A digestion-friendly alternative
Brimming with health-promoting minerals such as calcium and potassium, goats' milk is just as nutritious - and even more digestible - than cows milk.
Brimming with health-promoting minerals such as calcium and potassium, goats’ milk is just as nutritious—and even more digestible—than cows’ milk.
Thought to be one of the first domesticated animals, goats have a long history of providing humans with nourishing milk. But while goats’ milk has been favoured over cows’ milk in most of the world for centuries, cows’ milk is still the milk of choice in many Western countries.
However, this may be changing. As research showing the value of goats’ milk as a nutrient-rich beverage with many benefits to human health grows, so does its popularity.
One advantage goats’ milk has over cows’ milk is greater digestibility by people with milk sensitivities such as lactose intolerance.
Researchers from the University of Granada believe goats’ milk’s many nutritional similarities to human milk may be behind its hypoallergenic properties. The research shows that, like human milk, goats’ milk contains less of the milk sugar, lactose, and the milk allergen, casein alpha 1, than cows’ milk, making it easier to digest.
In another preliminary study, Norwegian researchers found that when exposed to human gastric and duodenal juices, the beta-lactoglobulin in goats’ milk was digested three times faster than the beta-lactoglobulin in cows’ milk. Like casein, beta-lactoglobulin is a milk protein that can causean allergic reaction.
Other potential digestive aids found in high quantities in goats’ milk are oligosaccharides. Oligosaccharides are short-chain sugar molecules that act as a prebiotic in the intestine, feeding the healthy bacteria and suppressing the bad.
In addition to promoting healthy intestinal flora, oligosaccharides are also thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. In one animal study, researchers found the oligosaccharides in goats’ milk provided protection against colonic inflammation. This anti-inflammatory effect may be useful in treating the symptoms of irritable bowel disease.
Although goats’ milk and cows’ milk are similar in terms of mineral content, goats’ milk may pack the stronger nutritional punch.
Preliminary studies have found that the calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, and selenium found in goats’ milk are better absorbed and utilized by the body than the same minerals in cows’ milk. This higher bioavailability of minerals is showing promise in treating conditions caused by nutritional deficiencies such as anemia and bone demineralization.
The benefits of goats’ milk don’t stop there. Although evidence is still preliminary, goats’ milk may also contain properties that ward off heart disease.
Italian researchers have found goats’ milk to have the ability to stimulate the release of nitric oxide in vitro. Nitric oxide causes arteries to relax and widen, allowing blood to flow freely.
Goats’ milk is also a good source of medium-chain fatty acids, healthy fats that have been shown to keep triglyceride and cholesterol levels in check. Healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels are essential in reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Any way you would cows’ milk
Try adding it to your morning coffee, pouring it over your cereal, or mixing it into an omelette.
As a pizza topping
Creamy goat cheese such as chèvre makes a flavourful substitution or addition to traditional mozzarella.
Blend a cup of goats’ milk with a handful of your favourite fruits to make a refreshingly healthy smoothie.
With a salad
Add Dijon mustard and honey to plain goats’ milk yogourt to make a delicious dressing.
As a snack
Spread soft goat cheese on a whole wheat cracker and top with an apple slice to makea filling midday snack.
With a sweet taste and a nutritional profile that rivals cows’ milk, it’s easy to see why goats’ milk is still popular thousands of years after first being consumed.
Ready to give it a try? The following tips will help you get started.
As goats’ milk sours easily when exposed to heat, try to purchase goats’ milk from the coldest area of your grocery store’s refrigerator case. This is typically the lower section.
To get the biggest nutritional bang for your buck, look for goats’ milk fortified with vitamin A, vitamin D, and folic acid.
When possible, opt for organic goats’ milk, cheeses, yogourts, and other goats’ milk-derived products to avoid pesticide and chemical contamination.
Store goats’ milk in the back of the refrigerator. Storing the milk too close to the door may expose it to extra heat and cause it to sour.
Keep the milk container tightly closed when not in use. This will prevent surrounding food odours from tainting the milk’s taste.
Before use, smell the top of the container to make sure the milk hasn’t gone bad.
Always consume before the expiry date.
Like cows’ milk, goats’ milk can be found in many forms. Yogourt, cheese, and even ice cream made from goats’ milk can be found in most grocery or health food stores.
Another bonus—goats’ milk-derived products are often lower in calories, fat, and cholesterol than those made from cows’ milk.
Low in calories and high in many health-promoting nutrients, the numbers speak for themselves—goats’ milk is one healthy beverage.
One cup (250 mL) of goats’ milk contains:
|vitamin A||483 IU||10%|
|vitamin D||29.3 IU||7%|
|vitamin C||3.2 mg||5%|
|pantothenic acid||0.8 mg||8%|
|vitamin B6||0.1 mg||6%|
|iron||0.1 mg ||1%|
*Percentage of daily value is based on a diet of 2,000 calories per day.