As the milk is derived from goats, rather than the more common source of milk in most countries, cows, it may be harder to acquire in terms of availability in some parts of the world.
The impressive health benefits of goat milk and the recent research into its positive effects on the human body have made it a very popular choice in recent years.
Although goats only produce about 2% of the global milk supply, it is cheaper to process, due to it not requiring homogenization (the small fat molecules do not separate and remain suspended in the cream).
Certain studies have recommended that goat milk should not be given to very young children.
Due to their unique nutritional needs in their developmental stages, but as we age, the chemical composition and impact of goat milk on the body is actually preferable to the effects of cow milk.
For example, people who suffer from lactose intolerance. Digest goat milk far better than cow milk due to its higher levels of beneficial fatty acids (twice that of cow milk).
Goat milk is commonly processed into cheese, butter, ice cream, and yogurts, many of which are considered delicacies due to their high buttermilk content and rich consistency.
While the prevalence of cow milk is not likely to fade in the near future, it is important to understand that there are other options out there if you’re interested in increasing your overall health.
This is not meant to say that cow milk is “bad” for you, but if you’re willing to put in a bit of extra effort to find goat milk, you might be surprised at the beneficial effects you experience.
There are nearly twice as many beneficial fatty acids in goat milk as can be found in cow milk, which means that our cholesterol balance can be helped significantly by goat milk.
By balancing our essential fatty acids in the body, we can prevent atherosclerosis, strokes, heart attacks, and other coronary complications.
The high potassium levels in goat milk also help to reduce blood pressure.
As potassium is a vasodilator that relaxes blood vessels and relieves tension on the cardiovascular system.
Easy To Digest
Goat milk contains a similar amount of fat to cow’s milk nut the fat molecules are much smaller making it much easier for you to digest it well.
Goat milk is also made up of just 2% curd compared to the 10% curd content in cow’s milk and the protein forms a softer type of curd which makes it far more digestible for your body.
People with mild forms of lactose intolerance may also benefit from goat milk. It contains less lactose than cow’s milk so people who have difficulties digesting regular milk may view goat’s milk as a viable alternative.
Inflammation is a necessary immune response, but when the body is overtaxed by toxins from bad food, environment, lack of sleep, poor lifestyle habits or too much stress, chronic inflammation can become a deadly threat to your health. In fact, it’s associated with nearly all disease.
The best way to arm your body against illness is to feed it well.
An animal study in 2006 found that goat’s milk contains powerful anti-inflammatory molecules called oligosaccharides. In short, these useful carbs were shown to
- Prevent pro-inflammatory bacteria from collecting on stomach and intestinal lining;
- reduce bacterial “translocation,” which can trigger the severe and potentially deadly inflammatory response known as sepsis;
- Promote the growth of healthy “friendly” bacteria (prebiotic). Friendly bacteria are crucial for healthy digestion, immune function, weight loss/obesity-prevention, insulin sensitivity, diabetes-prevention and more.
According to research, goat dairy contains a “relatively high concentration” of prebiotic oligosaccharides as compared to bovine.
Improves Lactose (Milk Sugar) Tolerance
People have trouble with pasteurized milk because the heating process destroys milk’s natural enzymes, such as lactase which breaks down lactose.
Raw, unprocessed goat’s milk contains less lactose than raw cow’s milk and provides the lactase necessary to break the milk sugar down.
That may help to explain why many of us “lactose intolerant” folk have no problem consuming raw goat dairy.
The GI is packed with a great army to strengthen and protect all of the body’s systems, but we’re not talking about the armed forces.
Rather, we’re talking about the gastrointestinal tract (GI) which includes the stomach and intestine. And which helps to regulate the entire digestive process.
People who experience discomfort from cow’s milk often have an easier time digesting raw dairy from goats. (I do!) It’s associated with fewer incidences of gas, bloating and diarrhea.
Low In Cholesterol
When you think about milk, your mind immediately thinks about calcium and you may be concerned that drinking less milk will have a negative impact.
However, you may be surprised that goat’s milk which provides you with 33% of your recommended daily value actually contains even more calcium than cow’s milk which offers 28%.
When it comes to heart health, goat’s milk can have a very positive impact. Studies have demonstrated that not only does goat milk help reduce bad cholesterol levels but it can actually increase the good variety of cholesterol in your blood.
A Complete Protein
A complete, or “whole,” protein has the right amount of all essential amino acids, which, by definition, our bodies can only get through diet.
An “incomplete” protein may also have all the necessary amino acids but in insufficient proportion.
Raw goat’s milk contains all essential amino acids in the optimal amounts, making it a complete protein, vital for carrying out countless biological processes from digestion to transporting nutrients and building tissue.
Goat Milk vs. Cow Milk
So how does goat milk stack up against cow milk? Take a peek at our cheat sheet:
When you look at how your digestive system works.
You can see how a gut problem like leaky gut can so easily crop up. Fortunately, goat milk is easily digestible by the body, making it a great option for those with gastrointestinal problems.
Goat milk is also better tolerated by those with lactose issues and doesn’t cause inflammation the way cow milk can.
It’s also a great option for children once they’ve moved past breastfeeding, as it contains fewer allergens than cow milk.
Because it’s not as common, goat milk can be substantially more expensive than cow milk, causing sticker shock at the onset.
Raw goat milk, the best for you, can be difficult to find outside of health food stores and farmers markets.
The taste and smell might not also be pleasing to everyone, particularly those raised with cow milk.
Regular cow milk is cheap and can be found everywhere.
If you manage to get your hands on A2 casein cows’ milk from Jersey and Guernsey cows. You can enjoy many of the benefits enjoyed by goat milk drinkers, an excellent option for those who just can’t get used to the taste of goat milk.
For people who can’t give up their cow milk, I highly recommend raw milk over pasteurized milk. The raw milk benefits include skin health, fewer allergies and weight loss.
A2 cow milk is difficult to come by in many areas and usually has the price tag to prove it. And whether it’s A1 or A2, cow milk is still more difficult for the body to digest. Taking hours versus about 30 minutes with goat milk. For those with cow milk allergies — and this is a big group — this type of milk just isn’t an option.
If you have any gastrointestinal issues, leaky gut or irritable bowel syndrome, you might want to keep away from cow milk anyway.
But What About Sheep’s Milk?
There is another animal contender on the milk block — sheep. This creamy milk is quite similar to goats’ milk; in fact, in many cases, it’s healthier.
One cup of sheep milk contains more calcium, carbohydrates and protein than its goat counterpart. Sheep milk is also higher in many vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12, vitamin C, folate and magnesium than both goat and cow milk.
Like goats’ milk, sheep’s milk is easily digestible by the body. Thanks to small fat globules that make it easier on your digestive tract.
It contains similar levels of short- and medium-chain fatty acids as goat milk, so it’s less irritating. And those who can’t get used to the taste of goat milk might prefer sheep milk; it’s less tangy.
So why isn’t everyone gulping down sheep milk? Its high fat content is a turnoff for many. While the fats are mainly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (i.e. good-for-you fats), one cup contains almost double the amount as cow and goat milk, a concern for those watching their fat intake.
Sheep milk is much harder to find as well. While goat milk is slowly making its way onto supermarket shelves, your best bet for buying sheep milk is still your local farmers’ market. If you are able to buy it, you can freeze sheep milk and unfreeze as needed; the flavor will remain the same.
Can’t get your hands on sheep milk? Eat your cheese! Some of the most popular Mediterranean types, like feta, Rocquefort, Manchego, Pecorino Romano and ricotta are all made from the animal. Sheep yogurt is also becoming more popular; keep your eyes peeled for that in stores.
Here are some ways to use goats milk:
- Drink goat milk
- Pour goat milk on cereal or granola
- Goat Milk Yogurt
- Goat Milk Cheese
- Goat Milk Fudge