New research from the University of Granada suggests goat milk can be considered natural functional food because it has many nutrients that make it similar to human milk.
The researchers suggest regular consumption of goat milk should be promoted, especially among individuals with allergy or intolerance to cow milk, malabsorption, high cholesterol levels, anemia, osteoporosis or prolonged treatments with iron supplements.
Regular consumption of goat milk by anemic patients improves their recovery because it enhances the nutritional use of iron and enhances the regeneration of hemoglobin, which means goat milk minimizes calcium and iron interactions. Conversely, it protects DNA stability, even in cases of iron overload caused by prolonged treatments with this mineral to treat anemia.
They also found goat milk has many nutrients, such as casein, that make it similar to human milk. Goat milk contains less casein alpha 1 as human milk, which is responsible for most allergies to cow milk.
“For this reason, in some countries it is used as the basis for the development of infant formula in place of cow milk”, they said.
Goat milk also has more oligosaccharides with a composition similar to that of human milk. These compounds reach the large intestine undigested and act as prebiotics. Goat milk also contains about 1 percent less lactose than cow milk and, individuals with intolerance to milk sugar can tolerate goat milk because it is easier to digest.
The essential difference between the composition of cow and goat milk stems from the nature of their fat content. Goat milk contains more essential fatty acids (linoleic and arachidonic) than cow milk. Similarly, goat milk has 30-35% medium-chain fatty acids (C6-C14) MCT, while cow milk has only 15-20%. These fatty acids are a quick source of energy and are not stored as body fat. In addition, goat milk’s fat reduces total cholesterol levels and maintains adequate levels of triglycerides and transaminases (GOT and GPT). This makes it a food of choice for the prevention of heart diseases.
They researchers noted goat milk is rich in calcium and phosphorus “it is highly bioavailable and favors their deposition in the organic matrix of bone, leading to an improvement in bone formation parameters.” It also has more zinc and selenium, which are essential micronutrients contributing to the antioxidant defense and for the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases.