Dr. Debojyoti Borkotoky
SMS (Animal Science), Krishi Vigyan Kendra, ICAR-NRC on Mithun
When it comes to producing milk most people right away think of a dairy cow. First and foremost fact which large population is not aware of is that goat milk is quite similar to human mother’s milk in its chemical component. Goats milk is equally nutritious and a much healthier alternative. As stated in the Journal of American Medicine, “Goat milk is the most complete food known.” It contains protein, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, trace elements, enzymes and fatty acids. Gandhiji although he had vowed not to take milk, he was compelled to add goat milk to his diet to recover from a serious ailment. The basic composition or macro-nutrients in milk varies from species to species of animals. Goat milk offers wide variety of health benefits. There are several reasons which explain the advantage of goat milk.
1. Aids in digestion and causes less allergies and inflammation: Studies on goat milk has put forward that goat milk proteins are digested nearly three times faster than cow milk proteins. Most people who are intolerant of cow milk are actually sensitive to one of the proteins found in it. People with this lactose intolerance are able to drink goat milk without any health problem. This is due to the distinctive enzymatic make-up of goat milk that aids absorption and soothes inflammation in the gut. Goat milk has an increased ability to metabolize iron and copper, particularly amongst individuals with digestion and absorption problems. There is research suggesting that a primary benefit of goat milk is that it may reduce inflammation. Goat milk is easier for people with bowel inflammation to drink, instead of cow’s milk. Cow’s milk is high in fat, which may increase mucous build-up. Goat milk has an anti mucosal property. Because it has a chemical makeup that is much closer to human milk, it is easier to digest and assimilate in the human body.
2. Growth and Development: Goat milk is a very rich source of protein. Protein plays an essential role in growth and development, as they are the building blocks of cells, tissue, muscle and bone. By ensuring a proper availability of protein, it guards our metabolic processes and stimulates growth and overall good health.
3. ‘Smaller’ Fat and High in Fatty Acids: Goat milk is naturally homogenized. Fat content of cow and goat milk is though similar, the fat globules in goat milk are smaller. This makes goat’s milk easier to digest. In a study on infants, there was a 5% greater absorption of fat from the goat milk diet. While cow’s milk has about 17% fatty acids, goat’s milk averages 35% fatty acids, making it more nutritionally healthy. These fatty acids provide an energy boost that isn’t stored as body fat, help lower cholesterol, and can even help prevent atherosclerosis, strokes, heart attacks, and other coronary complications. Goat milk helps increase “good” cholesterol levels while reducing the bad ones.
4. High Calcium and other minerals and Vitamins: Goat milk is far more nutrient-dense than cow milk. Because of the bioavailability of these minerals and vitamins, goat milk is a promising food for prevention and treatment of nutritional deficiencies like anemia and bone demineralization. Goat milk offers high amounts of calcium. In addition, it can help address common iron and magnesium deficiency. In fact, researchers suggest that goat milk should be consumed regularly by individuals with anemia, osteoporosis, malabsorption problems or iron deficiencies. The high potassium levels in goat milk help to reduce blood pressure, as potassium is a vasodilator that relaxes blood vessels and relieves tension on the cardiovascular system. A good amount of phosphorus in goat milk helps build strong bones and teeth while iodine helps keep our thyroid and metabolic rate healthy. Vitamin B5 (or pantothenic acid is needed for the release of energy from food) and biotin (a B-vitamin which is important for a healthy nervous system) is available in high proportion in goat milk. Goat milk also has high levels of vitamin A, which can improve our complexion, reduce acne and improve general skin health. The lactic acid found in goat milk helps rid your body of dead skin cells and brightens skin.
5. May Boost Immune System: Trace amounts of selenium are found in cow milk, but there is significant amount of selenium in goat milk. Selenium is an essential trace mineral and is a key component in immune system that makes it strong and function normally. It helps us to protect ourselves from illness and guard infections better. Consuming goat milk regularly enhances the body’s ability to use iron and boosts regeneration of hemoglobin- a safe and natural way to treat osteoporosis and combat anemia. Its high levels of zinc and selenium also help prevent neurodegenerative diseases.
6. Natural medicine: Goats are referred to as bioorganic sodium animals in naturopathic medicine. Goat milk is a rich source of organic sodium. Organic sodium is the excellent and only necessary form of sodium that the body needs in order to maintain skeletal, nervous, muscular system and digestive health. They are also associated with vigor, energy and flexibility. Goat milk has traditionally been used as medicine to nourish and rejuvenate an exhausted or stressed out nervous system. One glass of goat milk has almost 35% of your daily needs for calcium and 20.0% of riboflavin. Add to that high amount of phosphorous, Vitamin B12, protein and potassium provides invaluable health benefits.
7. Ideal milk for young, old and the Sick: Goat milk has more oligosaccharides than cow milk, with an amount similar to human milk. These act as prebiotics in the gut and may help to maintain the health of the digestive tract by encouraging the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. The nutrient composition of goat milk becomes more appropriate for growing children for proper development, for old people to maintain vigour and energy and the sick for swift recovery. However, nutritionist recommends not to give goat milk to children immediately once they stop breast or bottle-feeding. It is wise to begin with cow milk.
Goat milk is undoubtly richer than the average milks that enriches our body, health and mind. Goats make wonderful farm animals that demands less room and feed. They are also easy to manage and is a viable option as the dairy cow. By supporting goat production, we proffer an active and a healthy future generation.