Children who drink raw milk (unpasteurised) are less likely to develop asthma and allergies compared with those who drink pasteurised milk, according to a large European study.
The researchers used data from a large survey in which parents answered questions about their children’s milk consumption. They also collected 800 milk samples from the participants’ households.
Children who drank raw milk had a 41% reduction in their risk of developing asthma, compared with children who only drank shop-bought pasteurised milk. They were also only about half as likely to develop hay fever, even after accounting for other factors that might be relevant.
The researchers believe that certain milk proteins that are destroyed by heat during pasteurisation could be helpful to children’s developing immune systems. However, they also warn that raw (unpasteurised) milk also has serious health risks due to the presence of harmful microorganisms and parents should not start giving their children raw milk.