For many now, cow’s milk is completely out of the question. It’s hard to digest, high in allergens, and loaded with lactose that can wreak havoc on your gastrointestinal system. Goat’s milk is a nutrient-dense, tasty, gut-friendly, and much less inflammatory alternative to regular cow’s milk. For these reasons, many dairy-based diets, such as the paleo diet, the low-carb diet, and the ketosis diet, recommend goat milk.
Not only is it packed with the vitamins and minerals your body needs, but it’s also incredibly versatile. You can easily use goat’s milk to make healthy cheese, soap, smoothies, skin care products, desserts and more. It’s a great way to add a simple, nutritious twist to your favorite time-tested recipes.
What is goat’s milk?
Goat’s milk is a type of milk produced by goats. It is rich in many essential nutrients and is a good source of vitamins and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin and many more. It is also rich in medium chain fatty acids. Medium-chain fatty acids are a type of heart-healthy fat associated with a host of impressive health benefits.
Is goat’s milk a dairy product?
Like cow’s milk, goat’s milk is technically considered a type of dairy product because it is produced by a mammal. However, it is an excellent alternative to cow’s milk because it is easier to digest, less inflammatory and lower in allergens than cow’s milk.
Goat Milk Nutrition Facts
Although not very popular in the Western world, goat’s milk is actually one of the most widely consumed milk drinks in the rest of the world, and for good reason. Its taste is excellent and it is packed with nutrients.
One cup (about 244 grams) of goat’s milk contains approximately:
10.9 grams of carbohydrates
8.7 grams of protein
10.1 grams of fat
327 milligrams of calcium (33% of the daily value)
271 milligrams of phosphorus (27% of daily requirement)
0.3 milligrams of riboflavin (20% of daily intake)
498 milligrams of potassium (14% of daily intake)
483 International Units of Vitamin A (10% Daily Value)
34.2 milligrams of magnesium (9% of daily intake)
0.1 milligram thiamin (8% Daily Value)
0.8 milligram pantothenic acid (8% DV)
29.3 international units of vitamin D (7% of the daily value)
0.1 milligram vitamin B6 (6% Daily Value)
0.1 milligram copper (6% Daily Value)
3.4 micrograms of selenium (5% of daily intake)
3.2 milligrams of vitamin C (5% Daily Value).
In addition to the nutrients listed above, goat’s milk also contains a small amount of vitamin B12, niacin, and manganese.
Health benefits of goat milk
1. Easier to digest
While the fat content of goat’s milk and cow’s milk is similar, the fat globules of goat’s milk are smaller. It is therefore easier for your body to digest. Once in the stomach, the proteins in goat’s milk form a softer curd than that of cow’s milk. Only about 2% of goat’s milk is curdled, compared to about 10% for cow’s milk. This helps your body digest it with less irritation than cow’s milk. Goat’s milk is also lower in lactose, or milk sugars, than cow’s milk. Since many people are lactose intolerant or have difficulty digesting the lactose in cow’s milk, studies show that goat’s milk may be a viable option.
2. Fewer allergens and less inflammation
Most people who are intolerant to cow’s milk are actually sensitive to one of the proteins it contains, A1 casein, and lack the ability to digest it. In addition, cow’s milk is the #1 allergy in children and can persist into adulthood. Indeed, it contains more than 20 different allergens (including A1 casein) that can cause allergic reactions. The symptoms of cow’s milk allergy are often confused with those of seasonal allergy. It is easy to understand why. Symptoms of cow’s milk allergy can range from hives and runny nose to abdominal cramps and colic in babies. A1 casein is highly inflammatory for some people and may contribute to gastrointestinal issues like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, leaky gut, and colitis. It can also play a role in several less obvious issues, like acne, autoimmune diseases, and skin conditions like eczema.
In contrast, milk that contains mostly or exclusively A2 casein does not produce any of these inflammatory effects. Goat’s milk contains only A2 casein. This makes it, protein-wise, the milk closest to human breast milk. In fact, one study suggests that goat’s milk, when used as the first protein after breastfeeding, is less allergenic for babies than cow’s milk.
3. High Calcium Content
While cow’s milk is often touted as one of the top foods high in calcium, there’s no need to worry about a lack of calcium when switching to goat’s milk. In fact, it is even richer in this mineral. Goat’s milk contains about 33% of the recommended daily value in one cup, compared to 28% for cow’s milk. Calcium is essential for many aspects of health. It is especially important when it comes to bone health. In fact, over 99% of your body’s calcium is found in bones and teeth. It helps build bone mass and gives tissues their strength to maximize bone strength.
4. Helps Lower Cholesterol Levels
One of the main benefits of goat milk for men and women is its beneficial effects on heart health. This is due to the fact that goat’s milk contains high levels of medium chain fatty acids. In fact, it contains about 30-35% medium-chain fatty acids, compared to 15-20% in cow’s milk. Instead of being stored as body fat, these fatty acids provide an energy boost and help lower cholesterol. Goat’s milk also helps raise “good” cholesterol levels while lowering the bad. In fact, it has similar healing properties to olive oil and is recommended for controlling high cholesterol.
5. Glowing skin
The fatty acids and triglycerides found in goat’s milk don’t just keep your insides running smoothly, they also help you look great on the outside. Their moisturizing qualities help keep skin soft like a baby. Goat’s milk also contains high levels of vitamin A. Studies indicate that vitamin A can improve your complexion, fight acne, and improve overall skin health. Furthermore, the lactic acid present in goat’s milk helps rid your body of dead cells and promotes softness and thickness of the skin. Since goat’s milk has a similar pH to humans, it is absorbed through the skin with less irritation and helps keep bacteria at bay. For this reason, many people often add goat milk lotion and goat milk soap to their natural skin care routine.
6. Improves Nutrient Absorption
Although goat’s milk and cow’s milk have a similar ranking when it comes to mineral content, goat’s milk might just be the winner. Indeed, early studies showed that nutrients like iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus were more easily digested and used by the body in goat’s milk than in cow’s milk. Due to the bioavailability of these minerals, goat milk also shows promise for treating nutritional deficiencies such as anemia and bone demineralization. In addition, it can help remedy the all-too-common iron and magnesium deficiencies. In fact, some researchers suggest that goat’s milk should be consumed regularly by people with malabsorption problems, anemia, osteoporosis, or prolonged treatment with iron supplements. Regular consumption of goat’s milk improves the body’s ability to use iron. It also stimulates hemoglobin regeneration. All of these elements make goat’s milk a safe and natural way to treat osteoporosis and fight anemia.
So, goat’s milk or cow’s milk?
The biggest difference between goat’s milk and cow’s milk is in digestibility. Goat’s milk is easier to digest. It is therefore an excellent option for people suffering from gastrointestinal problems. Goat’s milk is also better tolerated by people with lactose problems and does not cause inflammation like cow’s milk can. It’s also a great option for children who are past the breastfeeding stage. For what ? It contains fewer allergens than cow’s milk.
However, since it is not as common, goat’s milk can be significantly more expensive than cow’s milk. Also, raw goat’s milk, which is best for you, can be hard to find outside of health food stores and farmers’ markets. Its taste and smell may also not appeal to everyone, especially those raised on cow’s milk.