The popularity of this cow milk alternative is on the rise
Milk is one of the healthiest beverages available to us today, and though most of us reach for cow milk for our daily dose of calcium, there continues to be controversy surrounding goat milk, cow milk, and which is nutritionally superior. While both goat and cow milk contain vitamins and minerals to keep us strong and healthy, goat milk is especially nutritious, easier to digest for those with lactose sensitivities, and is a great source of bioorganic sodium.
There is no doubt that cow and dairy milk substitutes are more readily available to us than goat milk, but there is also no denying that many continue to reach for these other varieties after having a not-so-pleasant experience with goat milk. One of the common misconceptions that keeps us reaching for alternate varieties of milk is that goat milk can have a funny or “off” taste. Though it has a stronger flavour that may take some time to get used to, milk from goats that are properly raised and have closely regulated diets will taste quite similar, if not identical, to cow milk.
Because goats will eat nearly anything in their path, an unregulated diet typically causes this “off” or rancid taste in the milk, and farmers are making extra efforts to ensure that goats are raised in an open environment with little to munch on other than grass.
Calories, Fat, Sugar and Protein
Though goat milk is slightly higher in calories and fat, the fat molecules in goat milk are much smaller than the fat molecules in cow milk, making it easier to digest. Additionally, the large number of medium chain triglycerides present in goat milk assist in speeding up your metabolism and lower cholesterol levels as they break down. Goat milk has less sugar than cow milk, which means that we require less of the enzyme responsible for breaking down the naturally occurring milk sugar, known as lactose. Lastly, one cup of goat milk has an additional gram of protein over cow milk, and is a complete protein containing all of the essential amino acids.
Vitamins and Minerals
Even though cows can supply us with vitamin A, it is often in the form of carotenoids (beta-carotene), which need to be converted by the body before it can be absorbed as vitamin A. On the other hand, goat milk offers higher amounts of this vitamin and it requires no additional conversion for us to reap the benefits.
Additionally, Goat milk is higher in vitamin c, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and like cow milk, is especially high in B-vitamins like B3 (niacin) and B2 (riboflavin), which play an important role in cell metabolism. Though goat milk has received some criticism for being lower in folic acid and vitamin B12, the lower values are closer to those in human milk than cow milk – making goat milk an excellent choice for infants.
Lactose & Allergies
Good news: If you are lactose intolerant, there is a good chance that you will be able to tolerate goat milk. With nutrients similar to human milk and less lactose than cow milk, it is generally far easier to digest. Because it does not contain a substance called agglutinin that is present in cow milk, the smaller fat molecules do not cluster together, making them easier on our tummies.
Additionally, goat milk is naturally homogenized, meaning that if left to sit, it will not separate into two layers like cows milk. Thanks to this natural consistency, there is no need for an additional processing stage.
Milk allergies are mainly caused by a protein called alpha-S1 casein that is nearly absent in goat and human milk. Levels of this protein are close to 90% less in goat milk, and because it is lacking, goat milk is not only less allergenic, but is also perfect for children who have digestive issues or an intolerance to cow milk.
Aside from being nutritionally superior to cow milk, goat milk is a fantastic source of bioorganic sodium. This mineral assists in the production of important enzymes in the stomach, and a lack of this sodium can lead to digestive problems, bloating and even ulcers. In addition to balancing the enzymes in the stomach, bioorganic sodium plays an important role in keeping joints limber.