Few years ago, after visiting a nutritionist, was the first time that I personally came across advice to replace cow’s milk with goat’s milk to improve my health. I’ve been brought up on cow’a milk and consumed very large amounts of it during my childhood. My mother was and still is a big believer in cow’s milk and its benefits.
However, in the recent years there has been more and more research done about the fact that cow’s milk is not very good choice for humans. Even though I still continue to consume small amounts of dairy products, it does make sense why cow milk should be avoided. Since having a baby I have looked into this more closely and decided to give my daughter goat’s milk, after 6 months of breastfeeding. I’m not sure for how long I will be able to keep her in this ‘goat milk bubble’ as we are surrounded with dairy products, but will keep it up for now.
One of the main reasons I was given for why not to consume cow’s milk was due to human bodies not being able to digest it and therefore it gets accumulated in different parts of our bodies causing health problems. After being given this advice, I did drastically reduce the consumption of dairy products and I must admit I felt a lot lighter and could digest food much easier. What’s interesting is that while I lived in Italy I learnt that Italians don’t consume any coffee with milk after noon as the milk can’t be digested. So don’t be surprised if the waiter looks at you funny if you order a cappuccino in Italy after your dinner.
1. Goat’s Milk is easier to digest
Goat’s milk has smaller fat globules as well as higher levels of medium chain fatty acids. This means that during digestion, each fat globule and individual fatty acid will have a larger surface-to-volume ratio resulting in a quicker and easier digestion process. Also, when the proteins found in milk denature (clump up) in the stomach, they form a much softer bolus (curd) than cow’s milk. This allows the body to digest the protein more smoothly and completely than when digesting cow’s milk.
2. Goat’s Milk is less allergenic
One of the most common allergies in children under the of age of 3 in the United States is a dairy-allergy and it has a lot to do with a particular protein in the milk called Alpha s1 Casein. The levels of Alpha s1 Casein are about 89% less in goats milk. – which is one of the main reasons why people who have dairy sensitivities may get away with consuming goats milk as an alternative.
3. Goat’s Milk is naturally homogenized
Homogenized simply means “to make uniform in consistency.” Fresh cows milk, if left sitting on the shelf, will naturally separate where the fat will float to the top – something that we find to be less desirable. To avoid this lumpy texture, we process our milk to homogenize it. The great thing about goats milk, is that it’s naturally homogenized – smooth and consistent without it undergoing a man-made process.
The problem with such homogenization is that once the cell wall of the fat globule has been broken, it releases a superoxide (free radical) known as Xanthine Oxidase.
4. Goat’s Milk contains less lactose
Goat’s milk contains less lactose than cow’s milk and therefore is easier to digest for those suffering from lactose intolerance. Now the interesting aspect to consider is that goat’s milk isn’t much lower than cow’s milk (contains about 10% less than cow’s milk) and yet, countless lactose intolerant patients are able to thrive on goat’s milk. If you are lactose intolerant and unable to drink cow’s milk then there is a 50% chance that you will be able to tolerate goat’s milk.
5. Goat’s milk matches up to the human body better than cow’s milk
This matter is both an issue of biochemistry as well as thermodynamics. Regarding the biochemistry of the issue, we know that goat’s milk has a greater amount of essential fatty acids such as linoleic and arachidonic acid than cow’s milk as well as significantly greater amounts of vitamin B-6, vitamin A, and niacin.
Thermodynamically speaking, goat’s milk is better for human consumption. A baby usually starts life at around 7-9 pounds, a baby goat (kid) usually starts life at around 7-9 pounds, and a baby cow (calf) usually starts life at around 100 pounds. Now speaking from a purely thermodynamic position, these two animals have very significant and different nutritional needs for both maintenance and growth requirements. Cow’s milk is designed to take a 100 pound calf and transform it into a 1200 pound cow. Goat’s milk and human milk were both designed and created for transforming a 7-9 pound baby/kid into an average adult/goat of anywhere between 100-200 pounds.
Particularly for this reason I have opted for goat’s milk for my daughter. It just seems to have more similarities to mother’s breast milk, even though of course mother’s milk is still unbeatable. However, not everyone is as lucky to be able to breastfeed their child until they are 1 year old or so, due to many different reasons.
As cow’s milk is part of a big commercial money-making machine, it is even more harmful these days as it is loaded with chemicals which are pumped into cows to make them produce more milk. Fifty years ago an average cow produced 2,000 pounds of milk per year. Today the top producers give 50,000 pounds! How was this accomplished? Drugs, antibiotics, hormones, forced feeding plans and specialized breeding; that’s how. I remember when I was young we would buy fresh, unpasteurized milk whenever possible, but today that is pretty much unheard of in most households. I don’t want to go into details about what are the health side effects of consuming cow’s milk as there is still lots of controversy around it.
I know it is not easy to completely avoid cow dairy products, and goat milk can be quite expensive and not so accessible, but if you get a chance to switch you will get many health benefits. In Malaysia, I didn’t have much choice when it came to selecting goat milk baby formulam so I went with Karihome brand and it turned pretty good so far and my baby seems to love it.