For many, cow milk is completely out of the question. It’s difficult to digest, high in allergens and loaded with lactose that can wreak havoc on your gastrointestinal tract. Enter goat milk, a nutrient-rich alternative that’s tasty, easy on the gut and far less inflammatory than regular cow’s milk. For these reasons, many dairy-involved diets like the Paleo, low-carb and ketosis diet recommend goat milk.
Not only is it chock-full of vitamins and minerals that your body needs, but it’s also incredibly versatile. You can easily use goat 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 tried-and-true recipes.
What Is Goat Milk? Is It Dairy?
Goat milk is a type of milk produced by goats. It’s high in many essential nutrients and is a good source of vitamins and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin and more. It’s also rich in medium-chain fatty acids. Medium-chain fatty acids are a type of heart-healthy fat that is associated with a wealth of impressive health benefits.
Like cow milk, goat milk is technically considered a type of dairy because it’s produced from a mammal. However, it’s actually a great alternative to cow milk because it’s easier to digest, less inflammatory and lower in many of the allergens that are commonly found in cow milk.
So is it safe to drink goat milk? Is goats milk better for you than other types of milk? And does goat milk make you gain weight? Keep reading for the answers to your burning questions about this particular type of milk.
Goat Milk Benefits
- Easier to Digest
- Fewer Allergens and Less Inflammatory
- High in Calcium
- Helps Reduce Cholesterol Levels
- Promotes Glowing Skin
- Enhances Nutrient Absorption
1. Easier to Digest
While the fat content of goat and cow milk is similar, the fat globules in goat milk are smaller. That makes it easier for your body to digest. (1) Once it reaches your stomach, the protein in goat’s milk forms a softer curd than cow milk . Only about 2 percent of goat’s milk is curd compared to about 10 percent in cow milk. This helps your body digest it with less irritation than cow’s milk.
Goat milk is also lower in lactose, or milk sugars, than cow milk. Because many people are lactose intolerant or have difficulty digesting the lactose in cow’s milk, goat’s milk can be a viable option. (2)
2. Fewer Allergens and Less Inflammatory
Most people who are intolerant of cow milk are actually sensitive to one of the proteins found in it, A1 casein, and lack the ability to digest it. Additionally, cow milk is the No. 1 allergy among children and can persist throughout adulthood. That’s because it contains more than 20 different allergens (including A1 casein) that can cause allergic reactions. Cow milk allergy symptoms are often confused for seasonal allergy symptoms. It’s easy to see why. Cow’s milk allergy symptoms can range from hives and runny noses to abdominal cramping and colic in babies. (3)
What’s the big deal with A1 casein? This protein is highly inflammatory for some people, and inflammation is at the root of most diseases. A1 casein can contribute to gastrointestinal issues like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s, leaky gut and colitis. It also may play a role in several less obvious problems, such as acne, autoimmune diseases and skin issues like eczema. (4, 5)
While there are some cows who don’t produce A1 casein protein, namely Jersey and Guernsey cows, the majority of bovines in the U.S., Western Europe and Australia are Holstein and Fresian, both of which are A1 casein producers.
On the contrary, milk that contains mostly or exclusively A2 casein produces none of these inflammatory effects. Goat milk contains only A2 casein. That makes it, protein-wise, the closest milk 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 milk. (6)
3. High in Calcium
While cow milk is often touted as one of the main foods high in calcium, there’s no need to worry about not getting enough of calcium when switching to goat milk. It’s actually even richer in the mineral. Goat’s milk contains about 33 percent of the daily recommended value in one cup versus 28 percent in cow milk. (7, 8)
Calcium is essential for many aspects of health. It’s especially important when it comes to bone health. In fact, over 99 percent of the calcium in your body is found in the bones and teeth. It helps boost bone mass and provides the tissue with its strength to maximize bone strength. (9)
4. Helps Reduce Cholesterol Levels
One of the top goat milk benefits for men and women alike is its therapeutic effects on heart health. This is because goat’s milk has high levels of medium-chain fatty acids. In fact, there is about 30 percent to 35 percent as opposed to 15 percent to 20 percent of medium-chain fatty acids in cow milk. Instead of being stored as body fat, these fatty acids provide an energy boost help lower cholesterol. They can even help treat conditions like coronary heart disease and intestinal disorders. (10, 11)
But wait, there’s more! Goat milk also helps increase “good” cholesterol levels while reducing the bad ones. In fact, it’s got healing properties similar to olive oil and is recommended for keeping high cholesterol in check. (12)
5. Promotes Glowing Skin
The fatty acids and triglycerides found in goat’s 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’s milk also has high levels of vitamin A. Vitamin A can improve your complexion, fight acne and improve overall skin health. (13) Meanwhile, the lactic acid found in goat milk helps rid your body of dead skin cells and promotes skin smoothness and thickness. (14)
Because goat’s milk has a pH level similar to humans, it’s absorbed by the skin with less irritation and helps keep bacteria at bay (goodbye, pimples!). For this reason, many people often add goat milk lotion and goat milk soap into their natural skin care routines.
6. Enhances Nutrient Absorption
“Moo-ve” over, cows. While goat and cow milk might rank similarly for mineral content, goat’s milk might still be the winner.
That’s because early studies found that nutrients like iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous were more easily digested and used by the body in goat’s milk than cow’s milk. Because of the bioavailability of these minerals, goat milk also looks promising for treatment of nutritional deficiencies like anemia and bone demineralization. (15) In addition, it can help address all-too-common iron deficiency and magnesium deficiency as well.
In fact, some researchers suggest that goat milk should be consumed regularly by individuals with malabsorption issues, anemia, osteoporosis or prolonged treatments with iron supplements.
Regularly consuming goat’s milk enhances the body’s ability to use iron. It also boosts regeneration of hemoglobin. Combined, this makes goat’s milk a safe and natural way to treat osteoporosis and combat anemia.
Goat Milk Nutrition
While it’s not very popular in the western world, goat milk is actually one of the most widely consumed milk drinks in the rest of the world and with good reason. It tastes great, and it’s chock-full of nutrients.
One cup (about 244 grams) of goat milk nutrition contains approximately: (16)
- 168 calories
- 10.9 grams carbohydrates
- 8.7 grams protein
- 10.1 grams fat
- 327 milligrams calcium (33 percent DV)
- 271 milligrams phosphorus (27 percent DV)
- 0.3 milligram riboflavin (20 percent DV)
- 498 milligrams potassium (14 percent DV)
- 483 international units vitamin A (10 percent DV)
- 34.2 milligrams magnesium (9 percent DV)
- 0.1 milligram thiamine (8 percent DV)
- 0.8 milligram pantothenic acid (8 percent DV)
- 29.3 international units vitamin D (7 percent DV)
- 0.1 milligram vitamin B6 (6 percent DV)
- 0.1 milligram copper (6 percent DV)
- 3.4 micrograms selenium (5 percent DV)
- 3.2 milligrams vitamin C (5 percent DV)
In addition to the nutrients listed above, goats milk also contains a small amount of vitamin B12, niacin and manganese.
As always, it’s best to start with a low amount and increase your intake slowly to assess your tolerance. If you experience any negative side effects after consuming goat milk, consider scaling back and decreasing your intake to let symptoms subside.
Keep in mind that goat milk is also not suitable for those following specific diets, like the dairy-free diet or vegan diet. For people following these diets, it’s best to opt for dairy alternatives like almond milk or oat milk instead.
Source from Dr. Axe