Milk has been a staple in the diets of people worldwide and provides a wide variety of delicious dairy products. For thousands of years, several types of animals, including cows, have been milked in order to provide food for humankind. Cows are not native to North America and first arrived via Spanish ships in the 15th century A.D. Most Cows in the United States for the next 350 years were found on small family farms and grazed naturally year-round in pastures. This grass feeding is understandably less common today since the family farm is virtually a thing of the past. The health-promoting benefits of Grass-fed Cow’s Milk are impressive, with a broad base of nutrient support.
Milk from pastured cows is especially nutrient rich in at least four areas:
Omega-3 fatty acids: Found in whole milk from Grass-fed Cows, Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for brain health. Research has found that Omega 3 fatty acids fight depression and anxiety.
Vitamin E: The amount of this vitamin antioxidant is about 50 percent higher in grass-fed animals. Vitamin E helps protect cells from free radical damage and boosts immune system protection.
Beta-Carotene: This fat-soluble, yellow antioxidant is found in grass and dissolves into the animal’s fat stores. We benefit from it in whole or 2% Milk.
Conjugated Linolenic Acid (CLA): This type of fat is related to the Omega 6 fatty acids. Cows who graze in pasture and receive no supplemental processed feed were found to have 500% more CLA than those fed “normal” diets of corn. This essential fatty acid helps the body balance cholesterol, boosts metabolism, and supports healthy immunity.
The dairy industry as we know it today didn’t exist until the 1900’s after the invention of pasteurization in 1864. In the absence of refrigeration, harmful bacteria tended to grow in dairy products; this heating process ensured it to be free of bacterial contamination. Interestingly, dairy is currently considered a “controversial food” in many circles. Additionally, for those who are lactose intolerant, it is an adverse reaction-producing food. Each person can make their own decision in that area based on genetics and lifestyle. The key is to find what works in your life and let others do the same.
If you choose to include dairy products such as Milk into your eating routine, I highly recommend 100 percent Grass-fed Cow’s Milk that comes from cows that have been raised organically. Consider purchasing it from local farms with small flocks which provide a natural lifestyle for their dairy Cows. True grass feeding means that they have grazed in pastures year-round rather than being fed a processed diet. Grass-fed Cow’s Milk can be organic or non-organic depending on what is used on the grass or injected into the animal. Organic Milk is free from antibiotics, pesticides, steroids, or synthetic growth hormones. Here are two websites that can be searched by ZIP Code to find a farm in your area:
https://www.localharvest.org/edmond-ok – With an excellent list of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) groups, this website is very easy to navigate.
http://www.eatwild.com/ – They have a state-by-state directory of local farmers who will sell directly to private consumers. There are good scientific references as well as a great cookbook.
The health-promoting benefits of Grass-fed Cow’s Milk are impressive! Be intentional and NOURISH LIFE with real, whole food. You can do it. I will help you.