Delicious with a slightly sweet and sometimes salty undertone, goat's milk is the milk of choice in most of the world. Although not popular in the United States, it can be found in markets and health foods stores throughout the year.
Unlike cow's milk there is no need to homogenize goat's milk. While the fat globules in cow's milk tend to separate to the surface, the globules in goat's milk are much smaller and will remain suspended in solution. When individuals have sensitivity to cow's milk, goat's milk can sometimes be used as an alternative.
This chart graphically details the %DV that a serving of Milk, goat provides for each of the nutrients of which it is a good, very good, or excellent source according to our Food Rating System. Additional information about the amount of these nutrients provided by Milk, goat can be found in the Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Milk, goat, featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart.
Goat's milk is a very good source of calcium and the amino acid tryptophan. It is also a good source of protein, phosphorus, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and potassium. Perhaps the greatest benefit of goat's milk, however, is that some people who cannot tolerate cow's milk are able to drink goat's milk without any problems. It is not clear from scientific research studies exactly why some people can better tolerate goat's milk. Some initial studies suggested that specific proteins known to cause allergic reactions may have been present in cow's milk in significant quantities yet largely absent in goat's milk. The alpha-casein proteins, including alpha s1-casein, and the beta-casein proteins were both considered in this regard. However, more recent studies suggest that the genetic wiring for these casein proteins is highly variable in both cows and goats and that more study is needed to determine the exact role these proteins might play in the tolerability of goat's milk versus cow's milk. Other research has found some anti-inflammatory compounds (short-chain sugar molecules called oligosaccharides) to be present in goat's milk. These oligosaccharides may make goat's milk easier to digest, especially in the case of compromised intestinal function. In animal studies, goat's milk has also been shown to enhance the metabolism of both iron and copper, especially when there are problems with absorption of minerals in the digestive tract. These factors and others are likely to play an important role in the tolerability of goat's milk versus cow's milk. Allergy to cow's milk has been found in many people with conditions such as recurrent ear infections, asthma, eczema, and even rheumatoid arthritis. Replacing cow's milk with goat's milk may help to reduce some of the symptoms of these conditions.
Goat's milk can sometimes even be used as a replacement for cow's milk-based infant formulas for infants who have difficulties with dairy products. Unfortunately, goat's milk is lacking in several nutrients that are necessary for growing infants, so parents interested in trying goat's milk instead of cow's milk-based formula for their infants should ask their pediatricians or other qualified healthcare practitioners for recipes and ways to add these important and vital nutrients. For older children and adults, however, goat's milk can be an excellent calcium-rich alternative to cow's milk as, in addition to calcium, it contains many of the same nutrients found in cow's milk.
Calcium—A Mineral for A Lot More than 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 (calledhydroxyapatite) that gives structure and strength to bones. A cup of goat's milk supplies 32.6% of the daily value for calcium along with 27.0% 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 the bone loss that can occur as a result of menopause or certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Help prevent migraine headaches in those who suffer from them
- Reduce PMS symptoms during the luteal phase (the 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 systems 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.
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