Goats are four legged, herbivorous animals that provide loads of benefits to their owners. Goats are one of the oldest pet animals to have been domesticated for their milk, meat and in some cases even for their fur. While a goat's meat is a popular food in various countries, its milk has been used as a nutritive food since ancient times.
Nutritive Differences Between a Cow's Milk and a Goat's Milk
For a long time, goat's milk has been compared with that of cow's milk and there has been an ongoing debate on the effectiveness of goat's milk for infants. One school of thought says that goat's milk is an effective and ideal baby food, while the other says that goat's milk is not as beneficial as has been hyped by media and milk product companies. Let's discuss the differences between a cow's milk and a goat's milk.
Varied Fat Content
Goat's milk contains 10 grams of fat per 8 ounces of milk, 2 grams more when compared to the 8 grams in cow's milk. But cow's milk also contains agglutinin, that clusters the fat globules and makes it a bit difficult to digest. Goat's milk does not contain agglutinin and so it is relatively easier to digest. Also, goat's milk is supposed to contain some essential low fatty acids, like linoleic and arachidonic acids, that are believed to be good for digestion.
When we drink milk, the stomach acids act on the protein content in the milk and form a compact mass, called the protein clumps. In the case of goat's milk, this clump is softer or in other words, it means that goat's milk forms a softer yogurt. This helps goat's milk easily transfer through an infant's stomach, who would otherwise eject cow's milk. This is why many mothers who'd rather not see their babies regurgitating cow's milk, prefer goat's milk.
It has been found through scientific studies, that both, cow's milk and goat's milk contain almost similar amount of allergic substances. However, casein protein or alpha-S1, an allergic protein is only found in minuscule traces in goat's milk unlike in cow's milk. When it comes to allergic reactions in infants, both cow's milk and goat's milk are almost equal in the allergies they cause.
Goat's milk has 4.1% lactose content whereas cow's milk has 4.7% of it. Lactose intolerance in babies may lead to symptoms of colic, loose stool, ear infections, eczema and gases.
By and large, cow's and goat's milk, contain the same amount of minerals. However, goat's milk is found to have calcium (13% more), vitamin B-6 (25% more), vitamin A (47% more) and potassium (134% more). Goat's milk contains 10% less folic acid and brands of goat's milk fulfill this deficiency by supplementing goat's milk with folic acid.
Goat's milk definitely has various advantages over cow's milk, one can conclude that it is good to include goat's milk in one's diet. However, having said that, I would also like to mention a very obvious fact, that breastfeeding is the natural and most effective option to feed an infant. No other milk or milk product can replace the benefits provided by mother's milk. No doubt, if there are some complications and emergencies, wherein the mother is unable to feed her baby, then on a pediatrician's advice goat's milk can be taken. Do visit your pediatrician before you think of any other option than mother's milk. For infants, goat's milk is not quite a popular choice in the United States, as it is in the other parts of the world. However, it is growing in popularity as studies report several health benefits of the goat's milk.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.