This post was originally published at My Animal, My Health and has been republished with permission.
When you consider milk and milk production, your first thoughts would be that of milk produced from cows. There is no doubt that cows are the predominant sources of milk worldwide, however goat milk are also widely consumed in various regions of the world. This map here provides an interactive graph showing geographical distribution of locations where goat milk is produced. On observation, it will be surprising to note that there is zero goat milk production in Nigeria. This indicates that there is really no milk production in Nigeria or it could be that related data which might prove the occurrences of goat milk production is completely non-existent.
Generally, cows have a much higher milk yield than goats and in a lot of regions, goats are considered the “poor man’s cow”. This is because goats are mostly reared by subsistence farmers of low socioeconomic status in tropical regions and they remain their major source of milk and meat. Because these resource-poor farmers are generally politically and economically marginalized, it has unfortunately led to goat farming and milk production receiving little or no attention from policy makers, scientists and researchers. In such regions, goat milk is usually produced for household consumption and may sometimes be traded within the communities. Fortunately in our present times, the role of goats is being increasingly realized and appreciated due to their high adaptability to a wide array of environmental conditions, feed resources and higher benefits from their milk.
Benefits of Goat Milk
Goat’s milk offers a wide variety of health benefits, with very few of the negative side effects associated with drinking regular cow milk. Goat milk is full of nutrients which include carbohydrates, saturated fat, protein, cholesterol, sugars, sodium, minerals (Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Zinc), and vitamins (A, B2, C and D). The various health benefits of consuming goat milk especially in comparison with cow’s milk are listed below;
It is easier to digest
Though the fat content of cow and goat milk is similar, the fat globules in goat milk are smaller and this makes it easier for your body to digest it. The protein in goat milk forms a softer curd than cow milk when it gets to your stomach because only about 2 percent of goat milk is curd, compared to about 10 percent in cow milk. This helps your body digest it with less irritation than cow milk and will give you better health and comfort. Also, goat milk is lower in lactose than cow milk, so it is a viable option for people that have trouble digesting cow milk. Another main health benefit of goat milk is that it has a chemical make-up that is closer to human mother’s milk than cow’s milk. Therefore, it is easier to digest and assimilate in the human body.
It causes less inflammation or allergies
Cow milk is one of the major sources of allergy in children and this can persist throughout adulthood. Most people who are intolerant of cow milk are actually sensitive to A1 casein and more than 20 different allergen found in cow milk. These allergens and proteins cannot be digested by those susceptible to it. Also, it causes allergic reactions such as runny noses, abdominal cramps and colic
On the contrary, goat milk which contains mostly A2 casein protein and is the closest to breast milk produces none of these inflammatory effects. In fact, some recommend it as a great option for children once they’ve moved past breastfeeding, as it contains fewer allergens than cow milk.
3. Lower in Lactose
Goat milk typically contains slightly less lactose and can be easier digested than cow milk. Since the amount of lactose that people can tolerate caries, some people with lactose intolerance may be able to enjoy goat milk without any repercussions.
4. It is high in calcium and fatty acids
Though cow milk is often acclaimed as one of the main calcium-rich foods, goat milk is actually richer in calcium with about 33 percent of the daily recommended value versus 28 percent in cow milk. Three servings of goats’ milk products can provide more than 100% of an adult’s reference intake of calcium. Calcium is essential for the development and maintenance of bones and teeth, to help against the onset of osteoporosis. It may also aid weight control by helping breakdown body fat as part of a calorie controlled diet. So, as many people worry that they need to drink cow milk for calcium intake and the prevention of bone loss, goat milk offers a viable option with high amounts of calcium, the amino acid tryptophan, and much less side effects of drinking cow’s milk.
5. Naturally lower in cholesterol
Goat milk is naturally slightly lower in cholesterol than cow milk, making it a good alternative for people who are watching their cholesterol or saturated fat intake. Goat milk also has high levels medium-chain fatty acids at 30–35 percent as opposed to 15–20 percent in cow milk. These fatty acids provide an energy boost that isn’t stored as body fat, help lower cholesterol, and can even help treat conditions like coronary diseases and intestinal disorders. Goat milk also helps to increase “good” cholesterol levels while reducing the bad ones. It is highly recommended for keeping high cholesterol in check.
It keeps your skin looking good
The fatty acids and triglycerides found in goat milk not only keep your insides running smoothly, but they help you look great on the outside, too. Their moisturizing qualities help keep skin baby soft. Goat milk also has high levels of vitamin A, which can improve your complexion, fight acne and improve overall skin health. In fact, it should be considered one of the home remedies for acne. The lactic acid found in goat milk helps rid your body of dead skin cells and brighten skin tone. Because goat milk has a pH level similar to humans, it’s absorbed by the skin with less irritation and helps prevent bacteria that may cause pimples.
It absorbs nutrients and minerals better than cow milk
While goat and cow milk might rank similarly for mineral content, goat milk might still be the winner. This is because nutrients like iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous are more easily digested and used by the body in goat milk than cow milk. Goat milk also looks promising for treatment of nutritional deficiencies like anemia and bone demineralization and can help address iron and magnesium deficiency. Regularly consuming goat milk enhances the body’s ability to use iron and boosts regeneration of hemoglobin, making it a safe and natural way to treat osteoporosis and combat anemia. Its high levels of zinc and selenium also help prevent neuro-degenerative diseases.
It has been said that Mahatma Ghandi rejuvenated his own health after his extremely long periods of fasting by drinking raw goat’s milk. So, with all these amazing benefits, it is a great loss to us that we don’t produce much of goat milk for commercial consumption in Nigeria. A business establishment in this areas would have high potential if the management, production and packaging is done with implemented quality standards. Remember that goat rearing are easier to set up than cows as they requires far less space and food.
So think about it! Would you like to drink some goat milk?
Or would you like to produce/sell goat milk?
References: FAO, Prevention.com, Organic facts, Dr Axe, St Helens Farms