After a workout, there is a high chance that you are hungry and tired. A post workout is a dietary plan that helps recovery and repair of sore muscles especially after intense workout sessions. This is why one has to be intentional about the nutritional value as well as choice of foods to be consumed after a workout.
Now you might usually grab a protein shake with your favorite chocolate flavor, but have you thought about having raw milk instead? Is raw milk a good choice for post workout? A lot of sources actually say it is.
What is the nutritional value of raw milk vs. pasteurized milk?
The body is like a vehicle, and this is why it is important to ensure that only the right foods are eaten. This is especially true for workouts, both pre-workout and post-workout. Milk is usually one of the options for a post-workout meal, but what kind of milk should you take as a post-workout? As f late raw milk has been making some headlines due to the nutritional content of this beverage.
So you might be tossing up between raw or pasteurized milk. To find out the better option, the nutritional value of raw and pasteurized milk needs to be scrutinized.
Raw cows milk is milk that has been produced in its original state through hygienic practices for consumption, while pasteurized milk is milk that has undergone a form of treatment known as pasteurization. Pasteurization of milk involves heating up the milk to a certain temperature (72°C) for a few seconds to kill unwanted bacteria that can become harmful and can reduce its shelf life. Even with this seeming advantageous, raw milk is still more nutritious than pasteurized milk because it contains way more nutrients and vitamins.
Studies have shown that raw milk helps children stay immune to milk allergies and asthma. It contains minerals like calcium, phosphorus, copper and iron which help to boost immunity. Apart from minerals, raw milk also contains Vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K as well as proteins like beta-lactoglobulin which help in active transport of Vitamins A and D. Perhaps, the most nutritional aspect of raw milk lies in the fact that it still contains probiotics. Probiotics are microorganisms that deliver health benefits to the body. Raw milk contains probiotics such as Lactobacillus and Pediococcus which help to inhibit the growth of harmful flora in the gastrointestinal tract.
Several Studies have also shown that these probiotics also help with lactose digestion in such a way that lactose intolerance is greatly reduced. And just so you know, raw milk contains enzymes that helps to boost your immunity against harmful infections.
With pasteurized milk, there’s a certain worry for dieticians. Beyond killing unwanted bacteria, the heat applied during pasteurization also denatures the vitamins and nutrients that the milk contains. This is why manufacturers add synthetically-produced vitamins to pasteurized milk to boost its nutritional value.
Is raw milk a good source of protein?
Protein is important to the body, as the body uses it for tissue repair, control of the immune system as well as for growth. Raw milk is a good source of protein, and it also provides the raw protein that the body needs. Raw milk contains all the essential amino acids that the body requires for its necessary function. This is why it is often referred to as a complete protein. Why do you think most protein powders are derived from milk? Ie, whey protein isolate/concentrate
A protein analysis of raw milk showed that it basically contains casein and whey protein. Note that the casein content of raw milk is higher than its whey content.
Casein is very important for muscle repair because it contains leucine, an amino acid that is important in body building through muscle protein synthesis. Leucine also helps to prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms, and to boost the immune system. Casein is also a powerful antioxidant that prevents free radicals in the body. Studies have shown that casein helps in weight loss, causing a decrease in triglyceride levels by up to 22%.
Whey protein, on the other hand, which makes up to 6% of the total protein content in raw milk contains the amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. Each of these amino acids are known as branched-chain amino acids. Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are important in bodybuilding because they help in synthesis of muscles as you exercise. The fatigue and muscle soreness that you usually encounter during bodybuilding can also be reduced by the action of BCAAs. This is why BCAAs are used in the treatment of muscle loss and liver disease.
We can all agree at this point that raw milk is good for consumption. It provides adequate amounts of protein such that your body composition as well as its function improves noticeably. In fact, studies show that raw milk prevents fractures and improves performance in geriatric patients, especially older women.
Will I get fat drinking raw milk?
Raw milk contains 8g of fat, which is approximately 3.25% of its total composition. This fat is saturated fat, which can be dangerous when consumed in high amounts. Now this does not mean that you will get fat when you consume raw milk as a part of your diet. In fact, studies show that consuming raw milk regularly helps weight loss. This means that as much as raw milk contains saturated fat which can cause certain heart diseases and other health complications, raw milk does not make you fat. And this is due to a number of reasons.
One, becoming overweight is as a result of consuming high amounts of calories than needed, as well as living a sedentary lifestyle. Raw milk contains an adequate amount of calories, but the nutritional benefits it possesses makes it easy for the calories to be used up by the body for other vital functions. It is important to note, however, that people who are hyper-responders of cholesterol should be careful when taking raw milk, as it can lead to an increase in their cholesterol level, which is highly detrimental to health. Many cholesterol hyper-responders are advised to consume low-fat milk (for obvious health reasons).
Another reason why you will not get fat drinking raw milk is that the nutritional value of cholesterol far outweighs the inherent fat content. Thus, if you include raw milk in your bodybuilding diet, you will add weight. But this weight is not related to fat. Instead, it is caused by an increase in muscle mass. This increase is caused by the carbohydrates and proteins (especially) that help you develop muscles. This approach is also used in helping underweight people add healthy weight.
Remember that if you are gaining weight from drinking raw milk, it is most likely due to the overall nutritional benefits of raw milk; not because it contains saturated fat.
Is raw milk safe?
As nutritious as raw milk is, there are still health concerns over its safety. This is because raw milk can be an ideal habitat for harmful microorganisms that can cause illnesses. This is backed by evidence, as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there have been periodic outbreaks caused by raw milk and its products causing almost 2,000 illnesses. Harmful bacteria from feces, udder and other parts of the animal producing the milk can cause these illnesses. Bacteria such as Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Campylobacter pylori, Coxiella burnetti, Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes and others are known to cause food poisoning.
Apart from the pathogens from the milk-producing animal, raw milk has a neutral pH which makes it very easy for pathogens to grow in them. The milking equipment and cans can also be a convenient habitat for these organisms to grow. If the raw milk is touched by dirty hands and within unsanitary conditions, these disease-causing bacteria also get introduced. And because raw milk is not pasteurized, the harmful bacteria continue to flourish. This is why it has been proven that the amount of pathogens in raw milk is a lot higher than what you’ll find in pasteurized milk.
The illnesses caused by these pathogens range from food poisoning (with common symptoms that include diarrhea, nausea, pain, fever and even dehydration) to other health complications such as Guillian-Barre syndrome, miscarriage, chronic inflammation, arthritis and even death. These illnesses can affect both young and old alike. Care must be taken as pregnant women, elderly people, children and immunocompromised individuals are more at risk of contracting illnesses by consuming raw milk.
Many producers of packaged raw milk ensure that the milk is produced under high sanitary conditions from milking to packaging and transporting to commercial outlets. Another good way to ensure that the milk remains healthy is by pasteurization or refrigeration.
Is raw milk better than a protein shake?
Protein shakes are beverages whose nutritional contents have been regulated to enhance nutrition. Protein shakes have a long list of health benefits, and they are majorly used for muscle repair and recovery as well as to replenish the body after workout sessions. However, most protein shakes are processed (and have a higher amount of protein) unlike raw milk which is a natural, healthy option of providing nutrients. This does not mean that raw milk is better than protein shakes, because both have the same objective of improving physical performance.
Raw milk however, should be considered as the preferred option because of the dangers of excess consumption of processed foods. It is important to note that raw milk does hold its fair share of risks as discussed in this post. So it is up to you to decide whether the better option is raw milk in its natural form or a processed whey protein.
Raw milk is quite safe as a post workout, but you must be careful to ensure that the raw milk is obtained and stored under good hygienic conditions, so you don’t have to deal with illnesses like food poisoning while trying to perfect your bodybuilding diet.