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When we think ‘milk’, we think ‘cows’. Whether it was the young Krishna, or the first milk after mother’s milk, its cow’s milk that comes to mind. In fact, cow milk has been consumed since the Indus Valley civilisation, while buffalo milk has only become popular in the last 100 years or so.
Cow’s milk contains less fat than buffalo milk, and is easier to digest. That’s why it is the safest option for small children & the elderly. However, today the milk available in the market is either buffalo milk or a mixture of cow/ buffalo other milk. Because of the high fat content and creamy texture, buffalo milk is regarded as a better choice for some cheeses and processed milk products. Cows still rule the roost for milk though☺ .
1. It is a good source of Vitamins D & K, as well as calcium; three nutrients essential to bone health.
2. Cow’s milk prevents obesity as it is thinner, and has less fat content.
3. It is beneficial against breast cancer, and plays an integral role in blood clotting, muscle contraction, blood pressure regulation and cell membrane function.
4. It is a good source of iodine (a mineral essential for thyroid function) and riboflavin & vitamin B12; two vitamins that are necessary for cardiovascular health.
5. It is effective against Gout, a type of arthritis.
6. The vitamin A present in cow’s milk is necessary for the growth and development of epithelial and mucosal tissue. These tissues protect the body against toxins and invading organisms.
7. It is rich in calcium & potassium and prevents formation of kidney stones in the body.
➢ The conventional milk that you buy could be laced with urea, detergents, cheap oils, hydrogen peroxide (used as bleach!), pesticides, and even hormones!!
➢ A lot of most milk around us is synthetic (made entirely of cheap oils, detergent, urea & other harmful chemicals) or adulterated (with water or chemicals; to affect quantity, texture, quality etc.)
➢ In most conventional dairies, animals are often injected with oxytocin hormone to continue the lactation beyond normal periods. When we consume this milk, it leads to hormonal imbalance in our body. The ONLY way to ensure that our children drink pure nutritious milk is to demand organic milk.
➢ Milk from organic cattle fed on a fresh grass diet is more nutritious. Organic milk has been proved to contain more good fatty acids such as Omega- 3and conjugated linoleic acid known as CLA 9 than milk produced at intensive commercial dairy farm, and has an average 50% more vitamin E, 75% more beta carotene (which our body converts to vitamin A) and 2 to 3 times more antioxidants (lutein and zeaxanthine) than non organic milk.
➢ Since they are required to be grazed on open pastures, and fed organic grains/ grass, cows from which organic milk is produced are treated more humanely than cows from which regular milk is produced.
➢ Another important point to note is that antibiotics are not routinely used. Sick cows are given medication, and then their milk is not consumed till the antibiotics are out of their system. Conversely, in non organic farms, cows are regularly treated with antibiotics as a preventative measure. Strict Guidelines and testing are in place to measure that the milk that reaches the consumer is free of antibiotic residue.
Organic milk is wholesome. It is a natural, whole food beverage unlike most beverages packed full of artificial chemical ingredients.
Why buffalos have started replacing cows as the animal of choice?
Symbolic Value of cow milk & buffalo milk:
Traditionally, buffalo milk has been associated with strength, while cow milk is linked with stamina, health, intelligence and memory. In fact, if you notice, in advertisements or hoardings or promotional material for milk, there is often an image of a cow... hardly ever do we see a buffalo!
Did you know that the first piece of equipment to assess the quality of milk was designed to measure fat content? So by default, the fat content became an important measure of ‘quality’, and ‘nutrition’ was bypassed...here are some key reasons why buffalo milk has overtaken cow milk in popularity in the last century:
1. Commercial Value of Milk
When the British introduced Tea as a beverage in India, they brewed it with milk to suit the Indian palate. This started the shift towards buffalo milk, because it could help make twice the amount of tea compared to cow milk. So buffalo milk started to make more sense.
2. Consumption of Meat
Religious issues in India demanded that even old or non productive cows had to be taken care of. This put huge pressure on cow rearers. The buffalo offered several advantages; a larger quantity of think milk, plus no social pressure – the buffalo could be sent to the slaughter house for meat & leather.
3. Farm Mechanisation
The green revolution era introduced mechanization of farm operations, and the need for bulls and bullocks diminished.
So how are cows still around!
Despite everything the cow is still revered in India, and several goushalas or cow shelters have been established by religious or social benefactors. As many as 25% of the total cow population live here. We can support these shelters through donations, or by consuming cow milk.