An MP3 audio file of this article, narrated by the author, is available for download.
Most Americans think they drink milk on a regular basis. In fact, virtually all these people are consuming pasteurized milk, not milk. Milk in its natural state – raw milk – is consumed by very few Americans, because it is illegal in many states and thoroughly discouraged by federal health organizations, regulators, and the Big Dairy lobby.
Raw milk is prohibited in Canada and Australia, although raw milk and raw-milk products are legal almost everywhere else. In fact, in countries with the best cuisines, such as France, raw milk and raw-milk products are considered the high-quality choice.
No wonder. Raw milk is fresher, better tasting, and more nutritious. It is fresher because only refrigeration is used to prevent spoilage, and you immediately know when it is going bad because of the smell and taste. It has to be produced locally or quickly shipped and consumed.
Raw milk is more nutritious than pasteurized milk. Raw milk has living white blood cells, mammary-gland cells, various bacteria (i.e., probiotics), and several active enzymes, which are all destroyed in pasteurization.
There are some European studies that indicate – although nothing is yet definitive – that raw milk might be useful in reducing allergies, asthma, and eczema. Raw milk is also more likely to come from “pastured” cows, which only eat their natural diet: grass. Therefore, the cows are less likely to have been regularly treated with antibiotics and growth hormones.
While we are on the topic of nutrition, it should be pointed out that even though the protein component of milk is one of the best available, the most nutritious part of milk might be the fat component. Butterfat is naturally beneficial. It also contains the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, in which many Americans are deficient. So stop buying skim and low-fat milk.