate any dairy I would suffer from a number of different symptoms from bloating, swollen glands, constant nasal drip to complete exhaustion. As I improved my digestion and immune system I was able to include some dairy into my diet, however if I over indulge the symptoms all return.
Obviously, I am not the only person to be effected by milk. It has b?een well documented that milk can cause acne, allergies, asthma, autoimmune disease, diarrhea, cramps, bloating, iron deficiency anemia, gastrointestinal bleeding, skin rashes, atherosclerosis, obesity, heart disease, infertility, diabetes, and cancer. Milk is also the primary cause of recurrent ear infections in children. Many children are so allergic to milk that their reactions can be serve enough to require adrenaline to be administered if they ingest any milk at all.
On the other hand, we hear constantly in the media as well as from health professionals that milk is very important for the growth and health of our bones. It is drummed into us that milk is high in calcium and other nutrients necessary for healthy development.
So why is there this ongoing debate on milk?
A lot of the benefits of milk is actually to do with raw milk. Raw milk is very high in nutrients including beneficial bacteria, vitamins and enzymes. Raw milk contains all 8 essential amino acids in varying amounts. The protein from milk can improve absorption and assimilation of iron as well as having anti cancer properties and antimicrobial and antiviral properties.
Raw milk contains Lactase which is the enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose (milk sugar). The end result of the digestion of lactose is a substance known as lactic acid, which not only inhibits the effects of some harmful bacteria it also improves absorption of calcium, phosphorus and iron.
There are more than 60 known enzymes in raw milk. Food enzymes do many things in our bodies including supporting the digestion of the food we eat, allowing us to absorb and utilize more of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that we ingest. Without having these enzymes in milk our pancreas has to produce extra enzymes which places more of a burden on this organ which is often over burdened with our western diets as it is.
Raw milk from grass-fed cows is abundant in conjugated linoleic acid, which is an omega-6 fatty acid with many potential health benefits. These include: raising the metabolic rate, helps to decrease abdominal fat, boosts muscle growth, reduces insulin resistance, strengthens the immune system and lowers food allergy reactions.
There is a huge difference between organic grass-fed raw milk and the milk we buy from the local supermarket. Raw Milk isn’t usually linked to the health problems you often see with homogenized and pasteurized milk.
What is the problem with the milk we buy from the supermarket?
At the turn of the 20th century authorities decided to use pasteurization to kill pathogens that may be in milk. It basically worked, however it also changed the composition of milk and the health benefits that had been seen with raw milk.
Today milk is pasteurized and homogenized. Pasteurization kills pathogenic bacteria and increases shelf life of milk by heating the milk while under pressure to temperatures of above 72 deg C for 15 seconds. However, while doing this pasteurization also:
- destroys vitamin B2, B6, B9, B12, vitamin C and two thirds of vitamin A
- inactivates many of the valuable enzymes
- Oxidizes cholesterol
- fragile proteins are transformed from healthy to unnatural configurations.
- damages the fats so what is ingested are unnatural molecules
- renders most of the calcium undigestible
- beneficial bacteria are destroyed
One of the most documented problems with homogenizing milk is the change it makes to the digestion of an enzyme called xanthine oxidase. Normally proteins are broken down once you digest them. This protein in milk, known as xanthine oxidase is effected when milk is homogenized. Homogenization causes small fat globules to surround the xanthine oxidase which allows it to be absorbed intact into our blood stream. This enzyme can damage artery walls by causing lesions to occur on the lining. There is research demonstrating clear associations with this absorbed enzyme and increased risks of heart disease. Countries which consume highest amounts of homogenized milk also have the highest levels of heart disease.
In Australia, the sale of raw milk for consumption is illegal. Therefore, in my opinion, if you really must drink milk and you don’t have your own cow, at least by the unhomogenised milk. You can find this in many health food shops. However, ideally it is best to limit all non raw milk from your diet.
Where will I get my Calcium from?
Many people drink milk because of their belief it is the best source of calcium. However there are many good, non-dairy sources of calcium including almonds, buckwheat, egg yolks, figs, molasses, sardines, turnips, collards, bok choy, Kale, baked beans, dark leafy green vegetables and broccoli. Consider the fact that all other animals stop drinking any milk after infancy and they have strong healthy bones.