Is goat's milk a functional food? Find out what researchers recently found out about goats milk
Goat’s milk products like goats cheese have been around for consumers across the country to enjoy for years. Other products like (goat’s milk) yogurt and goat’s milk are just finding their way into specialty stores and some chains across the country, and for good reason – as research from the University of Granada has recently revealed.
We know that goat’s milk has a similar fat, protein and carbohydrate content as regular cow’s milk. It contains slightly lower levels of lactose (4.1 percent vs. 4.7 percent in cow’s milk), which may be an advantage for those who are lactose-intolerant. Goat’s milk also contains more calcium, as well as higher levels of vitamin B6, vitamin A, potassium and niacin as compared to cow’s milk.
Researchers at the University of Granada’s Department of Physiology and Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology say they have proven that goat’s milk has even more nutritional characteristics that are beneficial to health.
The researchers say that the regular consumption of goat milk by individuals with iron deficiency anemia improves their recovery. They found that it enhances the nutritional use of iron and the regeneration of the red blood cells that carry oxygen (hemoglobin).
Goat milk contains less casein alpha 1, which is responsible for most allergies to cow’s milk. Researchers point out that "in some countries it is used as the basis for the development of infant formula in place of cow milk (because of allergies)."
Additionally, goat’s milk contains a significant amount of oligosaccharides, which act as prebiotics in the intestines. Prebiotics help develop probiotic flora, thus creating a healthy intestinal environment, keeping the bad bacteria out.
What about the fat content? The nature of the fat content of goat’s milk is what really sets it apart. Goat milk contains more essential fatty acids (linoleic and arachidonic, both omega 6) than cow’s milk. Similarly, goat’s milk has 30-35 percent medium-chain fatty acids, while cow milk has only 15-20 percent. These fatty acids are a quick source of energy and are not stored as body fat. In addition, the fat in goat's milk is thought to reduce total cholesterol levels and maintain adequate levels of triglycerides. This makes it a good food of choice for the prevention of heart diseases.
University of Granada researchers also point out that goat's milk is rich in highly bioavailable calcium and phosphorus- leading to an improvement in the body's environment for bone formation. It also has more zinc and selenium, which are essential micronutrients contributing to the antioxidant defense and for the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases.
For all of these reasons and more, goat’s milk is definitely a healthy swap for those who drink milk, eat yogurt and cheese, and are looking to boost the healthfulness of their meals. Goat's milk products have a slightly more tangy flavor, so it may need some getting used to!