Goat Milk: Are There Health Benefits?

Goat milk is the most commonly consumed type of dairy in the world. In fact, 65% to 72% of all dairy consumed globally is goat milk. This is partially due to the ease of keeping goats as opposed to cows in developing countries, where goat milk is an important source of calories, protein, and fats. In many countries, people express a preference for goat milk over cow milk.

Goat milk is thicker and creamier than cow milk or plant milks, and goat milk has more nutrients that may offer health benefits. For example:

If you’re considering drinking goat milk, it’s important to understand the benefits it can provide.

Nutrition Information

A one-cup serving of whole goat milk contains:

Goat milk is an excellent source of:

  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus 
  • Magnesium

Goat milk is also an excellent source of vitamin A. Studies show that consuming enough vitamin A can help reduce your risk of cataracts, certain forms of cancer, and even help children fight off measles. 

Potential Health Benefits of Goat Milk

Goat milk is not just a specialty beverage. Depending on your lifestyle, goat milk may be a better choice than cow or plant milk, as it offers a number of advantages: 

High in Digestible Protein

Compared to standard cow milk, soy milk, or nut milks, goat milk has more protein per serving. And, the protein in goat milk appears to be more digestible, meaning your body can use it more easily. Goat milk also contains significantly more protein than almond milk or rice milk.

May Not Provoke Milk Allergies

Some people with allergies to cow milk may find that goat milk doesn’t trigger their allergies. A study found about one in four babies who were allergic to cow milk weren’t allergic to goat milk. If you have an allergy to dairy, you can ask your doctor to test if you can safely tolerate goat milk. If you know you have a dairy allergy, you shouldn’t consume goat milk without asking your doctor. 

Managing Cholesterol Levels

Goat milk may help reduce cholesterol levels in people with high blood cholesterol. Studies have shown that goat milk can help reduce cholesterol in the arteries and gallbladder. This can help people with high cholesterol levels control their cholesterol more easily.

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Potential Risks of Goat Milk

Goat milk is not a perfect beverage, of course. It has some qualities that could make it a worse option than cow or plant milks for some people. Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of goat milk can help you make the right decision for your health. 

Not Lactose-Free

If you are lactose-intolerant, goat milk is not for you. Goat milk still contains lactose, just like cow milk. Some people find goat milk slightly easier to digest than cow milk, but this is highly individual. If you have lactose intolerance, it’s safest to stick with plant milks that are guaranteed to be lactose-free.

More Calories than Cow or Plant Milk

Goat milk has more calories per serving than any other types of milk. Consuming too many calories can lead to weight gain. If you are working to reduce calories, you can consume goat milk in smaller quantities than cow or plant milks. 

Healthier Alternatives

If you are allergic to cow milk or lactose intolerant, goat milk may not be for you. Instead, consider plant milks like soy, almond, or hemp milk. These milks have many similar benefits without the lactose or allergens found in goat milk. 

Similarly, if you are trying to lose weight, plant milks or skim cow milk may be a better choice. These milks have fewer calories, less fat, and less sugar than goat milk.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 24, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Academic Journal of Nutrition: “Review on Medicinal and Nutritional Values of Goat Milk”

Anales de pediatria: “Use of goat's milk in patients with cow's milk allergy.”

Clinical Microbiology Reviews: “Effects of Vitamin A Supplementation on Immune Responses and Correlation with Clinical Outcomes.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon.

USDA, FoodData Central: “Goat’s milk, whole.”

Journal of Nutrition and Health Sciences: “Review on Goat Milk Composition and its Nutritive Value.”

PLoS One: ”Comparative Protein Composition Analysis of Goat Milk Produced by the Alpine and Saanen Breeds in Northeastern Brazil and Related Antibacterial Activities.”

World Review of Nutrition and Dietetics: “Cow’s and goat’s milk.”

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