Goat’s milk has been the milk of choice throughout most of the world for centuries, apart from most Western countries where cow’s milk has reigned supreme. But this is now changing as the health benefits of goat’s milk become more apparent.
Milk is a very important component of our diet because it is one of nature’s best sources of protein, natural calcium, magnesium and vitamin B, as well as many other important nutrients and enzymes. However, many people are allergic to, or show intolerance to cow’s milk. These allergies and intolerances manifest as eczema, asthma, migraine, runny noses, sinusitis, postnasal drip, colic and diarrhoea, hyperactivity and shortened concentration spans. Goat’s milk and goat’s milk products are natural and healthier alternatives to cow’s milk. In a survey of over 2 000 people in the United Kingdom, 70% showed an improvement in the above conditions after changing to goat’s milk and goat’s milk products. Mothers who have changed their children over have reported having ‘a completely different child’.
THE GOODNESS OF GOAT’S MILK
Goat’s milk is as close to a perfect food as is 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 mucous-producing minerals in cow’s milk.
Goat’s milk provides 13% more calcium, 25% more vitamin B6, 47% more vitamin A, and 350% more niacin than cow’s milk. It is rich in the trace element selenium (an immune system booster) and is a good source of the amino acid tryptophan. It has 134% more potassium, which is essential for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function.
Great for the gut
A strong draw card for goat’s milk is its digestibility. Both the proteins and the fat molecules in goat’s milk are much smaller than those in cow’s milk and are therefore more easily digested. Goat’s milk is digested in just 20 minutes, whereas it takes two to three hours to digest cow’s milk. Because of this easier digestibility, there is a better uptake of nutrients which is important for immune deficient people. Also noted has been an improved growth in infants. Many people on medical treatments that lead to nausea have found that they can tolerate goat’s milk. This smaller protein structure also benefits gastric ulcer sufferers. Their easy absorption means that goat’s milk products are beneficial for people who have had intestinal surgery.
Lactose intolerant? Goat’s milk could be the answer for you as it contains 7% less lactose than cow’s milk, and because the goat’s milk molecules are smaller than cow’s milk and pass through the gut wall more quickly, there is the added benefit the lactose does not have time to ferment or cause osmotic imbalance as happens with people suffering from lactose intolerance.
Goat’s milk contains four to five times more oligosaccharides (a naturally occurring prebiotic) than cow’s milk, which helps maintain a healthy balance of microflora in the gut leading to an improved immune system.
Goat’s milk alkalises the digestive system. It increases the pH level of blood because it is high in the amino acid L-glutamine which is an alkalising amino acid often recommended by nutritionists. Because of the efficient buffering capacity of goat’s milk, it is recommended in the treatment of ulcers. Not only is this fantastically healthy milk good for ulcers, but it exerts an anti-inflammatory response in the case of colitis, and is therefore thought to be useful in the management of inflammatory bowel disease.
In conclusion, if you are considering buying goat’s milk, make sure of two things:
- establish that the dairy where the milk is produced, and the plant where it is processed, both have the necessary certification from the Department of Health. This will give them the peace of mind that all the necessary farming and manufacturing processes are in place to ensure a ‘food safe’ product.
- The SAGS certification mark is a consumer’s assurance that the product is manufactured from 100% goat’s milk. Some processors do mix cow’s milk with their goat’s milk.