Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Whey— Golden Color, Golden Benefits

Golden in color, whey is the liquid part of milk that separates from the curd in the cheese-making process. In fact, that’s how whey was discovered—through cheese making—but there’s much more to the story, including a long history of “golden” health benefits. In fact, the healing properties of whey have been noted since antiquity. For example, Hippocrates (466-377 B.C.), the Father of Medicine, recommended whey to his patients, and Galen (131-200 A.D.) also highlighted the health powers of whey.

Truth be told, the list of those in medicine who praised whey goes on and on. They include: Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689), also known as the “English Hippocrates;” Hermann Boerhaave (1668-1738), a famous Dutch physician; Victor Albrecht von Haller (1708-1777), a Swiss biologist who is considered the father of neurology; Wilhelm Hufeland (1762-1836), a German physician who noted ways to prolong life by adopting healthier habits—to name just a few.

But what’s so special about whey, and why is it so valuable to health even today—24 centuries later?

As mentioned earlier, during the making of cheese, milk coagulates and forms a hard part called casein and a liquid part called whey, which is a transparent and golden in color. In spite of its French name petit-lait, meaning “little milk,” whey is anything but diminutive—especially when it comes to its health benefits.

For instance, whey positively affects the intestines, liver and kidneys in multiplied ways. According to Christopher Vasey, N.D., author of The Whey Prescription: The Healing Miracle in Milk, here are some primary areas in which whey works wonders: intestinal peristalsis, intestinal flora regeneration, the elimination of excess water from tissues due its potassium content, and in eliminating toxins—and general cleansing—by the kidneys.

Additionally, whey is cited as supporting a healthy bladder, blood sugar balance, energy levels, cardiovascular health, healthy blood pressure, healthy joints, skin, muscles and liver; weight management and much more.

Now, that’s a lot of golden benefits.

Body-Friendly Whey

Not only does whey boast numerous health benefits, it also provides body-friendly protein and much more—but let’s start with whey’s protein profile. Although whey has a small amount of protein in it, don’t be fooled. The proteins it has are of high biologic value because it delivers all eight of the essential amino acids—those the body can’t make. The protein in whey is also easy on the body as far as breaking it down for use.

All proteins, of course, need to be broken down for the body to use—which can often put strain on the kidneys and skin to eliminate unhealthy by-products of the breakdown of proteins. Whey, however, has what’s termed “a high utilization coefficient” of proteins, meaning that it is more “body ready” than many proteins. In other words, whey offers body-friendly proteins.

Likewise, the sugar in whey is lactose, which is easy for the body to metabolize and to use for energy. It also serves the digestive system well because lactose turns into lactic acid by the bacteria in the intestines. It also encourages the assimilation of calcium, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium because the lactic acid makes these minerals soluble at the intestinal level—making those valuable minerals easier for the body to absorb and utilize. Whey is also rich in potassium as well as many vitamins.

One last point: in order to get these golden benefits, whey needs to be in its purest, healthiest form possible—unlike most of the whey out there that’s been made almost unrecognizable and biologically inactive due to being overly processed and adulterated.