Goat's Milk Benefits: Why Try This Cow Milk Substitute?

Cow's milk is the dairy beverage of choice in the industrialized world, but goat's milk is a major food source in the developing world. While there are many reasons that cow's milk is a valuable part of a healthy diet, is there any reason that goat milk products are not just as popular?

For people with an allergy to cow's milk, who have trouble digesting dairy, or who would benefit from the higher nutrient bioavailability, this cow milk substitute is worth considering. What are the health benefits of goat's milk?

Is Goat Milk Protein Different?

Some people are allergic to milk protein. While more common with young children, adults may have a dairy allergy as well. What proteins cause an allergic reaction? Is goat milk protein the same, or is this an unsung cow milk substitute?

There are several different proteins in both types of milk, and many of these compounds are similar, yet uniquely different. According to an evaluation of goat milk benefits done by the Department of Animal and Food Science at the University of Delaware, the proteins in goat milk tend to have different amino acids in the protein chains. These differences are the reason that milk from a goat has a distinct taste, different cheese making properties, and is easier to digest.

This could explain the promising results of studies on using goat's milk as a solution for a dairy allergy. In one study 49 out of 55 young children who had a milk allergy benefited from the substitution. This is not the norm; however, according to the University of Delaware report goat milk as a treatment for an allergy to cow's milk worked 30 to 40 percent of the time.

Goat's Milk Benefits for Digestion

This cow milk substitute may also be beneficial for people who have trouble digesting cow's milk. It has a slightly lower lactose content and is suggested by the National Institutes of Health as a milk product alternative for lactose intolerance. Goat's milk contains oligosaccharides (short-chain sugar molecules) that act as anti-inflammatory agents. It doesn't have to be homogenized, and it contains more medium chain fatty acids than cow's milk, which are quickly absorbed and utilized, acting as an efficient source of energy.

Nutrients Found in This Cow Milk Alternative

What are the nutritional benefits of goat's milk? Like cow's milk, it is an excellent source of calcium, with just over one-third of the daily requirement in one cup of milk. It is also a good source of tryptophan, an important amino acid for the production of seratonin. It provides phosphorus, which is used for bone and teeth health, cell growth, and normal heart rhythm, potassium for nervous system and heart health, and vitamin B2, which is necessary for immune health, metabolism, and cell growth. Goat's milk contains 8.7 grams of protein per serving — a tiny amount more than a cup of cow's milk.

What Do Goat Milk Products Taste Like?

There are health benefits of choosing goat's milk, and for people with an allergy to cow's milk or digestion problems, there is the potential for relief. What about the flavor? Do goat milk products taste good?

There is a difference in flavor as goat's milk tends to have a slightly tangy flavor. For some people, this is actually enjoyable, and for others a little time for developing an appreciation may be in order. While goat milk products are great, rich in nutrition and easy to digest, talk to your doctor before using as a cow milk substitute for very young children.

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