Goat’s milk has also been used for treatment of ailments by Chinese physician as far back as 2000 over years. It had been recorded in the Chinese epic during the Ming dynasty and many other traditional Chinese medicinal literatures. Till now, Chinese believe goat’s milk to be an excellent beverage to general health, and it was employed to address conditions of the throat and windpipe. In 1970, the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization published “Observations on the Goat,” a book that provided many useful insights into the history and benefits of goat’s milk.
Goat’s Milk Health Benefits
Goat Milk is as close to perfect food as possible in nature. Its chemical structure is amazingly similar to mother’s milk. It is a complete protein containing all the essential amino acids without the heavy fat content and catarrh (mucus) producing materials of cow’s milk. Goat’s milk is not only non-mucus forming but also helps to neutralize mucus.
Goat’s Milk and Digestibility
Goat’s milk offers superior digestibility to cow milk, due to the following factors:
1. Size of fat globules: The fat globules of goat’s milk are finer than those of cow milk, allowing for a greater surface to volume ratio for enzymatic attack. This enables the fat of goat’s milk to be broken down and digested more easily.
2. Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT): Goat’s milk has more MCT's than cow’s milk. Lipases attack the ester linkages of the shorter-chain fatty acids more readily, enabling more rapid digestion. MCT's are metabolically unique in that they can be absorbed by a simpler mechanism than other fatty acids. MCT's, which are higher in goat’s milk than cow’s milk, have a unique ability to provide energy to the human metabolism, as well as an ability to lower, inhibit and dissolve cholesterol deposits.
3. Curd strength. Goat’s milk casein forms a less tough and more friable curd than the casein of cow’s milk. This means the digestive enzymes can break it down more rapidly. Alpha-S1 casein is the main casein in cow’s milk and this contributes to the firmer curd; goat’s milk contains low levels of alpha-S1 casein.
The lactase enzyme provides for the digestion of lactose, or milk sugar. Persons who do not possess this enzyme are lactose-intolerant. Goat’s milk contains less lactose than cow’s milk, and people can generally tolerate goat’s milk better than cow’s milk.
Goat’s Milk and Allergies
Whether goat’s milk can be tolerated better than cow’s milk, will depend on the specific protein involved in the allergy. Most people with a cow’s milk protein allergy are allergic to b-lactoglobulin. This protein is also present in goat’s milk and does not offer these people an alternative. It is worth, however, trying goat’s milk as an alternative to cow’s milk, in consultation with your doctor.
Goat’s Milk and Respiratory Complaints
Drinking goat’s milk results in the production of less mucus than when drinking cow’s milk. This can provide relief to people suffering from respiratory complaints.
Goat’s Milk and Strong Bones
Goat’s Milk is a very good source of calcium. Calcium is widely recognized for its role in maintaining the strength and density of bones. In a process known as bone mineralization, calcium and phosphorus join to form calcium phosphate. Calcium phosphate is a major component of the mineral complex (called hydroxapatite) that gives structure and strength to bones. A cup of goat’s milk supplies 32.6% of the daily value for calcium along with 27% of the DV for phosphorus. In comparison, a cup of cow’s milk provides 29.7% of the DV for calcium and 23.2% of the DV for phosphorus.
Building bone is, however, far from all that calcium does for us. In recent studies, this important mineral has been shown to:
- Help protect colon cells from cancer-causing chemicals.
- Help prevent bone loss that can occur as a result of menopause or certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
- Help prevent migraine headaches.
- Reduce PMS symptoms during luteal phase (second half) of the menstrual cycle.
Calcium also plays a role in many other vital physiological activities, including blood clotting, nerve conduction, muscle contraction, regulation of enzyme activity, cell membrane function and blood pressure regulation. Because these activities are essential to life, the body utilizes complex regulatory system to tightly control the amount of calcium in the blood, so that sufficient calcium is always available. As a result, when dietary intake of calcium is too low to maintain adequate blood levels of calcium, calcium stores are drawn out of the bones to maintain normal blood concentrations.
Goat’s milk is a good source of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Since a cup of goat’s milk contains 498.7mg of potassium and only 121.5mg of sodium, goat’s milk may help to prevent high blood pressure and protect against arteriosclerosis.
Goat’s Milk and Energy Producing Riboflavin
Goat’s milk is a very good source of riboflavin, a B vitamin important for energy production. Riboflavin (vitamin B2) plays at least two important roles in the body’s energy production. When active in energy production pathways, riboflavin takes the form of flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) or flavin mononucleotide (FMN). In these forms, riboflavin attaches to protein enzymes called flavoproteins that allow oxygen-based energy production to occur. Flavoproteins are found throughout the body, particularly in locations where oxygen-based energy production is constantly needed, such as heart and other muscles.
Riboflavin’s other role in energy production is protective. The oxygen-containing molecules the body uses to produce energy can be highly reactive and can inadvertently cause damage to the mitochondria (the energy production factories in every cell) and even cells themselves. In the mitochondria, such damage is largely prevented by a small protein-like molecule called glutathione. Like many “anti-oxidant” molecules, glutathione must be constantly recycled, and it is vitamin B2 that allows this recycling to take place.
The composition of goat’s milk does not differ greatly from that of cow’s milk. Both kinds contain about 13% dry solids. Milk sugar, also known as lactose, is the main constituent of goat’s milk. The other main ingredients of goat’s milk are milk fat, protein, and minerals. One hundred ml of goat’s or cow’s milk has a calorific value of about 280kJ (67 kcal). The composition of the milk depends largely on the breed of goat and the season. In the summer the milk yield is high, and the fat and protein contents are low. Conversely, in the winter the milk yield is low, and the fat and protein contents are higher.
Lactose is the most important carbohydrate present in milk. The lactose content of goat milk is about 10% lower than that of cow milk.
Milk protein is comprised of about 80% caseins and 20% whey proteins. This is applicable to both cow’s milk and goat’s milk. The caseins are present in the form of micelles: these are large aggregates of protein and calcium phosphate. The number of small micelles is much greater in goat milk than cow milk.
The fatty-acid composition of goat’s milk exhibits substantial differences from that of cow’s milk. Goat’s milk fat contains a considerable amount of short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids. The seasonal variation in the fatty-acid composition is lower than that of cow’s milk. This is due to the relatively consistent diet fed to goats. Goat’s milk contains a far larger number of small fat globules than cow’s milk.
Goat’s milk has a cholesterol content of between 10 and 15 mg/100 g milk (depending on the fat content), comparable to the levels in cow’s milk.
Goat’s milk contains more vitamin A and D than cow’s milk. The folic acid and vitamin B12 content is lower than that of cow’s milk.
The composition of minerals in goat’s milk and cow’s milk are different in a few ways. The potassium, copper and manganese content of goat’s milk are a little higher than those in cow’s milk. Goat’s milk contains a little less zinc than cow’s milk.
Interesting Facts on Goat’s Milk
Bioorganic sodium is known in Naturopathic Medicine as the youth element. Arthritis does not come with old age. It is lack of this essential mineral that brings on the symptoms of old age. The highest source of bioorganic sodium is found in goat’s milk. It is the sodium that keeps the goats young, active, flexible, and limber all of their lives. There are no old goats in the human sense. They can climb, jump, leap, and walk all their lives because bioorganic sodium is the joining mobilizing material that makes this possible.
Goat’s milk is one of the best food medicines for rebuilding the brain, nervous system, and mental faculties. Goat’s milk is one of the finest foods for generating the cells of the body and bringing a person back to health.